Wednesday afternoons are one’s that Yoselin Resendiz looks forward to. After the infamously mute school bell rings at 4:35, Resendiz rushes down to Room 150 and into her designated spot next to her Youth and Government (YAG) partner-in-crime Litzy Santana. It is Resendiz’s second year participating in the growing club, but her excitement is equal of her first.
“At first, I was really iffy about joining, because I don’t really feel comfortable speaking with other people,” Resendiz (11) chuckles. “After Youth and Government, I felt more confident about speaking in front of people a little more. I feel like it impacted me in a way where I feel more confident in public spaces.”
Resendiz is on the YAG judicial team. She and Santana lead a team of witnesses and prepare them for court cases in district and state competitions. Rezendiz coaches witnesses to learn a court case provided by the YMCA YAG website, and prepares them for the opposing team’s round of questions. She then coincides with her co-attorney Santana to talk strategy.
“The case last year was a murder case, so for my side we had to defend the person who was responsible for committing the crime. We have to know procedures such as trial court and things like that,” Resendiz said. “Overall, it’s kind of a difficult process, but you get used to it. The more you practice it, the easier it gets.”
Yoselin has only been to a YAG district competition once; she advanced to state during that competition, something she prides herself in.
“For district, since it was our first time, we got to see what it’s like to see a case. For state, having the space of an actual trial court was interesting. It was cool being there, and seeing how it worked,” Yoselin said.
By spending hours practicing her plans for competition, Resendiz has learned skills not only surrounding government, but essential life skills as well.
“I’m better with working with others, I can rely on other people. I tend to be more of a ‘do-it-yourself- kind of person’, but in Youth and Government, we really had to work together and rely on each other,” Yoselin said.
Resendiz empathizes with those starting the club this year, recalling her nervousness when she started working with her case.
“Go for it, don’t be afraid of something new,” she advises. “It might be hard, and a little frustrating at first, but it’s all worth it at the end. It’s really fun.”
Fortunately for Resendiz, YAG has offered her a new outlook on life and a fulfilling passion to carry on throughout her adulthood. She ensures anyone who chooses to participate will only enjoy the opportunities given.
“It’s easy to balance Youth and Government with your [life], you do have to put in a lot of time, but it’s not time you don’t want to give,” Resendiz said. “It’s something you enjoy doing. You don’t feel forced to do it, you want to do it.”
Every time Taliah Rebollar enters Room 150 on Tuesday afternoons, she feels a rush of nervousness and excitement. This is her first year in Youth and Government. Being a senior, this adds more to her plate, however she remains hopeful of a possible newfound passion.
“Last year I wanted to join YAG, but I was a little lazy,” Rebollar (12) said. I have my foot in a lot of things this year. Last year, I told myself ‘I can do this next year,’ and this year, I don’t have a next year.”
Taliah has taken the role of covering YAG through social media. The social media portion of the club is led by Maddy Schell (12), someone who Taliah aspires to be more like as the year progresses.
“I’m going to try to focus on her and follow whatever she’s doing,” Rebollar said. “What I wanted to learn from social media is how to write better. The two main things I want to do is to be a better writer and be more social.”
Being a senior and doing Youth and Government for the first time is a unique situation. Many of her friends encouraged her to participate in the program, despite the busy schedule seniors typically have. Taliah is left to experience YAG for the first time on her own, something she is still adjusting to.
“I feel left out, being one of the only first year seniors in YAG,” Rebollar said. “I feel like there’s not really anyone to struggle with me, learning the basics. I feel like I fit in with the freshmen at this point.”
There has only been two Youth and Government meetings since the school year started. Not much information has been given about the future district and state competitions yet, but Rebollar is already thinking about the future.
“I don’t know if I’ll advance into state,” Rebollar said. “I can’t really plan out what I’m going to do. I like to go through my mind about what’s going to happen, and I need to start doing that.”
As a member of the social media side of YAG, the members must cover as many events as possible during competitions. The coverage would be posted on the official Youth and Government social media handles where judges will decide whose coverage is the most thorough.
“Social media in YAG is important, because it’s how people are able to perceive it,” Rebollar said. “Social media is where all of the news is. On Twitter, I can see what’s trending and what’s going on in the world.”
Rebollar plans to take Resendiz’s advice and leap right into Youth and Government.S he intends to stay fully committed despite the many extracurriculars she has taken part in, such as band and cross country. Out of everything Rebollar is doing this year, she feels YAG will provide her with skills necessary for the real world.
“It’s kind of like me preparing myself for college because I would like to have a lot of connections and be more social,” Rebollar said. “I’m meeting a lot of people through this.”