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March 15, 2011 > Youth and Government Delegation returns from conference

Youth and Government Delegation returns from conference

Submitted By Sukhmani Kocher, John F. Kennedy High School student
Photos By Jennifer Elemen

As a Freshman at Kennedy High School this year, I was able to be a part of the California YMCA's Youth & Government through the Fremont/Newark YMCA; and as a student dreaming of one day becoming a successful lawyer, the words "youth and government" combined made me jump at the chance. I attended our first meeting with great excitement and loved acquainting myself with my new fellow delegates. However, after a few meetings, consisting solely of making future plans, my excitement began to fade. After all, I was anxious for the government aspect of the club to kick in. Soon enough though, we started writing our bills and at Bill Hearing Night, seeking our community's help to choose the best bill to take to Sacramento. From that moment on, things only got better. Next thing I knew, we were on the bus ride to Camp Roberts in Paso Robles, for Youth & Government's T&E II (Training and Elections 2).

I enjoyed my time at T&E II. We were given the independence and responsibility to attend sessions ourselves and have fun in the barracks with friends, while learning a great deal and preparing for the trip to Sacramento. In just a short time, we were departing Camp Roberts - already eager for the Model Legislature and Court Conference (ML/C) in Sacramento. During the four and a half week span between T&E II and ML/C our delegation spent countless hours researching the roles and activities we were to carry out in Sacramento.

We were all excited beyond belief when time for the long awaited trip to Sacramento arrived. It is hard to say whether our excitement was because we got to miss a couple of days of school and bunk in a hotel with friends or because we were about to embark on a great, life-changing experience. At ML/C we were given the chance to feel just like a government official: professional attire from morning until night, responsibility and independence to attend sessions, lobbying and sponsoring bills and a great deal more. As the chair of my committee, I was able to carry out parliamentary procedure, write a bill for my new committee, and conduct meetings.

Although we returned home as zombies after two to three hours of sleep each night, walking around in heels all day, as well as being completely devastated that this year's conferences were over, we could not stop talking about the amazing experience we had - in fact, we still have not stopped! Although ML/C and T&E I has long passed, my friends and I cannot stop talking about Youth and Government. As a whole, from social events and joint sessions to lobbying bills and watching the nerve-wrecking youth governor elections (the youth governor won by only one vote), the 63rd Model Legislature and Court was truly a phenomenal experience.

Students who participated through the Fremont/Newark YMCA delegation include:
John Schinkel, Delegation President and National Issues Commission (NIC); Chin Yang Lui, Delegation Vice President and Lobbyist; Kristen Buehler, Delegation Treasurer and Print Media; Narges Kadirzada, Delegation Secretary and State Senator; Kenny Vazquez, State Assembly Member; Niharika Battula, Freshmen Forum, Courts; Adam Clark, National Issues Commission (NIC); Cody Hale, Freshmen Forum, Courts; Adnan Khan, Trial Court; Nahid Kadirzada, Appellate Court; Sukhmani Kocher, Freshmen Forum Chair of the Sexual Harassment Issues Committee; Samantha Malone, Freshmen Forum; Narmada Murugan, Freshmen Forum, Courts; Jessie Pallen, State Assembly Member; Elizabeth VanDeberg, Page; Lucy Zheng, National Issues Commission (NIC); Cristiana Rivas Castaneda, Freshmen Forum.

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