Positive Relationships and Good Communication

By George Miller posted 05-28-2015 01:43 PM



Hidden behind Washington State Senate’s podium, my knees shook as the words began to spill out of my mouth. I had been waiting for this moment for four years, and there I stood reciting a speech I had practice thousands of times. Youth lieutenant governor, the person who presides over the Senate, was the position I had wanted to run for, for the longest time.

Youth and Government™ is a YMCA run program that gives teens the opportunity to learn about and work hands on with the state government. I started the program as a small 8th grader, who was shy and afraid of talking in front of people. When I first stepped up those marble steps that lead to the massive metal rustic doors I could feel butterflies in my stomach. As we continued to the capital and onto the Senate floor to find our seats, I began to lose my nervous butterflies. The first bill that comes up is a proposal to make coffee Washington state drink, a simple bill for youth legislation. I raised my placard, as the Youth Lieutenant calls on me, something I had practiced all year for that moment. I ask one simple question and sit down; this was when I realized I loved this program and wanted to be a Major Officer.

"Hard work can get you anywhere, but positive relationships and good communication is what can win the race."

Youth lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and runs the debate. I wanted that so badly after watching the youth lieutenant governor my 8th-grade year. So I waited and waited, until four years in the program passed, then worked for hours and days on my campaign. First, I had to win in my district against four other people, and then I had to do that again against the teens who had won for their district, there are five districts in all. I gave my final speech and waited for the results as I watch thousands of teens walk passed me with "I voted" stickers.

Finally, we all piled into the senate for our final closing joint session with all the teens in the program. The whole floor got silent as the fair election commissioner walked up with the big white envelope with the results inside. Slowly the words came out saying, "and your 2014-2015 youth lieutenant governor is... Katie Jackson." I nearly fell out of my seat tripping over my feet in astonishment trying to get to the front of the Senate. After being named Youth Lieutenant Governor I realized that hard work can get you anywhere, but positive relationships and good communication is what can win the race.

The YMCA Youth and Government™ program help me realized I actually enjoy public speaking and teaching others how to do things. It also made me realize I have leadership qualities and becoming a teacher and then eventually a principal would be a great career path for me. I have always loved working with kids and want to help teach the next generations.

Katie is currently a senior at Peninsula High School, in Gig Harbor, Washington where she plays an active role as student body president. She enjoys working with children, photography and spending time outdoors. This fall she plans on attending Central Washington State University where she will pursue a degree in Secondary Education.