FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: PETER STRECKER (631) 702-2425
Members of the Town of Southampton Youth Bureau’s Youth and Government program participated in the annual YMCA Youth and Government conference in Albany, NY from March 18th – March 20th. During the 3-day conference, students served as part of a model state government and debated bills they and their peers have written. Students were given the chance to learn about a wide variety of topics, develop critical thinking skills, and express their beliefs in an engaging and constructive process with other chapters across New York State.
Aiden Genender (Senior, Sag Harbor), Andrew Mastrole (Senior, Westhampton Beach), and James Daniels (Senior, Westhampton Beach) attended the conference and represented the Town of Southampton Youth Bureau’s chapter of the YMCA program under the supervision of Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni. As the instructor, Councilman Schiavoni was instrumental in the program’s success. “Youth and Government is a powerful program that prepares our young people to be the leaders of tomorrow. I’m proud of how our students presented at the State conference.
They researched and prepared for months and it showed in their performance,” Councilman Schiavoni stated. Aiden Genender had a leadership role and was chosen to serve as the comptroller for the Governor’s cabinet. “I made friends with people all over the state, passed my bill, and was voted as an outstanding debater in my chamber. It was an incredible experience, and I truly and confidently believe it accurately represents my growth as a human being,” Genender stated. “I met lots of friendly, like-minded people, and I enjoyed critiquing dozens of bills that covered a wide variety of issues,” Mastrole recounted. Daniels expressed that “Youth and Government was a transformative experience because I was able to debate and vote on bills of statewide importance just like a real New York legislator would.”
All who attended the conference left enriched and empowered to actively participate in the democratic process, which is the main goal of the program. By providing opportunities such as Youth and Government, students are able to understand that democracy is a continual process and that it must be learned and earned by each succeeding generation.
The Town of Southampton Youth Bureau’s chapter of Youth and Government will officially resume in September 2022. Registration is open to students in grades 9 – 12 residing within the Town of Southampton. For more information or to register for Youth and Government, please call (631) 702-2425 or visit the Youth Bureau’s main webpage at www.southamptontownny.gov/youthbureau.