Every year participants returning to Youth and Government say they feel like they are coming “home.” Within the program, delegations act as support systems, spirit boosters, and shoulders to lean on when the paperwork is stacking up and delegates’ energy is draining.
Arvin Hariri a second year participant in the Berkeley Delegation participates in ice breakers, such as Cross the Line, at his delegations weekly meetings. The goal is to create emotional bonding between delegates. Hariri confided that as the questions in the ice breaker get more difficult, “It kind of tears people up,” as the truth becomes more difficult to admit.
A common bonding experience that delegations go through occurs on the last day of the Sacramento conference, where delegates, “…share a bunch of deep stuff and everyone ends up crying…it’s really sad, but also really heartwarming,” said Hariri.
Although Hariri’s delegation doesn’t participate in any activities outside of their meetings, he feels that the Berkeley Delegation is, “especially accomplished in bonding the delegates together and making us feel more like a family.”
During the long commute from Southern California up to the Fresno and Sacramento conventions, Aviel Hernandez of the Desert Family YMCA, says delegates partake in various games on the bus, such as Speed Dating, where he, “…got to know everyone and seeing how everyone has their own opinions on different things.”
Jennifer Honeywell, a first year delegate of the San Gabriel Delegation, found their stay-cation style delegation dinner, “super super super fun” when they ordered pizza and talked in their hotel for hours.
Before Sacramento, the San Gabriel Delegation bonded through various fundraisers, movie nights, and dinners. Having activities outside of the conferences creates an environment where, “[everyone] is so supportive of each other…especially since in the beginning of the year I didn’t know most of these people and we’ve gotten to this point and I think that’s really awesome,” says Honeywell.
Not all delegations need to plan extensive activities together in order to strengthen the connection between their delegates, however. Mandy Nasser of the East Valley Delegation and Charles Pingry of the Verdugo Hills delegation host multiple simple dinners and socials for their delegation through out the year.
Even by simply holding fundraisers, such as Samantha Millar of the SVC Northwest Delegation’s Christmas in the Park, or going to the movies like Kimberly Florez of the Weingart Urban Delegation, delegations never fail to bring delegates closer together in one way or another.