The Scotch Plains Youth and Government Delegation attends YAG Conference

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Stephanie Colinders

From April 13th to April 16th Scotch Plains Fanwood High School’s Youth and Government (YAG) club went to Elizabeth, New Jersey for three days and two nights to participate in the annual YAG conference.
 
Although the Scotch Plains delegation only has six members, other districts such as Montgomery have up to 40 members. Hundreds of students are actively involved in this program and many of them attended this year’s conference.
 
“The trip entails making and debating bills with peers from other towns in New Jersey,” youth secretary Ardita Sinanovic said. “And you can act as a senator or an assembly member of congress, as well as working on passing bills to get them to the governor.”
 
Although everything done is mock, the process is meant to replicate that of what one would actually go through to pass a bill. This gives students a good opportunity to learn more about the legal process and gain experience from it.
 
“It’s about being in the government and voicing your opinions even if other people don’t agree with you,” Sinanovic said. “It’s about talking and enhancing your knowledge about certain topics through your peers. That’s the only way anyone will ever know anything— through experience. Sure, you can read and learn about government all you want but it’s not until you are in it that you gain an actual knowledge of how things work.”
 
One of the most interesting parts of the YAG conference is participating in the chambers. This is when students either to be part of the assembly or the senate. Their responsibility is to deliberate on bills, which can take hours to do. Students are able to write character development awards to others in in your legislature.
 
The lessons from this trip are things that the students will carry with them for the rest of their academic and everyday lives. Even if one is not interested in pursuing a law/government-based career, there are still many valuable skills that can be taken away from this trip and this club overall.
 
“This club has inspired me,” Sinanovic said. “It helped me grow into the person I am today; the one who’s not afraid to speak my mind and not afraid to speak in front of others. If you want to improve your public speaking, want to make new friends and expand your intellectual horizons, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.”
 
Out of the hundreds of candidates, Sinanovic has been selected as an alternate to the Youth Conference on National Affair in North Carolina, which is where she will be representing the entire state of New Jersey. Furthermore, next year Sinanovic can also be found volunteering as a college advisor for the club and will be available to provide assistance for anyone who needs it.
Overall, while there are only a few SPF students involved in YAG, the students had a great time participating in all of the activities and workshops that the conference had to offer. For more information about YAG contact supervisor Brooke Wager in Room 232.