HARRISBURG, Pa., April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hoping to inspire the next generation of Pennsylvania's public servants, Governor Tom Corbett today addressed the opening session of the YMCA's Youth and Government Model Legislature.
Modeled on Pennsylvania's government, the program is designed to bring the workings of state government alive to teens. Nearly 500 students ages 14-18 were chosen by YMCA- and school-based programs to participate in this year's 65th annual conference, which is being held in the state Capitol through April 17.
"You are here today because you believe – like I do – that government must be a servant of the people," Corbett said, addressing the delegates assembled in the Pennsylvania House Chamber. "You're here to learn not just how a democracy works, but to begin the life-long process of learning how to make it work better.
"In public service, you make the present work and make the future possible," the governor added. "I hope you will take what you learn here and turn it into a passion to serve; to lead. Go back to your schools and towns with a burning desire to make them better. Then, do it."
The commonwealth provides facilities and volunteers from various departments to work with students as they learn the issues. The conference is led by seven teens elected to office by their fellow delegates. Delegates simulate the functions of all three branches of government.
In the mock legislature, students debate and vote on the bills that their fellow delegates have written and presented. Bills that pass in committee are then taken to the floor of the House or Senate for a full debate and vote.
Some students serve as news media reporters and cover the proceedings.
Organizers say many veterans of the program have found promising careers within state government or in their communities.
Learn more about the YMCA Youth and Government program online at www.ymcapa.org.
Media contact: Gary Miller, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor