Scroll down to find out how you can get involved in the civic and political process both at your school and in your community!
||At Your School
Most schools have many different organizations you can get involved in that are civically based. Check your school for some of the groups listed below and see what is available for you.
Key Club is the oldest student service organization in the United States. Established in California in 1925, and part of the Kiwanis International organization, Key Club members better themselves by working to better their schools and communities.
We The People
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, run by the Center for Civic Education, is an innovative nationally based program designed to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s elementary and secondary students. The program enhances students understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy while also helping them discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights
In Mock Trial students are given case information and must study both prosecution and defense. There are eight official members of a Mock Trial team, and those eight members are separated into two teams of six. Teams compete against other schools and can eventually attend the National Mock Trial Competition if they qualify in May.
Teen Court is meant to give students an opportunity to learn more about court proceedings. First time juvenile offenders are put into this less formal court setting and tried and judged by their peers. Local attorneys train students on how to fulfill roles as defendant, prosecution and jury.
||In Your Community
There numerous organizations based on community and civic involvement. Students can even get their parents involved as leaders!
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
The Boy Scouts came to the United States in 1910, three years after it was founded in London by British Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell. The Boy Scouts is the largest youth organization in the nation, with over 100 million people having been in the program since its inception. The Boy Scouting program offers multiple programs for different age groups: Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts & Boy Scouts for boys ages 7-18.
The Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)
The Girl Scouts came to the United States in 1912, two years after it was founded in England by British Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell. The Girl Scouts offer programs for girls of all ages: Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes & Seniors for girls ages 5-18.
Several co-ed programs are available through the Scouting program as well. Venture Crews offer career targeted programs, giving young people ages 14-20 the chance to see deeper into possible professions. The Sea Scouts is a special division of the Venturing program that focuses on nautical skills: the Girl Scouts also have the Mariner Scouts program for girls only.
Camp Fire USA
Camp Fire started in 1910 as the Camp Fire Girls, and was opened to boys in 1975. Many people still remember the program as Camp Fire Boys & Girls. Camp Fire is designed to teach things like leadership, self-reliance, and environmental awareness while providing a safe, comfortable environment. Camp Fire is available for children and young adults from birth through age 21.
Young Politicians of America (YPA)
YPA is an organization for youth ages 14-22 designed to revive political awareness and interest by establishing non-partisan clubs in high schools and universities. Their Service-Chapter program is designed to combine community service projects and political discussion to understand the importance of government and community.
4-H was founded in 1902 and is heavily focused on teaching young people leadership, citizenship and life skills through hands-on methods. Although heavily associated with agriculture, 4-H is branching out and encouraging its members to explore many different areas including computer science, public speaking and graphic design. 4-H is available for youth ages 5-21.
Spirit of Democracy Mock Election Program
A cornerstone of the SOS's civics programming is the conduction of statewide mock elections, which are held prior to both the primary and general elections. The program targets all middle and high school students from every geographic region throughout the state. Particular emphasis is placed on the state’s 203,002 high school students ages 14-18, whose participation in future elections is most imminent. This year, Kentucky will partner with the National Student/Parent Mock Election and the University of Virginia's Youth Leadership Institute to provide students and educators with the resources necessary to execute innovative and educational mock election programs. Mock Election Day will be held October 30, 2008.
For more information about the 2008 Kentucky Student Mock Election, click here.
The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME)
The National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME) is the nation's oldest, largest and most successful youth voter outreach program. NSPME engages students and their parents in the political process by actively involving them in a full-fledged campaign and national election. In 2004, the last presidential election year, over 4 million students, parents and teachers participated in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 14 countries/territories around the world where Americans have schools. Over 40 million have participated since the project began.
For more information about NSPME, click here.
Youth Leadership Institute
The University of Virginia's Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) creates non-partisan exercises in voting, the legislative process, political campaigns and elections, and other components central to understanding the American democratic system. To date, over one and a half million students have participated in the program through our on-line lesson plans, aligned to each state’s civics and government standards, an internet-based Mock Election, the campaign simulation CD-ROM A More Perfect Union, and our hallmark program for the spring semester, e-Congress, an on-line legislative simulation.
Visit the YLI website for more information.