Helena YMCA
For Youth Development, For Healthy Living, For Social Responsibility
Every day is full of potential
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History of Youth & Government

Nationally, the YMCA Youth and Government Program began in New York State in 1936. In the mid-1930s, Clement A. Duran, the Boy's Work Secretary of the Albany YMCA, realized the government's need for more leaders of high moral character and integrity. At the same time he realized the need for high school youth to have a meaningful introduction to the democratic processes of government since they would soon become full-fledged adult citizens. Duran struck upon the idea of a Model Legislature as a program vehicle for introducing the youth to the actual processes and leadership of their state government. He hoped that such a highly meaningful experience might inspire the youth to think seriously about government as a career--or at least to stimulate the beginning of their active and concerned participation in government as a citizen. The slogan "Democracy Must Be Learned by Each Generation" was developed by Duran as a motto to interpret the purpose of the program.

With these goals in mind, he successfully developed the first YMCA Youth and Government Program with the help of William H. Burger for members of New York Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y clubs (high school age YMCA members) in 1936. The first Model Legislature was held that year in Albany, New York. With encouragement from the National Council of YMCAs, the program rapidly spread to other nearby states. Today, over 40 states have YMCA Youth and Government programs.

Montana's program was organized in 1970, with our first Youth Legislature held in the spring of 1971. From 75 students in 1971, the program now serves over 300 young people. The program also held a Youth "Con-Con" in 1972, corresponding with the real 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention.



Mon-Fri: 5:30 AM-9 PM
Saturday: 8 AM-3 PM
Sunday: 11 AM-3 PM
Summer Hours : Closed Sunday Memorial Day-Labor Day

Holiday Schedule

Drop-In Day Care Hours

Mon-Fri: 8:30 AM-1:00 PM
Ages 3 months to 8 years

Helena Family YMCA

1200 North Last Chance Gulch
Helena MT 59601
Phone: (406) 442-9622
Fax: (406) 442-2577