By: Ann Duan
A lot has changed for Youth & Government since the pandemic. After one or two virtual sessions, and hours of delegation meetings over zoom, delegates from across the country are already awaiting next year’s trip to the capitols. For one, Washington’s press corps never thought they would miss Olympia’s house Republican caucus so much.
We are all thrilled to debate, see our old friends, make new friends and do so much more, as the country begins to reopen. That being said, there’s a considerable amount of rebuilding that must happen before we can truly return to normal again.
For one, Y&G membership has taken a steep plunge since the pandemic. Washington’s program lost almost half of our delegates, and on the other side of the country, Massachusetts lost about 70% of its delegates, according to program director, Caitlyn Sweeney. This is unfortunate for the YAG community, and for the students who will be missing out, but there is still hope. We can all play a part in rebuilding our state programs through grassroots marketing and social media. Connect with your state director to bring YAG to your school, if your delegation isn’t already a school program! Reach out to friends, relatives, or anyone your age that might be interested in politics; even if they aren’t interested in politics, they might be interested in the press instead!
Despite this, a number of good things, both fun and practical, have emerged from the pandemic as well. Just to name a few, Tennessee hosted Candidate Town Halls, and Washington communicated through Discord. Massachusetts hosted virtual game nights, which was a success, and Oklahoma held monthly zoom meetings with all the delegates! State directors and staff, among them, Caitlyn Sweeney, Jennifer Hill, Susan Moriarty, and Sharon Davies, spectate that many of these events will be here to stay, even when capitols reopen next year. Combining new traditions with the old, it is certain that YAG will bounce back better than ever next year– that is, if we all put in the effort to reach out and spread the word.
So if you’re still with me, together, let’s get ready for the Y&G Renaissance.