*** New in 2015

Lobbyist Activities at State Convention

Lobbyists are non-legislators. They are advocators, persuaders, and answer-people in the lawmaking process who promote the interests of their clients before legislative committees, before individual legislators, and often through the maze of the Governor’s executive domain. So influential are they as a group, some veterans call themselves the General Assembly’s “Third House”. The lobbyist’s mission is to influence legislators to support their clients best interests by providing information and rationale about pending legislation.

For the first half of the State Convention, students in the lobbyist program are advocates who work behind the scenes for the passage or defeat of a bill. During committee meetings, they are allowed to sit in on selected meetings and to speak when recognized by the chair. During the sessions of the Senate or House lobbyists speaks privately with individual legislators outside the chambers to influence the passage or non-passage of a bill.

During the second half of the State Convention, Lobbyists will have the opportunity to explore the real-world advocacy efforts and Public Policy initiatives of the YMCA in Missouri and the United States. Students will engage with professional adult Lobbyists and guest speakers to gain skills to advocate on behalf of the Y’s agenda in support of healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. This programming will help connect students to the Y and will aim to train them as Y supporters and advocates. The program will also expose students to national policymaking, Y-USA advocacy efforts, and public policy career tracks.

Students who successfully complete the Lobbyist Program will be invited to attend the YMCA State Advocacy Day at the Missouri State Capitol on February 9, 2016, where they will interact one-on-one with State lawmakers to promote important YMCA legislative priorities and connect with State officials to help them become committed supporters of the YMCA. This is a unique opportunity for Youth in Government students to gain actual advocacy experience while still in high school. In addition, a handful of Lobbyist Program students may be invited to travel to Washington D.C. February 21-24, 2016 to attend YMCA National Advocacy Days to lobby at the federal level.

An 11th grade participant will be elected at each State Convention by fellow Lobbyists to lead next years program as Chief Lobbyist. Students do not need to campaign or announce their candidacy prior to the convention.

Lobbyist Preparation

Students selected to participate in the Lobbyist program must write and submit a position paper on the appropriate form to the State Office on or before the deadline in order to attend the State Convention.

Lobbyist Eligibility

The Lobbyist program is open to 11th and 12 grade students who have  at least one year experience in Youth in Government. Applications are required to participate, which will be built in as a part of registration when you select Lobbyist as your program area.

Only 20 students will be selected at each State Convention. Students who apply will be notified of a decision by 9/21/15. Students not selected will become a member of the Legislature and need to write and submit a bill.