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2014 Youth Legislature Conference: A Path to Leadership

Two days can make a huge difference. Just ask Chase Edmunds, the 2014 NC YMCA Youth Legislature  Governor.

What is Youth &Government? The quick answer for some might be - mock student Government. However, if that is all that you see in this program, you have missed what it is really about,” Chase Edmunds, passionately noted during his closing speech at the NC YMCA Youth Legislature Conference. Edmunds serves as the 2014 NC Youth Legislative Governor. “Youth & Government changes lives.”


Feb. 4 - 6, more than 1,300 teens attended the 22nd NC Youth & Government Youth Legislature Conference in downtown Raleigh. Through debate, bill presentation, lobbying and campaigning, teens learned the importance of advocacy in their communities. Attorney General Roy Cooper addressed the students at the opening session of the conference.

“I challenge you to help solve some of the problems facing our state,” said Cooper.


Students prepared for the conference through North Carolina YMCA Youth & Government meetings at their high schools. They also attended a Pre-Conference in December. Youth Legislature is a national YMCA program for high school students. The program provides a hands-on learning experience in the practice of government and public policy.


This year, teens had the option to submit bills pertaining to Healthy Living through the Real Food, Active Living Bill Contest. Through this effort, teens learned the importance of health and advocacy in their communities. Three delegations received free training on Real Food, Active Living and a $3,000 grant to promote local policy change to help generate support for their bill in their communities.


The Youth Legislature Conference experience serves as a springboard toward success for the teen participants. Edmunds encouraged students, saying, “We are all called to make our lives worthwhile. There are 1,300 of us at this conference  who can make a positive impact for our state. Use this as your launching point for something even greater. Don’t flip the page on this weekend and let it be. Use it, learn from it, grow into a life of impact and find what you love.”

For students like Chase Edmunds, this is just the beginning of a life of leadership.