By: Bella Sucheski
YMCA programs across the country are guided by what are known as the Y core values, caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. However, these ideals can be applied to more than just Youth and Government interactions. In today’s world of constant controversy, it is becoming more and more important for leaders to demonstrate the Y core values.
One example of the Y core values being put into action is student-led protests. Those protesting want people to care about the issues that they face, and peaceful protests are a great way to bring awareness. Caring for the well being of others, even if the issue does not affect one personally, is essential in Youth and Government. If this trait was more associated with the government, there would be more positive change.
Another important value that is demonstrated through student activists is honesty. With social media, it can be difficult to find the facts and figure out what truly happened in certain situations. Yet teenagers everywhere are stepping up and using social media to their advantage by researching and sharing information. This dedication to finding the facts of a case can be seen within Youth and Government as well. Hopefully, delegates can use these skills and continue to spread information about topics that matter in the real world outside of Youth and Government.
The YMCA also strives to teach respect. Respect is necessary for strong debate. If both parties cannot respectfully work together, nothing is accomplished. During this movement, it is important to remember to appreciate everyone’s opinion, and communicate with respect. Some people might not be as educated, as experienced, or as open-minded as others. Yet Youth and Government is a program that teaches delegates how to ‘agree to disagree’ and remain friends with those with opposing opinions. This is a great skill to utilize in today’s times of conflict.
The last characteristic is responsibility. This can mean several things, but along with being a delegate in Youth and Government comes the responsibility to lead others. There is no doubt that this program is building future leaders. And there is no better opportunity to step up than during peaceful protests. So start using the skills that this program has provided and begin making a change.
The ability to be caring, honest, respectful, and responsible is what the world needs during the Black Lives Matter movement. Youth and Government has prepared delegates to take charge and become leaders, so remember the Y core values and start making change today.