You are here

Advice, Tips, and Things to Look Forward to

by Ann Sumner Thorp
Rocky Mount Academy 

Arriving at YAG for the first time can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s your first time attending the conference. It is important to remember that upperclassmen and fellow first-year students are always ready to lend a helping hand and give advice whenever needed. Everyone has experienced the same feelings that beginners feel right now, so fellow delegates are a great resource whether you need tips for presenting bills or help with remembering the parliamentary procedure. Most will say take advantage of this excellent opportunity and take the time to enjoy every moment.

One of the most significant pieces of advice is not to be afraid to speak up in chambers and committees. YAG is a learning experience in a safe, nurturing environment, so do not be timid. The more one stands up and speaks out, the easier it becomes. Not only does this allow delegates to give their opinion on compelling topics, but it also helps to develop public speaking skills.

Amir Shaheen, Speaker of the Forum, elaborated on the importance of making your voice heard in chambers.

“Stay active in chambers because your participation is a good indicator of what you’re going to get out of the conference experience,” said Shaheen, “Keep engaged, especially on Saturday when things slow down. Participation is key.”

YAG is about becoming the best, and the opportunity for delegates to voice their opinion is a significant component of the program. Virginia Grey Newton, a House Committee Chair from Rocky Mount Academy, gave a helpful tip for bill authors. “When the con speakers go, take notice of what they say and address it in your closing summation,” said Newton. This idea will help delegates listen carefully to arguments against their topic and allow them to prepare accordingly.

On a slightly different note, engagement is critical. It is not just about discussing bills, though that is an essential component. A unique group of high school students attends Y&G, and it’s fun to get to know people from across the state. These newfound relationships are one of the best aspects of the weekend. As Amir Shaheen put it, “Look forward to getting to know fellow delegates that you will be interacting with for the rest of your YAG career and cultivating those relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime.” Everyone is here to branch out and meet new people, and the friends at YAG will continue after graduation.

And of course—have fun. Joshua Frazier, Forum Speaker Pro Tempore, focused on the significance of enjoying the Youth and Government experience Saturday night.

“Look forward to the Saturday Fun Night,” said Frazier, “Once Saturday comes and you’re in your Saturday Night Live outfits, it’s a whole lot of fun, not to mention the theme is really cool this year.” With a dance and other games and activities, Saturday night has something for everyone. It is the perfect way to draw the conference to a close, and spend time with new friends.

Enjoy every moment of the conference. Do not let nerves get in the way of having a good time, and most importantly introduce yourself to someone new and develop relationships that will last a lifetime.