State YMCA of Georgia

Friday, July 21, 2017
Text Size

The first Y Club was started in 1919 at Fort Valley High School in Fort Valley, Georgia. It was a Hi-Y Club for Boys. Later, in 1929 in Douglas, Georgia at Douglas High School, a Tri-Hi-Y Club was started for girls. It was in 1929 that the State YMCA of Georgia was incorporated. In the 1960s and 1970s Clubs began combining boys and girls to form Coed "Y" Clubs. Since that time, the State YMCA has added leadership programs within schools around the state.

Our mission is to provide programs and opportunities for teens which will promote self-esteem, leadership skills and moral and civic responsibility. "Y" Club is one vehicle through which this mission is accomplished.

The "Y" Club purpose is:

"To create, maintain and extend, throughout the home, school, and community, high standards of Christian character."

The YMCA Youth & Government Movement

Today, over 40 states and the District of Columbia have Youth and Government programs; most of these programs consist of a model legislature composed of high school students who write legislation, and gather for a week to debate their proposed laws in their actual state capitol building. Nationwide studies show that Youth and Government alumni are not necessarily more likely to become politicians as they reach adulthood, but they are considerably more likely to become active in local political issues as concerned citizens.

Every year in July, representatives from many of the 40 State Youth in Government programs participate in the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA). This conference is held in Black Mountain, NC at the YMCA Blue Ridge Conference Center. Each year, participants have the opportunity to meet other delegates from different states, and create and debate legislation of national and international relevance. Additionally, those Youth Legislature delegates elected as Youth Governor from their respective states hold a Youth Governors' Summit in Washington, D.C.

Many states, like Georgia, also have judicial programs, in which youth "attorneys" from across the state write briefs and participate in mock appeal hearing in the state capitol and state Supreme Court buildings. The cases are decided by youth judges.

"Y" Clubs

There are more than 100 Hi-Y, Tri-Hi-Y, Co-ed "Y" Clubs in 84 Georgia counties. The "Y" Club program provides thousands of middle and high school students with a school-based structured environment to develop leadership skills, understand the importance of civic responsibility, and enhance community through monthly school and community service projects. "Y" Club is open to all middle and high school students.