Melendez Speaks About Nevada Youth Legislature

The focus of the NYL is teaching Nevadan Youth about government and politics through hands-on learning and experience. In 2019, Youth Legislator, Julianna Melendez, attended a NYL training.

Julianna Melendez

The focus of the NYL is teaching Nevadan Youth about government and politics through hands-on learning and experience. In 2019, Youth Legislator, Julianna Melendez, attended a NYL training.

Kaylani Rodrigues, Reporter

The Nevada Youth Legislature (NYL) is a two-year program that allows high school students the opportunity to learn about representative government and politics, as well as giving them a role in the legislative process.

“The Nevada Youth Legislature is the only leadership program of its kind here in the United States where students are able to take an active role in the legislative process and in assisting their communities,” Youth Legislator Julianna Melendez said.

The program allows students to represent Nevada youth in local and state policy-making. Students also play their part in developing legislation that is processed by state lawmakers. There are plenty of benefits and opportunities students can gain from joining the NYL.

“Students can gain public speaking skills, leadership qualities, insight into themselves and their interests/passions, and overall the skills needed to be a well-rounded and successful individual,” Melendez said. “They also gain opportunities for scholarships, are able to draft an official bill and present it to the legislature, as well as engage with lawmakers.”

While the Nevada Youth Legislature comes with plenty of benefits, it also comes with plenty of responsibilities like outreach work.

“The type of outreach work done within the NYL by students is things such as hosting a town hall meeting, create a District Youth Advisory Council (DYAC) where you have students from different high schools advise and support you, and testify before a public body,” Melendez said.

The NYL provides students with the opportunity to help their community in many ways. Students are given the chance to connect with their peers across the state and continue building peer relationships through the NYL alumni network.

“Because Nevada Youth Legislators are students themselves, they’re able to connect with the youth that they represent on a much more personal level than regular adult legislators,” Melendez said. “By communicating with their peers and fellow youth, they’re able to present a bill that accurately reflects what Nevadan youth care about and do something about it on the legislative level.”

Melendez suggests that students should consider joining this program because of what it can do for them as well as what they can do for Nevada.

“The Nevada Youth Legislature is an amazing program definitely because of the aforementioned reasons, but also because the other Youth Legislators you work with are just as passionate and talented as you,” Melendez said. “You get to make friends from all over the state and build life-long relationships.”