By Amy Dennis
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Almost 400 youth took over the Alabama State House for the 66th Annual Alabama YMCA Youth Legislature this weekend.
Youth Legislature is a part of the Alabama YMCA Youth in Government program, which provides youth with the opportunity to be involved in government while they are still in school. The program gives students a chance to show they care about what is going on in their state, and how they plan to contribute to its overall growth and development.
The youth assume all the roles of the real Legislature and related branches of government: there is a Senate and its officers, the House and its officers, the Supreme Court, and the governor's office. Delegates to the conference each write their own bill and present them in front of their respective chamber, debate ensues, and maybe Youth Governor Noah Crawford of Spain Park High School in Birmingham will sign it into law.
In addition to legislators and Supreme Court members, youth serve as lobbyists and members of the news media. These young people may not be up front speaking out in debate, but they play a vital role in the conference. The news media members serve as the eyes and ears of the conference, providing students with documentation of everything that the weekend has to offer.
Youth Gov. Crawford said, "I want people to walk away with not only stronger beliefs, but to learn why they believe what they believe."
The Youth Legislature is meeting Friday through Sunday.
Amy Dennis, a senior at Booker T. Washington Magnet High in Montgomery, is serving as editor of the Youth Legislature's newspaper, blog and social media outlets.
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