The YMCA Triunfo Delegation consists of students from Oak Park High School, Agoura High School and Calabasas High School. (Photo courtesy of Alex Goldbeck)
Oak Park High School

Oak Park junior Alex Goldbeck, Youth Governor finalist

Junior Alex Goldbeck was recognized as one of the top six finalists for Youth Governor of the Youth and Government program of California.

Youth and Government is a program founded in 2001 through the Young Men’s Christian Association that models the California state government.

According to Goldbeck, Youth and Government is a program that allows young people to come together and create positive change.

“The program is really fun and really interesting. And, it’s really cool to see an area where all these people are coming together with all these different political viewpoints but were all able to see a common goal and work together to get bills passed, do charity work and basically be a better government,” Goldbeck said.

According to sophomore and Youth and Government member Galia Broussi, for one weekend every year, the Youth Governor is able to take over real government jobs, including the Governor’s position, currently held by Gavin Newsom.

Goldbeck was selected as one of the top six candidates for the Youth Governor position as a representative of the Poppy party, one of the organization’s first versions of alternative political parties. They believe in affordable housing and healthcare, protecting the environment and increased protection against sexual assault as well as a woman’s right to safe abortions.

Additionally, Goldbeck was selected to represent California at several conferences throughout the year.

“I was selected as a youth board member for the Board of Directors for the California Youth and Government Association, as well as the California delegation at the conference on national affairs in North Carolina,” Goldbeck said. “I also represent California at the YMCA celebration in London.”

While Goldbeck is the first Oak Park student to be one of the top six candidates, she is the second from Ventura County, after Newbury Park High School senior and current Youth Governor Scott Nagatoshi.

According to Nagatoshi, winning youth governor in 2018 was a “surreal” experience.

“It’s a position that I’ve always looked up to, so having my peers believe that I was fit to serve in that position was humbling and honestly unbelievable to say the least,” Nagatoshi said.

During his term as California’s Youth Governor, Nagatoshi said he was able to achieve several of his goals.

“Something I wanted to focus on this year was the delegate experience and ensuring all voices within the program were heard so I was able to start a delegate advisory council to be a louder voice of the youth to the Cal YMCA board of directors,” Nagatoshi said. “I also got caucuses, which are groups of marginalized delegates in the program, the ability to propose bills in to be debated in the legislative houses.”

According to Nagatoshi, the Youth and Government program can help a person “grow, and become the person you want to be.”

“I truly love this program. Obviously, we are teenagers so there is always going to be some issues but the whole experience is so transformative and you never meet a delegate who comes out of the program unsatisfied,” Nagatoshi said. “There’s just something special about being able to talk and interact with people your age with no judgment. I couldn’t see my life without youth and government.”