Two West Forsyth students participate in YMCA Youth & Government Conference

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

Gwen Petty and Coleman Mulligan, students at West Forsyth, participated in the YMCA Youth & Government Conference in Raleigh last month. It was the first time the conference has been held in person since COVID-19.
Petty served as the attorney general this year as she and Mulligan were among the 126 participants that represented schools served by the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina.
The program is a hands-on learning experience in government that fosters nationwide civic engagement and servant leadership to students in high school. It gives them the opportunity to represent and serve their communities through model government, leadership, professional development, advocacy and service learning.
Students write and present bills before committees and both houses of the legislature.
Students are able to serve in all three branches of the government as representatives, senators and judges and can run for elected offices such as governor and lieutenant governor. They can also serve as lobbyists, budget analysts and members of the media.
Delegates introduced bills at this year’s conference focusing on social justice, education reform and environmental policy.
“Youth & Government is such an incredible program that exposes students to some of the nuances and details of state and local governments,” said Jenn Cleary, the senior director of college and career programs for the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina. “It sparks the interest for many of them that will set them down a particular career path or field of education.”