Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

Youth Programs: Vision 2018

By January, it became clear to our Leagues throughout the state of New York that our country was suffering from pains of political chaos exacerbated by a level of ignorance regarding how government functions and astonishment that changes at all levels require consistent and active participation. Amidst all of this political unrest exists passion and a desire for activism.and youth are anxious to become involved. We needed a vision for 2018, one that would carry on the tenets of our already existing youth programs and one that would create new possibilities at all age levels.

Vision 2018:
That each League participates in a youth program that encourages civic responsibility at any level.

Some steps along the way:
A. Identify persons in each League interested in working with youth
B. Investigate a partnership with other groups, organizations, schools that share vision Partnerships help to maintain enthusiasm, create new ideas and share the work burden
C. Encourage brainstorming! Often the smallest and most “out of the box idea” gleans wonderful results
D. Follow through and share!

In February, with the help of Laura Bierman and Jennifer Wilson and crucial input from Judy Gorenstein, a telephone conference was held with youth chairs and presidents. Jennifer set up a closed Facebook page for local League Presidents and youth chairs who were invited to post and share any project or program involving youth participation in democratic activities. Brainstorming is encouraged and any suggestion to help enhance an idea or to help overcome an obstacle is welcomed.

Topics covered by phone conference:
A. Accessing Face Book Group (League of Women Voters of NYS Youth Leadership)
B. Obstacles Leagues are facing in youth involvement
C. Guidelines for posting and sharing
D. Question

We currently have 14 members. If your League would like to participate please contact Jennifer at jennifer@lwvny.org or myself at bking8213@charter.net. There are many great ideas posted by Leagues. you can also send your ideas to me directly and I will post. At least one League youth program is highlighted each month in the State Board Update. highlighted each month in the State Board Update

Just a few examples of Leagues’ programs involving youth in 2018:

  • Running and Winning
    Citizenship and Political Activism (CAPA) in NYS Symposium with high school students and legislators from state, county, city, town school board
  • Suffolk County Student Day – Students met county legislators, ran mock debate and voted on bill.
    Debate focused on having an armed guard from sheriff’s office in each school. Bill failed
  • LWV Cortland participated in two Deliberative Dialogue’s conducted by Institute for Civic
    Engagement for SUNY Cortland students: (two students have joined their board)
  • o Where have all the voters gone?
    o Mass shootings
  • Partnerships with Girl Scouts involving all levels from Daisies to Scouts to help scouts earn
    Suffrage Patch
  • Training students to run League style non-partisan voter registration drives
  • Women’s History Month (March) poster contest at either the elementary (4th and 5th grade) level or the middle school. The posters hang on the school walls for a month and then prize winners are honored at a televised School Board meeting. It is largely about seeing women as active participants in making history.”

Throughout the state, Leagues are consistently doing a great job registering students!

What lies ahead? At the end of the month, a survey form regarding information pertaining to any sponsored youth program(s) or ideas a local League has publicly sponsored or promoted will be emailed to Leagues president or youth chair.

The purpose of the survey will be to create a bank of ideas and contacts that will further encourage the interactive process of helping youth learn and participate in the democratic process….and also to gather a list of Leagues who would love to show off their successes at the 2019 State Convention in Albany.

We also need to take a look at what the impact of increased activism may have on numbers of first time voters at the polls.

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