HONOLULU - For the 68th year, the YMCA Youth and Government held its opening ceremony on Saturday, kicking off a three day legislative session. Fifty-six students  from around Oahu, Island of Hawaii and Maui were sworn in as new YMCA Youth and Government delegates and met with several state legislators to discuss bills.

New Youth Governor Chloe Kelly and 55 other new officers and student delegates heard from Congressional U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono about her experience as a youth delegate in 1964. State of Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto gave a keynote speech on the importance of civic engagement.

Immediately after the ceremony, US Congressional and Hawaii State Legislators met with student delegates for a mentoring session to provide feedback and advice on bills and resolutions each student plans to introduce. Hawaii Congressional U.S. Senator Brian Schatz kicked off the mentoring session with special remarks. Students then networked with legislators to solicit advice about the bills they plan to introduce and to learn about the legislators’ jobs and district issues. 

The YMCA of Honolulu’s Youth and Government program began in 1949 and continues today, as an annual program where teens learn parliamentary procedures by electing their own governor, speaker of the house, senate president and delegates; draft their own bills and resolutions based on the issues they research in their communities; then debate and advocate for the passage of these bills and resolutions in a mock three-day legislative session. Students may also choose to participate in the YMCA Youth and Government program as a Youth Press Corp member.  

The officers of the 68th YMCA Youth and Government are:

Youth Governor- Chloe Kelly, Senior, Mililani High School 

Senate President- Krysta Reese, Junior, Mililani High School

Vice President- Lori Takushi, Sophomore, Mililani High School

Senate Clerk- Alethea Ramones, Junior, Kau High School (Big Island)

Senate Chaplain- Anna Schroedel, Junior, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (Big Island)

Senate Sergeant at Arms- Zachree Maglangit, 6th Grade, Kawananakoa Middle School

Speaker of the House- Zachary Okimoto, Senior, Kalani High School

Vice Speaker- Joie Agoo, Junior, Mililani High School

House Clerk- Alana Kelley, Freshmen, Kalaheo High School

House Chaplain- Brayden Vierra-Hiromoto, Freshmen, Kalaheo High School

House Sergeant at Arms- Christian Leidholm, Junior, Kalaheo High School