The United States Senate Youth Program began in 1962 when Senate Resolution 324was introduced by Assistant Senate Minority Leader Tom Kuchel (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT), Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Hubert Humphrey (D-MN). The impetus was to create a program for high school students that would “increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.” The Hearst Foundations, under the leadership of William Randolph Hearst’s sons George R. Hearst and Randolph A. Hearst pledged to support the funding and administration of the program as long as the Senate would sponsor it. The Senate passed S. Res. 324 on May 17, 1962 and has continued its sponsorship of the USSYP by unanimous action each year through the Senate Rules Committee.
Every year more than 75 senators participate in the program through serving on the annual Advisory Committee, attending the USSYP Annual Senate Reception where all student delegates have an opportunity to meet their senators, and through more extensive keynote speaking engagements that take place throughout Washington Week.