YMCA Archives Logo
318 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

An Inventory of its Records

Contents Summary/Organization | Administrative/Access Info | Contents Details | Related Materials | Indexed Terms/Access Points


Creator: Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis
Title: Boys' work and youth services records
Date: 1914-2004 (bulk 1965-1990)
Collection Number: Y.MPL.003
Abstract: Records documenting YMCA Minneapolis programs focused on boys' work and youth development. This series includes materials on various notable YMCA programs as Indian Guides, Gra-Y, Junior Hi-Y, Hi-Y, Youth in Government, Model United Nations, and Summer Work Training.
Quantity: Approximately 14 cubic feet (25 boxes)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


1885 The Minneapolis YMCA recognizes that boys and young men need the same opportunities for mental, physical and spiritual and development currently offered to the men of the Minneapolis community, with programs specifically designed for that age group. The first boys-specific meetings are Friday night prayer group. An official Boys Branch/Junior Department for Boys is established later the same year, with a minimum age of 12.
1900 The first Minneapolis YMCA Boys Camp is held on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, with 47 boys attending.
1901 Working Boys Night School is established for the boys of families who needed them to work rather than go to school during the day. The program expands to over 100 boys, until 1908 when the public school system began offering night classes.
1902 W. G. Cartlich is hired as the first full-time Boys' Work Director for the YMCA Minneapolis.
1903 The first official building devoted to the Boys Division is established, directly adjacent to the Central Branch building, opens.
1908 The first Minneapolis YMCA owned resident camp, Icaghowan opens.
1909 Hi-Y Clubs are organized in the fall. Short for "High School Y," Hi-Y clubs are designed to extend high standard of Christian living among the students of each of the five Minneapolis high schools. Participation is limited to boys selected for their leadership in academics, athletics, social life and other student activities.
1938 John Werness, a member of the Minneapolis' first Y Men's Club, establishes the Christmas Tree program. Selling Christmas trees during the holiday season provides money for camp scholarships for disadvantaged youth who would otherwise be unable to attend summer camp. Despite initial skepticism, this program is a huge success.
1946 YMCA Youth in Government program is established. The original purpose of the program is to prepare young men for political leadership by providing "guidance, training, and experience in theory and practice of determining public policy."
1947 Y-Indian Guides program is established. Designed for grade-school age boys, this program is created to foster relationships between fathers and sons by providing joint activities focused on learning and engaging with Native American cultures.
1960-1969 Girls are integrated into the Minneapolis YMCA Youth programs.
1968 Urban Department is formed. The program is designed to provide inner city youth with a variety of positive activities, experiences, and role-models. Junior Sports and the Summer Olympics programs are offshoots of this group.
1988 Model United Nations program begins. A sister program to the Minnesota Youth in Government, the Model UN focuses on conflict resolution, art of negotiation, diplomacy, and a respect for diversity.

(Information taken from Breaking New Ground, Building Strong Lives: 140 Years of Youth Work with the Minneapolis YMCA by Paul Hillmer, 2006; from Builders of Men: A History of the Minneapolis Young Men's Christian Association: 1866-1936 by S. Wirt Wiley and Florence Lehmann; and from the collection).


Program administration, correspondence, reports, memoranda, articles, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, scrapbooks, and other records documenting the programs devoted to the development of Minneapolis boys and youth, covering the years of 1914 to 1995. This series includes materials on various notable YMCA programs as Indian Guides, Gra-Y, Junior Hi-Y, Hi-Y, Youth in Government, Model United Nations, and Summer Work Training, among others. Records relating to the function and activities of the Minnesota Youth in Government make up the bulk of this collection.


These documents are organized into the following sections:
General Program Records
Hi-Y Program Records
Indian Guides Program Records
Summer Work Training Program Records
Youth in Government Program Records


Use of Materials:
This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.
Preferred Citation:
[Indicate the cited item and/or series here]Boys' Work and Youth Services Records. Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: Jesse Harpestad, Kathryn Oosterhuis, and Alex Bentley, March 2014.
Catalog Record ID number: 6400630


General Program Records

Box 85 Athletic Achievement Program for Boys and Girls, 1963. 1 volume.
Box 54 Boys' Work Brochures and Pamphlets, 1926-1935.
Box 97 Boys' Work Brochures and Pamphlets, 1914-1939.
Box 80 Building a Purposeful Boys' Membership, undated. 1 volume.
Box 141 Economic Opportunity Act, 1965.
Family Programs, undated.
Box 80 Girls in Middle-Childhood: A Review of Research Literature, 1966. 1 volume.
Kids and Me Growing Free, 1973. 1 volume.
Box 141 Miscellaneous Youth Programs, 1965.
Box 80 National YMCA Parent Daughter Study Final Report, 1969. 1 volume.
Organizing a Boys' Work Committee, undated. 1 volume.
Box 141 Project Preparation News Article, 1966.
Promotion Resources, 1977-1982.
Publications Regarding Youth, 1965.
Sex Education and Human Development, 1960s.
Sports and Olympics, 1983-1984.
Sports and Olympics, 1983-1984.
Box 70 War on Poverty Project, 1966.
Box 141 Youth Work Historical Events and Material, 1959.
Box 142 Y-Phalanx, 1962.

Hi-Y Program

Background Note: The organization of the Hi-Y program in Minneapolis by W. G. Cartlich, Boys' Work Secretary and I. S. "Moxie" Lindquist began in the fall of 1909 through a partnership between the Minneapolis YMCA and the City of Minneapolis school system. Initially designed as YMCA clubs for high-school age boys within the five Minneapolis high schools (North, East, South, West and Central), the program developed to include the junior high (Junior Hi-Y) school and some grammar school boys (Gra-Y). The clubs were known initially as the "Moral Discussion Clubs"; next, less formally as "Bean Clubs" ( named so for the dinner menu served); and finally as "Hi-Y Clubs" with the growing prominance of the national movement. The clubs were initially for upper classmen only, juniors and seniors; but the popularity grew to include freshman and sophomores, known as "Triangle Clubs." As the area's junior high school plan of education took hold, Junior Hi-Y Clubs were organized, mirroring the original concept. Many local Hi-Y graduates went on to become active members in the University of Minnesota YMCA branch.
The initial objective of the program was "to create, maintain, and extend high standards of Christian living among the students of the high schools." The program was by invitation only, comprised of boys chosen for their leadership in scholarship, athletics, social life and other student activities. Meetings focused on such school-related topics as athletic competition, classroom honesty, clean habits and speech, and standards of social life.
At the height of this program between 1950-1959, there were 1,106 boys in 60 senior Hi-Y clubs in eight high schools, and 991 boys in 60 junior Hi-Y clubs in twelve schools in the Minneapolis community. After graduating, a number of Hi-Y participants transitioned over to the University of Minnesota YMCA branch for their college years, becoming leaders and presidents of that organization.
The social changes of the decades between 1960 and 1989, including the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam conflict, the questioning of traditional institutions such as organized religion, marriage, and the dispersion of the middle class to the suburbs lead to the reduction of interest in the original Hi-Y programming. In response, the Minneapolis YMCA updated the programs to reflect the modern needs of the communities' youth. New programs included Project Motivation, Project Preparation, the Detached Worker program, the Urban program, and Junior Olympics.
Content Note: Includes reports, manuals, cabinet minutes, workshop materials, and otherr records documenting the Hi-Y programs in the metropolitan Minneapolis area. Records relating to the YMCA Minneapolis Hi-Y program, its function and activities. Some Junior Hi-Y and Gra-Y materials are included in this collection, as well as materials focusing on the Roosevelt high school Hi-Y programs.
Box 141 11th National Hi-Y Assembly, 1965.
Fishers of Men Club Leader Recruitment, 1960-1963.
Gra-Y Consultation, 1963.
Group Leader Training Institutes, 1964.
Group Leaders Conference Robert Rice Memorial, 1962-1963.
Group Leaders Training Manual, 1962.
Box 97 Hiawatha Branch Notebook, 1976-1978.
Hiawatha YMCA Yearbook Roosevelt High School, 1980. 1 volume.
Box 61 High School Clubs Records, 1914. 1 volume.
Box 142 High School Youth Conference, 1971.
Box 85 Hi-Y and Tri-Y Club Officers Leadership Training, undated. 1 Volume.
Box 141 Hi-Y Cabinet Minutes, 1934-1951.
Hi-Y Council, 1966.
Hi-Y Council Minutes, 1959-1966.
Hi-Y Goodwill Pick Up, 1967.
Hi-Y Induction, undated.
Hi-Y Induction Citywide, 1966.
Hi-Y Leadership Seminar, 1965.
Hi-Y Minutes, 1918-1919.
Hi-Y Miscellaneous, 1938-1969, 1981-1984. 6 folders.
Hi-Y Officers Training, 1963-1965. 4 folders.
Hi-Y Organization Miscellaneous, undated.
Hi-Y Program Resource Book, 1963.
Box 142 Hi-Y Study Commission, 1965-1967.
Box 141 Hi-Y Training Camp Historical Material, 1935-1936, 1948.
Box 142 Hi-Y Workshop, 1964-1965.
Hi-Y, Gra-Y Roosevelt Camp Rosters, 1953-1954.
Box 141 Hi-Y, Jr. Hi-Y, and Gra-Y Promotional Material, undated.
Box 58 Hi-Y Graduate Book, 1924-1933. 1 volume.
Box 142 Jr. Hi-Y Miscellaneous, 1948-1949.
Jr. Hi-Y Program Resource Book, 1963.
Box 141 Leaders' Training Conferences (Robert Rice Memorial), 1945-1956.
Minneapolis Roosevelt High School Blue Tri-Y Materials from Photo Album, 1973-1976.
Palm Sunday Breakfast, 1965-1968. 2 folders.
Box 80 Planning Hi-Y Program, undated. 1 volume.
Planning Gra-Y Program, undated. 1 volume.
Box 97 Roosevelt Blue-Tri Scrapbook, 1972-1973. 1 volume.
Box 124 Roosevelt Blue-Tri Scrapbook, 1975-1976. 2 volumes.
Box 77 Roosevelt Junior High School Year Book "The Mirror", 1924. 1 volume.
Box 80 Self-Evaluation Program Planning Kit: a guide to effective program planning for Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y Clubs, 1957. 1 volume.
Box 61 South Senior Hi Y Fellowship, 1938-1946. 7 folders.
Box 15 West Lake Branch Hi-Y Opplans, undated.
Box 11 Y-Partners Fundraising Roosevelt High school Alumni, 2003-2004.
Box 61 Y-Teens and Blue and Silver Tri Hi-Y, 1960-1961. 1 volume.
Box 142 Youth and Hi-Y Studies, 1963.

Indian Guides Program

Background Note: The Y-Indian Guides program was developed in a deliberate way to support the father's vital family role as teacher, counselor and friend to his son. The program was initiated by Harold S. Keltner of the St. Louis YMCA as an integral part of association work. Inspired by his experiences with Joe Friday, an Ojibway Indian who was his guide on fishing and hunting trips to Canada, Harold Keltner created the Y-Indian Guides program devoted to strengthening the father-son, parent-child relationship, with the slogan "Pals Forever." In 1926, he organized the first tribe in Richmond Heights, Missouri, with the help Joe Friday, and William H. Hefelfinger, chief of the first Y-Indian tribe. Harold Keltner conceived the idea of a father and son program based upon the strong qualities of Native American Indian culture and life -- dignity, patience, endurance, spirituality, feeling for the earth and concern for the family.
The initial program served as an additional way for fathers and sons, already members of the YMCA, to spend time together learning about Native American culture. Boys starting at the age of 6 were encouraged to participate. Traditionally, each group of six to nine fathers ("big braves") and sons ("little braves") made up a "tribe," which maintained control of programs and activities surrounding Native American cultural traditions. The official goals of the program were listed as follows: "to be clean in body and pure in heart; to be 'pals forever' with my dad/son; to love the sacred circle of my family; to be attentive while others speak; to love my neighbor as myself; and to seek and preserve the beauty of the Great Spirit's work in forest, field and stream."
The first YMCA Indian Guide groups in Minneapolis were organized by John MacBean, West Lake branch executive, in 1947. Local activities included fathers and sons teaming up in small groups, meeting in members' homes to "plan projects, build things, go camping and take trips together." While the Y-Indian Guides was a national program, it was the responsibility of each tribe to plan activities best suited to the individual community. Two requirements of participation in the program included a family YMCA membership, and using the approved, standard materials of the program, including a headband, manual, and pin for the father, and a headband and emblem for the son. Each Indian tribe belonged to a "nation," representing the branch, and all nations were members of the Federation, representing the overall city-wide YMCA. The Federation was part of the Area Minnesota Indian Guide Longhouse, the North Central Area Council, and the National Longhouse in New York. Yearly fees, beyond the Y membership, were collected in order to provide a donation to the National Longhouse, as well as to provide funds for local activities.
In the fall of 1956, it was acknowledged that no city-wide efforts had thus far been made to promote the Y-Indian Guides program. The Minneapolis YMCA organization determined the program was important enough to do so, based on the following premises: the Y-Indian Guides should continue to be a voluntary program, that the entire Minneapolis metropolitan community should at least hear the term "Y-Indian Guides", and that if significant growth is to take place, in addition to radio, television, newspaper publicity, the boys should be the first to be approached directly, recruited personally, and they in turn could carry the message back to their fathers. In addition to scheduled meetings for both fathers and sons, meetings for just the dads occurred monthly or quarterly, which provided opportunities to meet without their sons to connect and get acquainted, plan and evaluate activities, and discuss matters relative to the needs and growth of their boys.
Because of the existing relationships developed between the Minneapolis YMCA and the Minneapolis public school system, information about the Y-Indian Guides program was dispensed in the appropriate elementary schools each fall during the mid-1950s-1960s, as well as through the city-wide PTA Council. It was one of the fastest growing programs in the history of the YMCA Minneapolis organization, as well as on the national level.
In 1955, there was a total of 42 "tribes," with 266 boys, and 237 men in the Minneapolis metropolitan community. In 1956, the program grew to 124 tribes, 736 boys and 676 men. Local activities included a yearly Y-Indian Guides Aquatennial float, Christmas parties, pow-wows, swim nights, summer weekend camping trip, hayrides, workshops, tours, matchbox derby, ice fishing contests, kite flying contests, and Good Friday breakfasts. Local trips and tours were conducted to community businesses and organizations, such as the Minneapolis newspaper, the University of Minnesota Museum of Natural History, Land O' Lakes warehouse and butter process department, WCCO radio station, Carlos Avery Game Farm, Northern Pacific repair shop, the American Swedish Institute, and the Coca Cola bottling company, among many others. The Minneapolis Federation launched a monthly community newsletter, "Tribal Drums" in November 1958. Coverage of tribe activities, craft projects, game suggestions, prayers, service projects, and articles on Indian culture were included. Harold S. Keltner, creator of the Y-Indian Guides program, was a guest speaker at the premiere YMCA Guide-A-Rama held at Southdale Center in September, 1960. In 1961, Minneapolis Federation of Y-Indian Guides hosted the second Y-Indian Guide-A-Rama, staged at Southdale Mall from September 11-17th. Over 300 Y-Indian Guide tribes from across the Midwest area attended. Governor Orville Freeman officiated the opening.
With the focused intent to expand the Y-Indian Guide program in Minneapolis, a new position was created - the meshenuwha. This role was designed for men who had either been involved in the Y-Indian Guide program previously, or who had other YMCA group work experience. Appointed by the chief of each nation, with recommendations from the YMCA secretary related to the program, a meshenuwha could supervise up to 4 different tribes at a time, in order to provide the appropriate amount of guidance. They were expected to visit tribal meetings on occasion, make certain that the fees were collected, check on the registration of the tribe, assist the office in seeing that reports were properly administered, be on the lookout for weaknesses, and in some measure suggest program possibilities.
At the height of the YMCA Minneapolis program's popularity, there were 250 Y-Indian Guide tribes from eight local branches, representing over 5,000 fathers and sons. The eight branches included: Northside (Algonquin), Eastside (Iroquois), Hiawatha (Hiawatha), Washburn (Chippewa), Washburn-Richfield (Richfield), Bloomington (Ojibway), West Central (Chinook), West Lake (Sioux) and Minnetonka (Minnetonka). Roles within the tribe included the "chief," who had the responsibility of the executive direction of the tribe, the "tallykeeper," who maintained the records for the tribe's activities, "wampum bearer," who maintained financial records, the publicity chairman, who represented the tribe on the national publicity staff, "tom tom beater," a "little brave" who was in charge of beating the tom tom drums at meetings and ceremonies, and the "little runner," who ran errands, collects and disperses materials as required, also a little brave. Additional officers included the "rainmaker," who was to teach the Indian dances, the "birch bark reader," who gathered resources on Indian lore, the "trailblazer," who educated the tribe on Indian lore and storiy telling, the "moccasin maker," who was responsible for all the Indian clothing for the tribe, the "chanter," who learned and taught Indian songs and chants, the "sign maker," who learned and taught Indian sign language, and the "craft maker," who planned craft projects for the tribe.
The Y-Indian Princesses program grew out of the Y-Indian Guide program. The program was designed for girls in the first, second, and 3rd grades, and the goal was to foster companionship between fathers and their daughters. According to the Resource Book (circa 1969), The Y-Indian Princesses program offered families an opportunity to "foster a deeper understanding and interest in spiritual ideas; increase understanding of family members and their needs; help parents share the child-rearing process and work as a team; develop a feeling of mutual love and respect through increased communication; develop the daughter’s self-confidence; and help develop a wholesome 'male image' which helps in selection of a boyfriend and husband."
Due to concerns of cultural stereotyping, the Native American components of these programs were phased out in the Twin Cities between 1972-1974; but because of the program's popularity and overall relevancy, the Indian Guide programs were reintroduced as the Y-Voyageurs and Y-Adventure Guides programs. The cultivation of relationships and respect for nature remained core tenants of the new programs, and barriers between the genders were also removed to create a more non-gender specific experience.
Content Note: Includes correspondence, reports, memoranda, articles, newspapers, pamphlets, and ephemera, and other records documenting the Y-Indian Guide program in the metropolitan Minneapolis area. Records relating to the YMCA Minneapolis Y-Indian Guide program, its function and activities from the 1955 to 1975 make up the bulk of this collection. These include financial records pertaining to the functions of the organization, as well as campaigns, programs, and membership activities. Also included in this collection are records on the hierarchy of the Y-Indian Guide programs, from the local (Minneapolis Y) to the state (Minnesota) to the Area (North Central Area) to the regional (West Central Region) to the national program (national YMCA organization).
Box 55 30th Annual Meeting National Y-Indian Guide Executive Committee Workbook Guide, 1967.
Aquatennial Float Indian Guide Federation, 1963, 1969. 2 folders.
Content Note: Communications, invoices, parade route, and one black and white photograph for the 1969 Indian Guides Federation float for the Aquatennial parade.
Box 142 Doug Ewald Region IV Chief, 1968.
Box 55 Federation Christmas Party, 1962, 1965.
Indian Guides and Indian Princess Promotion Program Supplies, 1970-1973. 2 folders.
Box 142 Indian Guides Award Sheets, 1970.
Indian Guides Budget and Finance, 1958-1967.
Indian Guides Federation Council Minutes, 1958-1971. 2 folders.
Indian Guides Federation Miscellaneous, 1969-1972. 2 folders.
Indian Guides National Longhouse Constitution, 1960s.
Indian Guides National Longhouse, Atlanta, 1970.
Indian Guides National Longhouse, Minneapolis, 1967. 3 folders.
Box 55 Indian Guides National Longhouse, Seattle Washington, 1971.
Box 142 Indian Guides Version of Lord's Prayer, undated.
Box 55 Indian Guides Promotion, 1960-1961.
Indian Guides Week, 1969-1970. 2 folders.
Box 56 Indian Guides Workshop, 1965-1969.
Box 55 Indian Princess Resource Book, 1960-1970. 2 folders.
Box 142 Manuals of Operation Minneapolis Indian Guides Federation, 1953-1956.
Box 55 Meshenuhwas, 1958-1959.
Box 142 Meshenuhwa Awards, 1970.
Box 56 Mets Baseball - Indian Guide Activity, 1962.
Mets Camp-in Indian Guide Federation, 1970.
Content Note: Administration and internal communications on the Y-Indian Guides, Princesses, and Voyageurs outing to the see the Twins versus Washington, and a camp out in the Metropolitan Stadium with activities, August 21-23, 1970.
Box 97 Milk carton with Indian Guides advertisement, undated.
Box 55 Minneapolis Federation of Y-Indian Guides Program Resource Book, 1965.
Content Note: Includes roster list for each branch tribe.
Box 56 Miscellaneous, 1958-1970.
Content Note: Includes program instructions, crafts, and songs.
Box 142 National Y-Indian Guide Executive Committee, 1967.
North Central Area Indian Guides, 1965.
Box 55 Organization and Operation Y-Indian Guides Minneapolis Federation, 1970-1972.
Box 97 Outstanding Service Award Banner, 1967.
Box 56 Parent Clinic, 1961.
Box 55 Pathway to Value Research Study, 1964.
Content Note: This is the final report of the "Pathways to Value: A Research Study of Value, Achievement, and Potential of the Father and Son Y-Indian Guide Program of the Metropolitan Minneapolis YMCA", conducted from 1962-1964.
"Portrait of Y-Indian Guides", undated.
Box 80 Program Guide for Father and Son Y-Trailblazers, 1974. 1 volume.
Box 55 Programs for Older Boys (Warriors, Voyageurs-Trailblazers), undated.
Promotion, 1970-1972.
Registration, 1964-1965.
Registration & Fees (National Council of YMCAs), 1970.
Rosters, 1958-1972.
Box 56 South Dakota Indians Project, 1966-1968.
Box 55 Support of United Church Committee on Indian Work, 1962.
Tribal Drums Minneapolis Indian Guide Federation, 1958-1960.
Box 56 Wives Night, 1969.
Box 55 Y-Indian Guide-A-Rama (Southdale Center), 1960.
Box 142 Y-Voyageurs, 1970.
Y-Warriors, undated.

Summer Work Training Program

Background Note: Records on the Summer Work Training Program, designed to provide employment opportunities for at-risk youth aged 14-15 years, giving them a summer work experience supplemented by counseling, education, and work orientation from 1963-1967. According to program materials, the goal of the program is to "help boys see the value of a continuing education, to acquire a greater understanding of their vocational goals and aspirations; to gain additional skills in reading, mathematics; communication skills which will assist them in school and in future job situations; and to improve in social and personality adjustments in group and adult relationships."
Box 72 Applications, 1965. 5 folders.
Content Note: Applications from Franklin, Lincoln, Phillips, and Sheridan Junior Highs
Assembly Presentation, 1965.
Budget, 1966.
Camp Monticello:
Box 72 Caretaker, 1965.
Correspondence, 1965-1966. 2 folders.
Development Budgets, 1966.
Development Committee, 1966.
Prospects For Employment at Monticello, 1966.
Evaluation, 1965.
Camp Monticello Project Memos, etc., 1965.
Miscellaneous, 1963-1964.
Parent Evaluations, 1966.
Staff Correspondence, 1966.
Correspondence to School Principals and Counselors, 1965-1966.
Developments on Work Training Project, 1966.
Federal Project, 1965.
Box 141 Field Trip Thank You Letters, 1965.
Box 72 Insurance, 1966.
Project Committee, 1965.
Work Training Project (Kabetogama), 1966.
Work Training Project Kabetogama Correspondence, 1966.
Work Training Report Letters Sent, 1966.
Properties Work Project, 1966.
Work Training Project, 1964.
School Drop Out Work Camp, 1964.
Work Training Project, 1967.
Work Training Project Statements, 1965.
Box 84 YMCA Work Training Project Summer Report, 1965. 1 volume.
Box 72 Program Participant Files, 1964-1965. 7 folders.
Box 73 Program Participant Files, 1964-1965. 91 folders.
Box 74 Program Participant Files, 1964-1965. 22 folders.

Youth in Government Program

Background Note: The YMCA Youth in Government program began in new York in 1936, by Clement "Pete" Duran, then the Boys Work Secretary of the Albany YMCA. Duran developed a program designed to encourage integrity and leadership in youth, believing that "democracy must be learned by every generation." Duran also believed in exploring the idea of Christian and religious idealism strengthening and extending democratic ideas and practices in public matters, especially lawmaking. While New York held the very first Model Legislature in Albany in 1936, Idaho also held a conference in 1936, and from 1947-1950, sixteen other states developed their own programs.
The organization of the Minnesota Youth in Government program in Minneapolis began ten years after the New York program, in April of 1946. Managed by the North Central Area Council YMCAs, the program was initially designed as a model legislature to provide an experience that introduced youth to the issues, processes, and challenges of state government. The program was also another way for the Minneapolis YMCA to promote civic responsibility in response to economic and political world pressures at the end of World War II.
Originally held every two years, the MN Youth in Government model legislature became an annual event starting in 1964. Minnesota students in high school were invited to apply to participate; however, both seventh and eighth graders soon also gained opportunities to participate, including in the Model United Nations and the Page program.
Between 1967 and 1974 the program in Minnesota suffered from low enrollment which was attributed to that era's apathetic feelings toward government as a whole. The addition of the page program in 1972 and a team of assistants to the governor in 1973 helped to attract new participants and generate renewed excitement among the YMCA administration. In 1970, program offices were moved to Rochester, in southern Minnesota and the program officially expanded to include YMCAs all across the state. The YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis became the Minnesota Youth in Government seat once again starting in 1974, continuing to offer opportunities to young people all across the state footprint. With the guidance of a State Board for Youth in Government, the YMCA hired appropriate staff that saw to the day to day operation of the programs. The State Board had traditionally been made up of prominent officials in state government and concerned individuals from the community.
The program continued to expand throughout 1975-1985. In 1975, the Youth in Government program underwent one of its most important changes - adding the Youth in Law program, consisting solely of a model Supreme Court, developed with the help of the late C. Donald Peterson, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. In 1976, the first full executive cabinet program was instituted, with the attorney general's office added in 1978, and an official newspaper press corps added in 1980. The ability to add additional facets of the state government political process demonstrated the increasing awareness of, and interest in, the MN Youth in Government program by the state's young people. Thanks to lobbyist and board member Larry Harris, the lobbyist program was added in 1981. The position of secretary of state was also generated during this time, in order to oversee the process of bills moving between the legislative and executive branches.
The Minnesota Youth in Government program began participating in the National Affairs Conference in 1982. The YMCA Conference on National Affairs was started in 1968 as a culmination to all the various state Youth in Government programs. Focusing on the political process at the federal level, including the intersection between the state and international levels. The week-long conference has been held at the Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina throughout its history. Youth who applied to participate in the program must have already participated in their own state's Youth in Government or Model U.N. programs.
To respond to the growing interest in the Youth in Law program, the Youth Court of Appeals was established in 1985. The new program was designed for 9th and 10th graders. Also during this time, the freshman house was created, designed to provide younger participants with a less intimidating first-time experience, while providing additional program opportunities for an ever-expanding audience. In 1988, the first full-time state director was hired, and one year later, in 1989, the first executive director was hired.
Interest in the program continued to grow throughout the decade 1990-1999. In 1990, to develop a smaller-group leadership program, "Boot Camp" was created. To provide additional opportunities for the numerous interested students, the program built upon the Freshman House idea to create a two-body legislature for 9th and 10th graders. The Humphrey House and Stassen Senate were established in 1991, and in 1999, the Sibley House and Ramsey Senate were added. Other aspects of the program, such as the cabinet, lobbyist, and court of appeals, were expanded to two sections each, junior and senior, to better serve the increased number of delegates.
By 2002, the Boot Camp leadership training acclivities and the youth-run State Steering Committee were combined to become the State Steering Committee Retreat, which became mandatory for all state Model Assembly delegations. This training was in addition to the many other leadership training opportunities presented to participants throughout the duration of the program. In 2004, the Leadership Corps program replaced the page program for 8th graders, generating even more leadership growth opportunities.
The MN Youth in Government program continues to provide opportunities to: join youth leaders from around the state to debate issues that are important to the state of Minnesota; listen to delegates with different experiences; research public issues and become aware of local, state, national and international concerns'; accept civic responsibility and a leadership role; let voices be heard and provide opportunities to get involved in the decision-making process. By 2007, more than 1,900 students exercised their leadership skills through the MN Youth in Government program.
The 2008-2011 Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government strategic plan emphasized goals beyond the traditional, including: increasing diversity and inclusiveness; improving the use of technology and information in order to connect with participants and relevant Youth in Government audiences; strengthened program leadership; promote purposeful and creative growth; and maximize finances and fund-raising.
Minnesota continues to be among the top programs in the nation, in terms of quality and number of students: 60% of participants and 55% of youth program leaders are female. Nearly two-thirds of all eligible students return the following year.
Content Note: Includes correspondence, reports, bill books, convention materials, articles, applications, and other records documenting the Minnesota Youth in Government programs in the metropolitan Minneapolis area. Records relating to the YMCA Minnesota Youth in Government program, its function and activities from 1980 to 1999 make up the bulk of this collection.
Administration Materials:
Box 56 Advisors bulletins, 1995-1997.
Advisors program kit, 1988-1990.
Box 104 Board of Management Meeting, 1970-1994.
Bulletins, 1983-1996. 4 folders.
Correspondence, 1994. 2 folders.
Box 109 Endowment Awards Dinner, 2003.
Box 104 Incoming Correspondence, 1975-1996-1983. 13 folders.
Box 109 Miscellaneous, 1945-1952.
Miscellaneous, 1962-1972. 9 folders.
Miscellaneous, 1990-1999. 2 folders.
Miscellaneous Print Materials, 1960-1999.
Newspaper Articles and Clippings, undated. 2 folders.
Box 104 Outgoing Correspondence, 1983-1998. 14 folders.
Box 109 Publicity Materials, 1984-1993.
Box 108 State Board Finance Committee, 1980.
State Board Meeting, 1980.
State Committee Minutes, 1975.
Box 109 State Convention, 1989-1994. 4 folders.
Training Folders, 1992. 11 folders.
Model Legislature:
Box 105 19th Annual Model Legislature, 1973.
Box 61 Applications, undated. 20 folders.
Content Note: Includes applications for positions such as Appeals Court Judge, Attorney General, Chief Justice, Clerk of the House, Lobbyists, Governor, Lietenant Governor, Newpaper Editor, Secretary of State, Speak of the House, and TV News Station Manager.
Box 56 Bill Book 30th Anniversary Edition, 1984. 1 volume.
Box 105 Bill Books 25th-31st Session, 1980-1985. 9 folders, 4 volumes.
Box 106 Bill Books 32nd-41st Session, 1986-1995. 12 folders.
Content Note: Lacking 39th Session Bill Book
Box 109 Capitolist (newspaper), 1993-1995.
Box 105 Delegate and Advisor Directions, 1980-1992. 2 folders.
Box 107 Election Ballots, 1990-1999.
Election Results, undated. 1 box.
Elections, 1980-1995. 3 folders.
Box 56 Legislative Conference Delegates Workbook, 1975-1977.
Box 105 Legislative Conference Delegates Workbook, 1977-1978.
Box 107 Officer Filing Forms, 1990-1999. 9 folders.
Pre-Legislative Conference:
Box 105 Pre-Legislative Conference, 1972-1974.
Pre-Legislative Conventions, 1985-1988. 3 folders.
Pre-legislative Conventions Delegates Workbooks, 1970-1984. 3 folders.
Pre-legislative Steering Committee, 1980.
Box 56 Resource Book, 1983.
Box 108 Resource Book, 1966-1983. 9 folders.
Box 106 Session Book, 1991. 2 folders.
Box 108 Session Book, 1992-1997. 9 folders.
National Affairs:
Box 71 Conference on National Affairs, 1978, 1984-1997. 8 folders.
Handbook of General Information and Rules and Procedures, undated.
Incoming Correspondence, 1986-1990. 3 folders.
Minnesota Five Year Reunion Calendar, 1986.
National Youth Governors Conference, 1969, 1980. 2 folders.
United Nations:
Box 71 Advisor Kit, 1996. 2 folders.
Assembly, 1987-1995.
Correspondence, 1987-1988.
Delegate Study Guide, 1987-1998. 2 folders.
Duluth Assembly, 1986.
Miscellaneous, 1990-1995.
Study Guide, 1991-1995. 2 folders.
Youth in Justice:
Box 71 Case Book, 1984-1985. 2 folders.
Box 72 Case Book, 1984-1985.
Court Briefs, 1975-1990. 2 folders.
Schedule and Briefs, Delegate's Workbook, 1975, 1978.
Youth in Justice, 1970-1976.
Youth in Law, Court of Appeals, 1996. 2 folders.
Youth in Law, Supreme Court, 1996. 2 folders.


See also the General Administrative Records, the Camping Services Records, and the Publications and Ephemera Records of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis, separately catalogued in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives.


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Boys --Societies and clubs.
Girls -- Societies and clubs.
Social work with youth -- Minnesota.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Minnesota -- Minneapolis.
Youth --Societies and clubs.
Minneapolis (Minn.).
American Model United Nations International.
Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis.
Young Men's Christian Association of the City of Minneapolis.