Winter Congress


With a nation in crisis, young people are tired. From civil and racial unrest, a global pandemic, and constant political dysfunction, young people are severely impacted by the recent events of the past year.  

At JSA, our students’ political X-ray vision is their superpower. They see the internal cracks in a fractured system they know they will soon represent. They see developing hatred thriving in our society that refuses to condemn it on a larger scale. They see it all and they know it will be up to them to create change.

A youthful, critical, and creative eye is invaluable to a nation in need of healing. That is why the Winter Congress theme, “Healing a Nation,” is more important than ever. 

“Healing a Nation” does not mean practicing compromise or complacency as the path of least resistance. Instead, it pushes JSA’s motto, “Be the People,” to a new degree of urgency. 

It means that in ten or twenty years, when society is in their hands, it will be young people’s turn to change the narrative of the blatant bigotry, racism, and xenophobia infecting our nation. 

(written by Chase M., JSA Mid-Atlantic State Chief of Staff)


JSA’s Winter Congress 2021 will simulate Congress so students can learn how bills are made and passed. During this convention, participants attend committee meetings, offer amendments, and watch the markup process on proposed legislation. Hone your public speaking skills as a sponsor for a bill and negotiate to gain supporters for your issue in the House and Senate sessions.

Students will design three digital conventions to entice young people to use their voices to tackle some of the most pervasive issues facing our nation. If you are interested in learning more about legislation and bill writing as a mechanism for making change, Winter Congress has always been the place for you. In addition to bill writing, this year participants will explore other avenues for making change, including service, community building, and equity.

In the legislative branch of the United States government, the debates that matter most are those on the floors of the House and Senate. Bills cover topics that the nation faces actively, like gun control, immigration, healthcare, and many more issues -- all written and decided by you.

 Join your fellow delegates for Winter Congress, and take on the job of legislating the toughest issues facing our country.

Winter Congress 2021 is from February 26th - February 28th 


Keynote Speaker:

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams is the New York Times bestselling author of Our Time is Now and Lead from the Outside, an entrepreneur, and political leader. After serving as Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, Abrams became the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia. Over the course of her career, she has founded multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues. Dedicated to civic engagement, her most recent endeavors include: launching Fair Fight to ensure every American has a voice in our election system,Fair Count to ensure accuracy in the Census and greater participation in civic engagement, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, a public policy initiative to broaden economic power and build equity in the South.

She serves on the Board of Advisors for Climate Power 2020, the Center for American Progress, and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Abrams received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, she and her five siblings grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi and were raised in Georgia.

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Pricing & Financial Assistance

  • Regular Convention Fee: $65
  • After Financial Aid Scholarship: $25 (Deadline to apply is 2/19)


Students who receive or are eligible to receive free or reduced lunch will automatically be granted a $40 scholarship. Scholarships are available on a need basis.  
Students from households that receive or are eligible to receive any other financial assistance provided by a local, state, or federal agency (i.e., tuition assistance, FAFSA, SNAP, SSDI, etc.) will automatically be granted a $40 scholarship. 
Students can request financial assistance if any other circumstances impact their family's ability to pay for JSA programming (i.e., the financial impact of COVID). A JSA Staff member will review these requests, and a response can be expected within 7 days.



4:00-4:30pm Opening Session

4:30-5:30pm Speaker

5:30-6:30pm Moderator Training/Intro to JSA/Activism Activity


10:10am-10:30am Party Rallies

10:30am-11:00am Committee Time

11:00am-12:00pm Lunch

12:00pm-1:00pm Committee Time

1:00pm-2:00pm Activism Block

2:00pm-5:00pm Committee Time

5:30pm-6:00pm Regional Meetings

6:30pm Nighttime Activities


9:00am-9:15am Opening

9:15am-10:45am Full Senate/House

11:00am-11:45am Lunch

11:45am-12:50pm Full Senate/House

12:50pm-1:00pm Break

1:00pm-2:00pm Candidate Declarations

2:00pm-3:00pm Closing Session


JSA’s ten states will be paired into three different groups varying in different regions. Participating students will have the opportunity to interact not only with students from their own region but from other students across the country, making this year’s Winter Congress the most diverse JSA experience ever.


  • Southern California: 
    • (Orange County, Greater Los Angeles County, San Diego, and Las Vegas)
  • Ohio River Valley: 
    • (Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and any chapters of Southeastern Indiana)
  • Midwest: 
    • (Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri)


  • Northeast: 
    • (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine)
  • Northern California: 
    • (Northern border of California to San Luis Obispo County, North of Clark County in Nevada, and Utah)
  • Southeast: 
    • (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia)
  • Arizona: 
    • (Arizona and New Mexico)


  • Pacific Northwest: 
    • (Washington State, Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana)
  • Texas: 
    • (Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana)
  • Mid-Atlantic: 
    • (North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, New Jersey, Deleware, Pennsylvania)