Daniel Kessler, a 2018 graduate of Ponte Vedra High School, recently served as youth governor for the Florida YMCA Youth in Government State Assembly event in Tallahassee.
The Florida YMCA Youth in Government program offers middle and high school students an opportunity to build leadership skills and learn how the government operates. The State Assembly event, which was held April 11-14 this year, is designed to familiarize students with the organization and roles involved with Florida's governmental process.
Kessler's role as youth governor required the Ponte Vedra High School graduate to hear bills and sign or veto them. Around 850 delegates from around the state congregated for the event and presented legislation to other members of “congress.”
"The most challenging aspect wasn't even at State Assembly, but more so leading up to the event," Kessler said. "I was responsible for leading weekly calls with my other presiding officer and just figuring out the dynamics of how teams in general work and how effort is put into assignments. It was difficult for me at first."
As youth governor, Kessler also led youth relations with the public, press, radio and television; studied parliamentary procedures, the legislative process and the executive branch; presided over cabinet meetings; hosted the Governor's Banquet & Ball and more.
Kessler said the Youth in Government program helped him view civil engagement in a different way. Through his involvement, Kessler learned that local representatives maintain an open line of communication with the public so both sides can solve problems.
"The most important thing I learned was to rise for anything that you think is important," Kessler said. "Once you learn that skill you can truly impact the world around you.”
Additionally, Kessler said the program made him more optimistic about the way government works and where it’s heading.
As for his future, the self-professed “government nerd” will be attending the University of Richmond. The soon-to-be UR Spider is unsure if his interest in the governmental process will lead him to a career in politics or an elected position — but he wants to make an impact in his chosen field.
"I am pretty confident that somehow my job or career will revolve around politics or psychology or economics or law or writing or something of that nature," he said.
For more information on the Florida YMCA Youth in Government program, visit .