Civic Education, Leadership & Activism
Junior State chapters are school-sponsored extracurricular clubs that typically meet weekly to plan and implement community service projects, voter registration drives, candidate forums, political fairs, and debates. In nearly 500 high schools across the nation, JSA chapters are recognized as the place to go for students who are interested in engaging in their communities.
JSA sponsors over 30 overnight conventions each year (Fall State, Winter Congress, Spring State). These events are debate-oriented and allow students to discuss economic, social, and foreign policy with their peers. An average of 500 students attend each convention. Conventions are held in ten different regions across the country.
JSA students make an impact and a difference in their communities. JSA students often volunteer for campaigns, coordinate voter registration drives, respond to pressing social problems, and organize town halls with elected officials to increase engagement and involvement of their peers. Their experience in JSA gives them the tools to be more involved with social and political issues, affect change through voting and running for office, and demonstrate model citizenship.
Students become leaders through JSA. JSA’s student-run model allows many teens to take up leadership roles at the local, state, and national level. The JSA leadership model enables students to work well with others, manage large groups, and organize and lead events. The student-run aspect is a cornerstone of the JSA experience, imbuing the participants with transferable leadership, management, and communication skills. JSA students emerge from this process with professional skills and competencies that their non-JSA peers will likely not realize until after their college years. It is truly a program created by the students, for the students.
The Junior State of America
JSA was founded in 1934 by Professor E. A. Rogers at the Montezuma Mountain School for Boys. In the 84 years JSA’s mission has been to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students of all backgrounds for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society. Students in our programs are encouraged to cultivate democratic leadership skills, think critically, advocate for their own opinions, develop respect for opposing views, and learn to rise above self-interest to promote the public good.