Keenan Blog

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Democracy Must Be Learned by Each Generation

Guest Blogger 12/16/2014
Guest Blogger

The title above is not intended as a political statement. This is the motto of the California YMCA Youth & Government (Y&G) program, which expresses that the impact of first-hand experience on young people is transformative. The program’s Model Legislature & Court (MLC) has been the state’s premier youth leadership and civic development program since 1948. The MLC creates a six-month learn-by-doing experience that teaches the values of democracy by bringing together a cross-section of the state’s high school students. This program provides an opportunity to actually participate in solving community problems through the democratic process as well as debate and discuss issues with their peers from throughout California.

yig_logoThe California YMCA Youth & Government experience motivates young people to become engaged with their communities. A study of Y&G alumni found they were more likely than the general population to register to vote (96% vs. 66%), actually vote in elections (87% vs. 54%), work on community issues (43% vs. 17%), become members of a board (15% vs. 3%), and, perhaps most important, get their bachelor’s degree (88% vs. 25%).

I’m proud that Keenan has been an active supporter of Y&G for the past five years. I have been inspired each time I have had the chance to work alongside this enthusiastic and dedicated group of teens and their volunteer leaders. One of the highlights of my year is the trip to Sacramento each February when almost 3,000 high school students take over the State Capitol. If you’d like to see how this all works for yourself, I encourage you to join us for VIP Day during the MLC on Friday, February 13, 2015. If you can be in Sacramento on that date, please contact me at and I’ll arrange for you to receive an invitation. Hope you will be able to make it! If you can’t make the trip, you can learn more about Y&G by visiting


PHOTO Identification (L-R): California YMCA’s Program Director Morgan Bauer and CEO Debbie Gabelich present a plaque in appreciation for Keenan’s support. Tim is joined by two of Keenan’s Y&G Alumni, Kevin Knopf and Stephanie Richter.



blog_crawfordAbout Tim Crawford
Tim is Vice President, Marketing at Keenan. He has been a member of the California YMCA Youth & Government Board of Directors since 2010.