Youth in Governance



The Dane County Youth Governance Program (YGP) offers opportunities for youth leadership development and youth empowerment in Dane County through direct participation in county government decision-making; provides real-life learning opportunities for youth in the functioning of local government; and brings a direct youth voice to community issues and concerns while fostering the development of confident, capable and independent leaders for the next generation.

Program Structure

Each youth representative is appointed to a Dane County Board committee for a one year term from September through May, and is matched with a supervisor-mentor on their committee. YGP mentors closely assist youth in learning about and contributing to the governance process. YGP youth have the same opportunities for committee participation and involvement as elected county supervisors, except that they have a non-binding advisory vote.

In addition to committee meetings, youth representatives attend YGP education meetings, which provide a space to connect with other youth representatives; deepen learning; and grow youth leadership, civic engagement, and other important professional skills.

Program Expectations

  • Strive to attend all regularly-scheduled committee meetings (~11-15 per term). Must attend at least 75% of regularly-scheduled committee meetings (at least 3 out of every 4 meetings).
  • If a meeting will be missed, notify mentor, committee chair, & YGP facilitator. No more than 3 absences without notice.
  • Stay up to date on committee business and read necessary material in advance in order to stay engaged in committee meetings
  • Strive to attend at least 4 YGP education meetings
  • Total time commitment is about 6-8 hours per month.
  • At the end of the one-year term, each youth representative will give a brief presentation to county board supervisors about their YGP experience. Youth may also apply to serve in a 2nd term.

For a printer-friendly version of this information, download the YGP Description. For more information, the YGP Handbook provides further details regarding the program, its history, Dane County, Parliamentary Procedure, youth leadership, and more.

More in this Section

  • History