Clubs and Programs

Hi-Y/Tri-Hi-Y/Youth & Government Clubs

The Virginia YMCA sponsors school-based service clubs which stress leadership development and community service. These clubs are called Hi-Y, which means high school YMCA. The first such club was organized in Chapman, Kansas in 1889, and was for boys only. Later came Tri-Hi-Y, a club for girls. Today, most clubs are co-ed and are called Hi-Y or Youth & Government. Hi-Y clubs perform school and community service projects and also participate in the Virginia YMCA’s model government programs.

Students from affiliated clubs have the opportunity to run for office, serve as committee chairs, and become appointed officers

Model Judiciary Program

In 1975, the Virginia YMCA and the Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division partnered to launch the Model Judiciary Program (MJP). It was through the work of our Executive Director Fulton Johnson, VBA President Gibson Harris, and Delegate Gerald Baliles. MJP has progressed over the years but still contains it’s purpose of educating Virginia’s youth with a hands on experience in Virginia’s judicial system.

While Gerald Baliles would later become Attorney General and then Governor of Virginia, he still maintained his support for MJP and its importance towards educating youth. MJP is composed of three different levels; Trial, Appellate, and Supreme Court. Students will have the opportunity to portray attorneys, witnesses, and jurors while arguing cases in real court rooms with real judges/justices. These rounds culminate to the Supreme Court round where the top arguments from the Appellate round argue constitutionality in the Virginia Supreme Court with Virginia Supreme Court Justices.

It was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Harry Carrico, that said- “the Court feels this program is one of the most positive public service projects of our organization”- as they finished volunteering to preside over the MJP Supreme Court arguments.

Students in Virginia can participate in the Model Judiciary Program through their local participating school or YMCA. If you are not sure if your local school/YMCA participates in our program, but would still like to get your son involved, please contact the Virginia YMCA and they will help get you started.

Conference On National Affairs

The Conference on National Affairs is held annually at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina and was established in 1967 with Virginia attending its first conference. Students from across the nation gather at this conference to debate issues of national and international importance. Each student brings a proposal to discuss in committee during the week-long process. Virginia typically brings a group of 10-20 students to represent the Commonwealth, and these students are selected by a committee at the Model General Assembly.

Students selected have many deadlines to adhere to between MGA and CONA, including proposal submission and discussion in a private online forum. Students are expected to actively contribute to the discussion and arrange their own transportation to the conference.

Teen Leadership Conferences

Purpose: Teen Leadership Conferences are designed to introduce 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to Virginia state government, especially the legislative branch. Leadership and character development activities are also included, along with a healthy dose of fun.

Typically, TLC’s are held in certain counties for a certain grade level within the county. We have also provided TLCs for certain high schools. To bring a TLC to your county, please contact the Virginia YMCA.



How do I become an Advisor?

Contact the Virginia YMCA and we will be happy to help you. There are several ways you can serve as an Advisor. You do not have to bring students to our program through one of our clubs, but we certainly encourage you to start a club if there is interest. You can find more information in the Advisor Guide on the MGA Programs page.

How can I bring students to one of the programs?

We require all students, either from a YMCA or a school, to attend with an advisor. If an advisor is interested in bringing kids, please contact us and we will help get you started. If a parent wishes to get their child involved, feel free to contact us and we can help you find the nearest participating school or YMCA.

How do I start a club?

Contact the Virginia YMCA and will be happy to help get you started. Each club needs a sponsoring school or YMCA staff member from their local school or YMCA to advise the club. Advisors can view the Advisor Guide on the MGA Programs page for more information on how to get started.