My experience with Youth and Government


Photo courtesy of YMCA photographer

Youth and Government club members prepare to go into the Texas House of Representatives. Junior Carson Tittle, and seniors Jhustin Harp, Moises Enriquez, Jacob Simon, Brooke Byrd, Arnold Angelo Aureo and sponsor Benjamin Baker

Jacob Simon, Staff Writer

I didn’t know what to expect when I first joined Youth and Government. I thought the club might be a fun thing to do after school, but I never expected it to reform me as a person in such an extreme way as it did. 

Youth and Government is a club that allows members to experience the legislative side of government.  During the school year, members learn how to create bills with the goal of getting them passed into law at either the House or Senate. At the end of the year, club members travel to the State Capitol in Austin to practice what they have learned on the House and Senate floors. 

Each club member writes a bill that is first debated in committee rooms and the bills that pass are brought to the House and Senate floors. When club members are not  arguing their own bills, they are asking questions, making amendments and giving pro or con speeches about other people’s bills.

“The Sachse Youth and Government team did a great job coming back after a year where COVID had reduced the State Conference to an elaborate Zoom meeting,” Youth and Government Sponsor Benjamin Baker said. “State Conference this year was back at the State Capitol building, and my team that went were all rookies.”

I met people who not only built me up, but also challenged and tested me. As a courtesy, I did the same, coming up with questions that would tear a hole in their bills, so they could mend them back better with more details.

“I did not really have that many con speakers for my bill, surprisingly,” senior Brooke Byrd said. “The only con that was brought up had nothing to do with my bill. In my closing remark, I made sure to address that con and deconstruct that argument. In the end, that earned me respect from the committee members and voted to pass my bill which made me super happy.” 

Senior Brooke Byrd acts as the committee chair before the House debates.

People who know me well, know I would rather sit down and write my views of the world rather than have long conversations with others that lead to arguments. However, Youth and Government taught me to combine those skills and hone them. Now they are important life skills which I use daily.

“Youth and Government helped me improve my way of verbally presenting my ideas,” senior Arnold Angelo Aureo said. “Everyone in my committee was more experienced, so I really needed to work on matching their level and not feeling like I am below them.”

Presenting opening remarks, senior Arnold Angelo Aureo speaks to the committee about his bill. (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Baker)

My experience with the competition was far more important than I imagined it would be. I learned many things like that being a politician is not my idea of a good time. Despite this, I felt very important sitting in the Texas House Chamber as if I were participating in actual democracy in the state. I made friends with people I never would have talked to. I had a great time with my delegation, and if possible, I would do it again.

“The state competition was great,” senior Jhustin Harp said. “I truly felt like an actual politician while we conducted practice on the house floor. Overall, my experience was fun, and it challenged me in new ways.”

Senior Jhustin Harp defends his bill. (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Baker)

I feel like this club influenced me in a positive way, preparing me for the social environments throughout life and how to properly argue without resulting in petty squabbling and insults. It taught me to properly format grievances and ways to receive them. 

“Even as rookies, our delegation represented Sachse well and managed to get a bill passed through committee as well as have delegates speak from the Statehouse floor,” Baker said.  “This was quite the accomplishment and hopefully a great experience for them.”