The first time I heard about Michigan Youth In Government was four years before my first actual conference. It was winter of my fifth grade year and my brother came home from a weekend conference. He dragged a suitcase through the door, massive bags under his eyes, and an out of place grin. He had been at a debate conference as a lobbyist: barely slept, met tons of friends, and had the best experience of his life.
And so it went over the next four years, seeing my brothers come home from their conferences, meeting their friends when they visited, and waiting to experience it myself. Freshman year at the fall training conference I finally experienced the magic of Youth In Government, or so I thought. I learned how to write a bill, met delegates while campaigning for a governor candidate, and voted for Presiding Officer– I genuinely had fun, but little did I know that it was just starting; I had taken only my first step on a life changing journey that would be full of cherished memories.
Ever since that first conference, Michigan Youth In Government has taught me more than I could have imagined, and still cannot believe. This program has shown me that I have a voice I can use in the political atmosphere. It has shown me what it means to heed President Eisenhower's call for politics to be the “part time profession of every citizen”. It has introduced me to life long friends with whom I disagree with about nearly every political issue. It has taught me that being a leader often means listening well. But most importantly, this program has given me, and all of us, a place to listen to our peers’ stories from across the state; a place where we can always learn something from our fellow delegates.
It is a great honor to have been elected to help lead Michigan Youth In Government over the next year. I made one promise in my campaign, and it has become my driving goal: to create a place where every delegate feels welcomed, loved and feels comfortable using their voice to tell their stories. With all of the craziness that 2020 has thrown at us thus far, it will not be easy to achieve this goal whether we are online or in person with restrictions, but with the help of every delegate I am confident that this program will not just persist, but that we will triumph.
Thank you for this amazing opportunity; I look forward to leading this program and walking alongside you, the delegates, this year.
Black River Delegation