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The State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) is a non-partisan policy advising organization comprised of 21 voting members and 3 non-voting members. In 2009 SIYAC became a statutory network within the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ section of the Iowa Code (216A.140.8) under the umbrella of the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development. The council was originally established in 2001 by Governor Tom Vilsack (who currently serves as the United States as the Secretary of Agriculture) as a way for youth to inform legislators and policymakers on youth issues.

SIYAC’s members are young people between the ages of 14 and 20 from across Iowa. The council's youth demonstrate leadership qualities and follow legislation that could impact Iowa’s youth. The youth also meet with policymakers to discuss relevant bills. Youth selected to serve Iowa as a member of SIYAC reflect the positive differences throughout our state and among its young people. The council strives to be representative of all Iowa youth.

The council meets quarterly at the State Capitol building in Des Moines and holds monthly conference calls. New council members are selected in June of each year and council members serve two-year terms. There are no fees for youth to participate in SIYAC.




Serving on SIYAC is an advanced opportunity for youth to meet the civic literacy goals for high school students, relevant to state government, that are outlined in the Iowa Department of Education’s Iowa Core Curriculum. SIYAC members are also actively civically engaged.




Understand the rights and responsibilities of each citizen and demonstrate the value of lifelong civic action.

  • Understand rights, roles, and status of the individual in relation to the general welfare.
  • Understand that constitutional democracy requires the participation of an attentive, knowledgeable, and competent citizenry.
  • Understand personal, political, and economic rights are secured by constitutional government, the rule of law, checks and balances, an independent judiciary, and a vigilant citizenry.
  • Understand ways citizens participate in the political process at local, state, and national levels.
  • Understand the importance of becoming knowledgeable about public affairs.
  • Understand the importance of voluntarism as a characteristic of American society.


Understand how the government established by the Constitution embodies the enduring values and principles of democracy and republicanism.

  • Understand the central ideas of American constitutional government and how this form of government has shaped the character of American society.
  • Understand the role of government in major areas of domestic and foreign policy.


Understand the purpose and function of each of the three branches of government established by the Constitution.

  • Understand the purpose of government and how its powers are acquired, used and justified.
  • Understand the necessity of politics and government.
  • Understand the purposes, organization, and functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and the independent regulatory agencies.


Understand the differences among the complex levels of local, state and national government and their inherent, expressed, and implied powers.

  • Understand the design and features of the Constitution prevent the abuse of power by aggregating power at the national, state, and local levels and using a system of checks and balances.
  • Understand provisions of the Constitution and principles of the constitutional system help to insure a government that will not exceed its limits.
  • Understand the limits the United States Constitution places on the powers of the states and on the powers of the national government over state governments.
  • Understand the policies of state and local governments provide citizens with ways to monitor and influence the actions of members of government and hold them responsible for their actions.


Understand strategies for effective political action that impact local, state, and national governance.

  • Understand participation in civic and political life can help citizens attain individual and public goals.
  • Understand the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs, and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society.


Understand how law and public policy are established at the local, state, and national levels of government.

  • Understand the purposes and functions of law.
  • Understand the processes by which public policy concerning a local, state, or national issue is formed and carried out.
  • Understand issues concerning the relationship between state and local governments and the national government.

Creative Visions

2013-2014 SIYAC Members Visit Creative Visions

on May 26th, 2014 in Des Moines, Iowa


Notable SIYAC Accomplishments

  • Hosted "Healthiest State" walks at high schools throughout the state
  • Supported Iowa's Keg Registration law
  • Met with Iowa Dept. of Education Director Glass to discuss education legislation
  • Proposed and promoted a poll worker law along with the Secretary of State which lowered the minimum age of poll workers to 16
  • Supported and promoted the passage of the Healthy Kids Act
  • Partnered with Team Nutrition for the "Youth in Action for a Healthy Iowa" symposiums
  • Supported anti-bullying legislation and held community forums promoting awareness of bullying
  • Partnered with Kids With A Kause (KWAKers) in developing a toolkit for youth led service organizations
  • Supported statewide ban on texting and driving that was passed through the legislature in 2010
  • Advocated for the passage of the Student Athlete Health Bill to help prevent brain injuries and concussion




Agendas & Minutes



Accepting new applications each spring, March through May

SIYAC Application

For more information contact SIYAC's Coordinator, Betsy Penisten