Coatesville High Schoolers from the YMCA head to Annual Youth Government Convention

Brandywine YMCA youth attend a youth and government leadership development event in Harrisburg

Last month, three high school students from the Brandywine YMCA, Kristian Williamson, Rowan Kelly, and Dallas Smith of Coatesville, Pa., attended the Annual Youth and Government Model Convention in Harrisburg. This four-day event brought together more than 600 youth delegates who had spent the last year researching and writing bills. The students wrote bills about topics that were important to them such as mandating medical kits, providing nutritional information in school lunches to assist students with allergies and even changing the state flower.

To prepare Williamson, Kelly and Smith for the Convention, Chris Hutelmeyer, Teen Program Instructor at the Brandywine YMCA, met with them weekly for the past five months. Hutelmeyer worked with each in generating ideas about the bills they wanted to write. He listened, offered suggestions and assisted each in crafting the bill for the topic they ultimately chose. Next, each researched their bill and then presented it to Hutelmeyer and the Brandywine YMCA Executive Director, LaKeisha Harris. Both asked additional questions of the students to ensure their arguments were strong in preparation for the debate.

At the Capitol building, the youth delegates debated their bills in committees, and the bills presented by Williamson, Kelly and Smith passed.