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

An Inventory of Its Records

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


Creator: Young Men's Christian Association of Metropolitan Minneapolis
Title: Minnesota Youth in Government program records
Date: 1945-2003
Collection Number: Y.MPL.003-3
Abstract: Historical data, correspondence, reports, bill books, convention materials, articles, applications, newspapers, and other records documenting the YMCA Minneapolis MN Youth in Government program.
Quantity: 8 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


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.

(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).


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.


These documents are organized into the following sections:
Program Administration
Model Legislature
National Affairs
United Nations
Youth in Justice


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]Minnesota Youth in Government 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 and Kathryn Oosterhuis, May 2012.
Catalog Record ID number: 6400558


The following section contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection. To request materials, please note the corresponding box number.

Program Administration

Box 5 Advisors bulletins, 1995-1997.
Advisors program kit, 1988-1990.
Box 6 Appeals Court Judge applications, undated.
Attorney General applications, undated.
Chief Justice applications, undated.
Clerk of the House applications, undated.
Executive Director of Lobbyists applications, undated.
Governor applications, undated.
Governor/Lt. Governor applications, undated.
Lt. Governor applications, undated.
Miscellaneous applications, undated. 2 folders.
Newspaper editorial chief applications, undated.
President of the Senate applications, undated.
Secretary of State applications, undated.
Secretary of the Senate applications, undated.
Speaker of the Freshman House applications, undated.
Speaker of the House applications, undated.
TV News Station Manager applications, undated.
Box 7 Board of management: minutes, 1970-1994.
Bulletins, 1983-1996. 4 folders.
Box 7 Correspondence, 1994. 2 folders.
Incoming correspondence, 1970-1996. 13 folders.
Outgoing correspondence, 1983-1998. 9 folders.
Box 8 Outgoing correspondence, 1983-1998. 4 folders.
Box 8 Election ballots, 1990-1999.
Elections, 1980-1995. 3 folders.
Election results, undated.
Officer filing forms, 1990-1999. 9 folders.
Endowment awards dinner, 2003.
Firebreakers game, undated. 2 folders.
Manual, 1979.
Miscellaneous, 1945-1953, 1962-1965, 1966-1972, 1990-1999. 12 folders.
Box 9 Newspaper articles/clippings, undated. 2 folders.
Publicity materials, 1984-1993.
State board finance committee, 1980.
State board meeting, 1980.
State committee minutes, 1975.
State convention, 1989-1997. 4 folders.
The Capitalist (newspaper), 1993-1995.
Training folders, undated. 11 folders.

Model Legislature

Box 10 Delegates and advisors, 1980-1992.
Directory, 1980-1992.
Workbook, 1970-1984. 5 folders.
Pre-Legislative Materials:
The Pre-Legislative conferences, held during the fall of each year after groups and delegations have been formed, are designed to provide participants with intensive training on the operation of state government. At this conference, delegates elect representatives for a variety of positions, including the Youth Governor, Speaker of the House, Secretary of the Senate, among others. Candidates for these positions file for office several weeks prior to the conference.
Box 10 Conference, 1972-1974.
Convention, 1982. 1 volume.
Convention, 1985-1998. 2 folders.
Steering committee, 1980.
Legislative Materials:
In January, the delegates spend several days at the state capitol, participating in the process of writing bills, debating bills first in committee, and then debating with the full legislative body.
Box 10 19th annual model legislature, 1973.
20th annual model legislature, 1974.
25th annual model legislature, bill book, 1980.
27th annual model legislature, bill book, 1981. 2 folders.
29th annual model legislature, bill book, 1983.
30th anniversary edition, bill book, 1984.
31st session, bill book, 1985.
Box 11 32nd session, bill book, 1986.
33rd session, bill book, 1987.
34th session, bill book, 1988. 1 volume.
35th session, bill book, 1989.
36th session, bill book, 1990.
37th session, bill book, 1991.
38th session, bill book, 1992.
40th session, bill book, 1994.
41st session, bill book, 1995.
43rd session, bill book, 1997. 3 folders.
Bill book, 1981-1983. 4 volumes.
Box 12 Bill book, 1984-1985. 3 folders.
Bill book, 1984 -1988. 3 folders.
Bill book, 1984 -1988. 4 folders.
Resource book, 1966-1983.
Session book, 1991-1995. 12 folders.

National Affairs

The YMCA Conference on National Affairs was started in 1968 as a culmination to all the state youth in government programs. This program focuses on the political process at the federal level, including how it relates back down to the state level, as well as on the international level. The week-long conference is held at the Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Youth who apply to participate in this program must already have experience participating in their own state's Youth in Government or Model U.N. program.
Box 12 Conference on national affairs, 1978-1997. 6 folders.
Handbook of general information and rules of procedures, conference on natural affairs, undated.
Incoming correspondence, 1988-1990.
National youth governors conference, 1980.
Outgoing correspondence, 1986-1987. 2 folders.
Youth conference on national affairs, 1994.
Youth governor's conference, 1969.

United Nations

While the YMCA as an organization has historically always participated in global events, during the societal upheaval between 1965-1979, the Minneapolis YMCA expanded youth programs with attention to civic responsibility and a global viewpoint. In 1988, the Minneapolis Y added the model United Nations segment to the existing successful Youth in Government program. Model United Nations is an academic simulation of the United Nations that aims to educate participants about current events, topics in international relations, diplomacy and conflict resolution. The participants role-play as diplomats representing a nation or NGO in a simulated session of an (committee) of the United Nations, such as the Security Council or the General Assembly. Participants research a country, take on roles as diplomats, investigate international issues, debate, deliberate, consult, and then develop solutions to world problems.
Box 12 Assembly, 1987-1995.
Advisory kit, 1996. 2 folders.
Correspondence, 1987-1988.
Delegate study guide, 1987-1998. 2 folders.
Duluth model United Nations assembly, 1986.
Study guide, 1991-1995. 2 folders.
Summit and training day, 1991-1998.

Youth in Justice

In addition to the main Legislative program, the Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government program also has three full Judicial systems, including a Trial Court, an Appeals Court, and a mock Supreme Court. Young people have the opportunity to serve as an attorney, prepare an actual case for trial, and have the case tried before a jury in a real courtroom setting. The Youth Supreme Court was initiated in 1975 with the assistance of the late C. Donald Peterson, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Box 12 Case book, 1984-1985. 3 folders.
Court briefs, 1975-1990. 2 folders.
Schedules and briefs, delegates workbook, 1975-1978.
Youth in justice, 1970-1976.
Youth in law, court appeals, 1996. 2 folders.
Youth in law, Supreme Court, 1996. 2 folders.


See also 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.
Young Men's Christian associations -- Minnesota -- Minneapolis.
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.