What Is the MLC?
California YMCA Youth & Government’s Model Legislature & Court (MLC) has been the state’s premier youth leadership and civic development program since 1948. The MLC creates a six-month learn-by-doing experience that teaches the values of democracy by bringing together a cross-section of the state’s high school students. This program provides them with the opportunity to experience government first-hand and to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process, as well as debate and discuss issues with their peers from throughout California. Click here to see a summary of the program areas delegates can participate in.
Where Do Participants Meet?
Students participate in the program through delegations run through local YMCA’s or schools in their area. Delegations host weekly meetings that typically start the first week of school and are led by adult Advisor.
As a delegation, youth create bills about pertinent issues, research and practice court cases, develop public speaking and networking skills, and attend three annual Model Legislature & Court conferences.
Where and When Are the Conferences?
Each conference brings together diverse students from across the state to experience the governmental process first-hand through a unique “youth-run, youth-led” model. The first two training and election conferences are held in mid-November and mid-January in Fresno. These events prepare youth for their roles at the formal Model Legislature & Court conference held over five days in mid-February at the State Capitol in Sacramento.
Once in Sacramento, the bills developed by delegations during the fall are debated in committees, then on the floor of the Assembly and/or Senate and, if passed, sent on to the Youth Governor. Additional program offerings for delegates include: The Supreme, Appellate and Trial Courts, Broadcast and Print Media, Lobbyists, Board of Education, The State Constitutional Convention, Political Parties, and The National Issues Commission, along with many more.
New program areas are considered and developed regularly as the MLC strives to serve a variety of interests and to include all aspects of the state government offering youth an active understanding of the legislative, judicial and executive branches, along with many affiliated and auxiliary areas.
How Do I Get Involved?
To get involved, use the “Find My Delegation” search tool and provide your zip code to find the location of the closest MLC delegation in your area.