Earlier this month, I attended a civics and leadership camp run by the non-profit organization, Youth Policy Initiative. The five-day camp was hosted at a local high school and aimed to teach middle schoolers about local/national issues, how the government works, and how citizens might influence policy.
Students were sorted into small groups and assigned a topic. My group's topic was public education. With the help of some high school student teachers, we did some research and learned a fair amount about public education, how it is funded, and the issues it faces nationally. This information would later be put to use as we explained our topic to other groups, discussed the issues on a field trip with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and wrote bills to pass through a US Senate simulation.
Another goal set by the camp's founder was to improve students' public speaking skills and help them become the leaders their communities need. Being somebody who is extremely shy and does not like talking to strangers, this was the perfect experience for me. It was uncomfortable, challenging, and exactly what I needed.
I was very inspired by the experience, especially learning that the Youth Policy Initiative and Youth Policy Camp were actually started by a high school student. I hope to emulate his drive and passion for making the greater community a better place. Some of the high school teaching assistants were inspiring, too. One of them is an intern for Katy Tang, our local supervisor! Maybe someday, thanks to the learning experience the Youth Policy Camp provided, one of the participants will run for Mayor, Governor, Congress, or even President!
Side note: I have enclosed some of the videos we watched to help us learn about public education: