The Delaware state capitol will be filled with teens who are passionate about law, policy and public service as the annual YMCA of Delaware’s Youth in Government conference convenes.

More than 180 high school students statewide will spend three days modeling the legislative and judicial system April 12-14 at the Kent County Courthouse in Dover.

Since 1969, YIG has given teens an opportunity to meet weekly three months out of the year at local Y’s and schools. The teen program encourages students to learn about and practice the foundation of democracy and to become future civic and government leaders. YIG participants discuss and debate issues that affect Delaware citizens, write proposed legislation to address those issues, compose legal briefs, perform oral arguments and become trained in parliamentary procedures.

At the conference, teens will take on roles as legislators, attornies, lobbyists, news reporters, and more during sessions at the courthouse. They will create bills that must pass through the house and senate, argue a supreme court case and use an official polling machine to vote on a governor.

The culminating event for the conference will be The Governor’s Banquet, set for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 13 at Dover Downs. At that time the teens will listen to the gubernatorial candidate's debate. The students will go to a voting booth supplied by the Delaware Department of Elections to vote for the candidate of their choice. The election results will be announced the following day at the end of the three-day conference.

For more, email atruesdale@ymcade.org.