Youth in GovernmentDonate Now

RSVP by January 26, 2022 to Sheena Grose 772.286.4444, Ext 224,


Keynote Speaker: Gary S. Lesser

Gary S. Lesser is the President Elect of the Florida Bar, after ten years of service on the Florida Bar Board of Governors. Gary was appointed Chair of Florida Bar Legislation three years in a row, and also served as Chair of the Professional Ethics Committee, and served on the Strategic Planning, Disciplinary Review, Communications and Board Review on Professional Ethics Committees.

Gary is the Lesser, Lesser, Landy, & Smith’s Managing Partner and is one of Florida’s leading personal
injury attorneys, handling a large number of high profile personal injury cases over the years, including automobile injury, wrongful/accidental death, premises liability, gun liability, negligent security, product injury, and other related injury cases. Gary has lectured at seminars all over Florida on the topics of personal injury and various ethics issues. He has been interviewed by local and national media regarding personal injury cases, important ethical/legal issues, and his service to the community.

He has continued the Firm’s tradition of community involvement, taking active leadership positions with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Jewish Federation, and the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. Gary also served as the Chair of the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee and Chair of the Medical Legal Committee for many years.

Gary was born in West Palm Beach. After graduating from Forest Hill High School, Gary attended George Washington University, where he graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs, and was named to the Dean’s List and served as President Pro Tempore of the Student Senate. He was Associate Editor of the GW Hatchet, the school newspaper, and the Editor-in-Chief of the GW Journal, a monthly political opinion commentary. Gary attended the University of Miami School of Law earning his Juris Doctorate. He was a member of Bar & Gavel Society, and he served as Associate Editor of the Yearbook of International Law and Editor-in-Chief of Res Ipsa Loquitur, the law school’s newspaper.


In order to lead, you must first learn to serve. That’s what Clement Duran believed when, in 1936, he launched the YMCA Youth in Government program in Albany, NY. Today, about 50,000 high school students throughout the country participate in YIG, a youth-run, youth-led model of civic engagement and service learning.
YIG began in Florida in 1957, providing high school students with the opportunity to participate in a model government process in Tallahassee.  Once a year, our student delegates take on roles encompassing all the key elements of government involved in creating, debating, and implementing legislation.
The annual Youth in Government State Assembly includes Youth Senators and House Representatives who meet in the legislative chambers to debate bills they have written and sponsored during the program year.

Members of the Youth in Government Judicial Branch

Members of the YIG Judicial Branch

YIG Senate Chamber

Introducing bills in the Senate Chamber

The YIG Assembly is a full-scale model of government that offers student delegates the opportunity to serve as members of the Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch, the Press Corps and more.  The Treasure Coast delegation began with Martin County High School,  South Fork High School and Community Christian Academy students, but all high schools in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties are invited to participate in the Youth in Government program, and join our student delegation.

YMCA of the Treasure Coast actively hosts YIG Programs in all 3 Martin County High School Sites (Martin, South Fork and Jensen) as well as 4 Middle School Sites (Hidden Oaks, Murray, Stuart and Anderson).  Each of these programs run from September-April.  They are led by YMCA YIG Advisors at each site, all reporting to David Yankwitt, YMCA YIG Program Director.  Students pay a one-time $50 registration fee to participate at their school and then opt to participate in YIG trips for Fall District Conference and/or State Assembly.  2021/2022 Assembly is scheduled to be back in-person this year! Additional assembly and travel fees will apply in order to participate.  All registration and payments can be made here or through our YMCA Treasure Coast App. 


Click HERE to access Youth in Government student registration and payment portal.

YMCA YIG Registration dues include a YMCA Student Membership to our Stuart or Indiantown wellness facilities!  

For more information contact Elisha Stoecklin.  Visit Florida YMCA Youth In Government

2016 Youth in Government Delegation in front of the State Capitol

2016 Youth in Government Delegation in front of the State Capitol. Students are from South Fork and Martin County high schools.