A wise person once said, “if you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.” When it comes to Youth in Government, you’re always in the right room. Students in YIG not only learn democracy through practice, but they also learn from each other and from themselves. To students entering this program, whether you’re in your first year or your last:
I challenge you to enter this session with a certain mindset; a mindset of openness, compassion, and integrity.
I challenge you to seek out those you disagree with. Learn from them, understand them, and allow their views to raise question to your own. Youth in Government is a unique program that can close fissures between the most divisive of factions and the most estranged ideals. This environment is one that our world so desperately needs, and it all starts here, with us.
I challenge you to lift up those around you. Take the initiative to give specific and sincere compliments to your new friends and your old ones. Returning delegates, welcome new students into our fold. New delegates, don’t be afraid to reach out. The beautiful thing about YIG is that everyone is heard at the same level. No matter your age, you’re desired to be heard.
I challenge you to ask questions. A sophisticated and pointed question can open doors and win debates. YIG is all about questioning. Questioning your strengths, weaknesses, values, and understanding.
I challenge you to be bold. Be bold in your actions of kindness, be bold when you speak, write, or discuss, and be bold when you walk up those marble steps of the Capitol.
And lastly I challenge you to say thank you. Say thank you to each other, say thank you to your advisors, say thank you to your parents, say thank you to our speakers, and say thank you to every waiter/waitress/hotel staff member/ bus driver/ janitor/ cashier you encounter at during Pre and Model Government weekends.
It is here at Pre-Government that we begin to understand and embrace our differences, and above all reach out and shake some hands.
I am so proud to be serving as your Governor this YIG season, it is truly humbling. I know that you will inspire me and I thank you in advance for doing so.
With unconditional gratitude,