WJ Youth and Government club prepares for Annapolis convention


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The WJ Youth and Government plan to attend a conference in the Maryland General Assembly. Their future plans include going to the US Capitol.

While most students relax during the lunch break on Fridays, excited for the weekend, bills are being closely researched in portable three, and the process of lawmaking is in its earliest stages.
This spring, a conference will be held in Annapolis where students from all over Maryland will meet to push for the progression of bills about which they feel most passionate. The Youth and Government club meets weekly in preparation for this event.
The conference will take place from April 23 to 26, where student members of Youth and Government meet in the Maryland State House and participate in a mock congress activity. They speak on the bills they created, ask questions, debate and finally, vote to either pass or kill them.
Students enjoy the opportunity to experience the legislative process while spending free time with friends as well.
“The conference is super impactful because you meet a lot of new people who are genuinely interested in what you want to say,” senior club president Sofia Ugarte said.
Earlier in the year, club members research bills that have not been passed by the Maryland legislation yet that they want to progress or feel passionate about. Students also have the option of writing their own bill on a topic that interests them. They develop these bills throughout the year and refine them for the conference in the spring.
“I’m excited to meet new people from different schools who also do Youth and Government and use the bill I will have been working on all year in the mock congress,” sophomore member Max Epstein said.
Members of the club spend time throughout the year going to meetings, practicing the procedure for the mock congress, contacting members of congress, lobbying and practicing billwriting and debate. The day-to-day activities of the club allow the members to get involved in their local government.
“As a student, you have the option to have your voice heard in Maryland legislation. You have real-time impact on the state you live in,” junior vice president Ian Fagan said.
Youth and Government officers are trying to schedule events for a club such as visiting Capitol Hill to meet with representatives and a press day where the club could go on a tour of a press company, AFP, and see their offices to learn more about the role of journalism in government. There is also a smaller mock congress event hosted by UMD that the club is planning to attend.
“Youth and Government isn’t just tied to billmaking; it includes press, lobbying and courts too, which are the core components of how the government works and how legislatures pass laws,” Fagan said.
The club gives its members insight into how government truly operates and career paths that they could take to continue their interest in government.
Aside from experience in government and its many processes, Youth and Government also helps students develop other skills and benefits.
“I have learned more about how congress operates. I also improved my skills with public speaking and have become more comfortable with it,” Epstein said.