YAG in Harrisburg

Lucy Pearsall-Finch

“The next bill on the calendar is bill number 794. Will the clerk please read the title and purpose of the bill?”

“The bill title is ‘Internet for All Act.’ The purpose of the bill is to provide everyone with free internet.”

“Is bill sponsor present? The sponsor is now recognized for a 2 minute sponsorship speech.”

For three days, this is how the chamber sessions started. There is a club at Obama nicknamed YAG that stands for Youth and Government. Throughout the year, the club has held meetings learning Parliamentary Procedure, how to write briefs (for those in Judicial) and what to expect at model.

There were two earlier meetings where all delegations on the western side of Pennsylvania met. The first one was elections. We elected Committee Chairs for the senate and house. They run the committee meetings where bills are first debated. There were also elections for justices, gold lt. governor, and editor in chief. The next meeting was in preparation for the trip to Harrisburg. There we edited our bills, revised briefs, and learned our tasks in the model government.

On Thursday, we actually left for Harrisburg. People in leadership positions or in press got off the bus at the hotel, and the rest of us traveled to Gettysburg. There we watched a movie outlining the Civil War, and the importance of the Battle of Gettysburg. Then we took a tour of the battlegrounds and stopped at some monuments for pictures and a brief history. When we got to some cannons, we stopped and our tour guide explained how the process of loading a cannon. The freshmen were a group and we were able to imaginarily load the cannon in 17 seconds. The juniors challenged us and came close with 18 seconds.

After we arrived back at the hotel, we had a bit of time to unpack and then we had to get ready to go downstairs to get our schedules for the next three days. Everyone gets a bill book that includes everybody’s schedule and location in the capitol building. We then broke off into Blue and Gold House and the Senate split into majority and minority parties. Senators voted for party leader, party whip and secretary. The Gold Senate had a few leaders from Obama delegation. Ian Thomas was majority party secretary, Jordon Picone was the chaplain, I- Lucy Pearsall- Finch was the secretary and Lainey Newman was the Gold Lt. Governor! She was in charge of the entire gold senate consisting of mostly first year members.

The first day was a little hectic. We spent the entire day in the capitol building. GORGEOUS! a little confusing but that was very much ok. All the returning members who for the most part knew the layout were very helpful with giving directions. The legislators were in and out of senate and house chambers and committee meetings. Everyone was trying to get there bill passed. Some were able to get there bill through both chambers and signed by the governor! The days were long, and each night when we finally got back to our rooms, there was a bit of planning for the next night. Sleep was limited but the hotel beds were comfy! Saturday night was the Gov Ball. Everyone got dressed up and looking cute!! We listened to a couple speeches and awards were given to some advisors. After that, a bunch of us went out and played a slightly intense game of Apples to Apples. The last day was elections, awards, and goodbyes. Lainey Newman won Lt. Governor for next year and some from our delegation won best Committee Chair. The bigger positions for next year- Lt. Governor, Speaker of the house and Governor have been chosen for next year. The trip to Harrisburg was a lot of fun. We got to meet people from delegations on the East Side and make friends across the state. I’m looking forward to next year.