BGCA’s Erica Warren and Katie Anderson are tag-teaming this week with ideas for youth of all ages to learn more about being a good citizen.
March 6-10, 2023, marks Civic Learning Week, which highlights “the importance of civic education in sustaining and strengthening constitutional democracy in the United States.” This week presents an opportunity to engage youth and teens in service learning and other ways to make their voices heard in their communities.
In honor of National Civic Learning Week, here are EIGHT ideas to teach civic leadership with youth and teens!
1. Organize a Club Beautification Project
This can be as simple as cleaning out a supply closet or weeding an existing flower bed or garden, or it can be as complex as planting a Club Garden. These projects are a great way to incorporate a sense of agency and ownership over their community and to spark conversations about civic leadership. You can leverage the resources in SMART Girls in Action or the Youth Service Guides for ages 10-12 and ages 6-9 to get you started.
2. Five Days of Civic Leadership
We all want to build in ways to recognize youth and teens. This week, recognize a youth or teen member each day for their civic leadership. Post their photo on a bulletin board along with a description of what they do to model civic leadership. This will help reinforce social-emotional development and is a great way to recognize youth in the Club. Give youth a boost in becoming change agents with the Change Agent activities on MyFuture.
3. Thank a Member of the Community
Civic learning includes understanding and recognizing the contributions of people in the community. Many people contribute to creating a community that is safe and fun. Have youth write thank you letters to members of their community who make a difference. Allow youth to share why they chose this person and how this person models civic leadership.
4. Interview a Staff Member
Youth across the Movement see the work Club professionals do and are inspired to pursue careers in youth development. This is a great week to talk to allow youth to interview you about your career in youth development and how it ties to your own sense of civic leadership.
5. Fairy Tale Trials
Pick a book like Peter Pan, The Three Little Pigs, or something else. Read the book together and then have youth conduct a trial to determine the guilty party (i.e.: the wolf vs. the pigs, Pan vs. Hook, etc.). Activities like this help youth understand aspects of how the judicial system works and are a great way incorporate reading and public speaking into an a fun activity.
6. Use Games to Make Learning Fun
iCivics games were a HIT every time with Sarah’s middle schoolers, and they just keep adding great content to the site, including games and lesson plans. And better yet, they are the host of Civic Learning Week! Learn more in this ClubX Blog post.
7. Create a Social Media Campaign
This generation of youth are some of the most civically engaged ever. Organize some time for youth to talk about an issue they care about and to plan out a social media campaign to raise awareness about that issue. This helps youth practice planning and execution and public speaking. The Influencer activities on MyFuture help youth think through and plan a social media campaign, and they can use Canva to create designs!
8. Introduce the Power of the Polls with Summer Brain Gain
While it does say “Summer” in the name, you can use Summer Brain Gain activities all year long. The “When You Grow Up To Vote” Module designed for ages 9-11 includes five sessions on citizenship, community, democracy, government and personal agency.
Civic learning helps youth and teens grow the skills they need to participate and lead in society, business, and government. National Civic Learning Week is a great time to spark some conversations and ignite youth interest in making a difference in their community.
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