Youth & Government Advisory Board Commitment

Last updated: November 30, 2022, at 1:21 p.m. PT

Originally published: November 23, 2022, at 9:35 a.m. PT

Group  of adults and teenage students talking in a circle.

The Washington YMCA Youth & Government Board of Directors is comprised of community members, program alum, and professionals from across Washington State. Board members are sought out for their dedication to youth and civics education, diverse backgrounds, experience in program areas, and capacity to serve for a two-year term. Our board of directors are committed to supporting our time-honored programs and staff while growing with current needs and expectations of today’s young people. The board of directors works side by side with the Executive Director of Youth & Government.

Our Promise to You: Equity Statement

The Y actively promotes a culture free from bias and injustice. We are dedicated to removing institutional and systemic barriers that result in oppression and racism. We will be accountable to marginalized communities for creating equitable and sustainable environments where social justice is woven into every facet of our programs, and by caring for our communities in a culturally versatile and respectful manner.

Board Awareness: Speaker Series

As part of our Advisory Board’s mission to increase our own cultural awareness, we will be launching a speaker series. The first series will be focused on Indigenous communities and cultures. Recognizing that Youth & Government involves youth with our United States and Washington state governments, we will invite representatives from our state’s sovereign tribal governments to speak at our board meetings to increase our understanding of tribal governments. This ongoing series will include a variety of community partners who represent marginalized communities throughout the state. 

Inclusion Initiative

To increase the inclusiveness of our program, our first initiative will address the immediate and growing need for awareness and training around youth mental health. We will enlist multiple experts certified in youth psychology to help us improve our programming in ways that accommodate and embrace equity for both the neurotypical and neurodivergent. As a board, we recognize that we do not fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 unique to youth. We acknowledge the range of mental health challenges facing today’s students and will work to continuously improve Youth & Government's inclusion of all who participate. 

Advisory Board Action Items

  1. The Advisory Board seeks to increase program access for low-income students or students whose geographic location may prevent them from participating in Youth Legislature due to financial or travel constraints. 
  2. The Advisory Board has begun an assessment and training process with a third-party facilitator to increase cultural awareness. 
  3. The Advisory Board is actively recruiting diverse new board member candidates. 

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world.”
    -Margaret Mead

Category: Youth & Government