The mission of JSA is to educate and prepare high school students to be active participants and effective, ethical leaders in our democratic society. The student-run, student-led Junior State of America empowers a diverse community of passionate young leaders to learn together, think critically, advocate opinions thoughtfully, respect opposing views and promote the common good.
How We Achieve Our Mission
In the student-run, student-led JSA, participants learn how to engage civilly in political discourse. They cultivate democratic leadership skills, challenge one another to think critically, advocate their own opinions, develop respect for opposing views and learn to rise above self-interest to promote the public good. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, JSA is committed to developing a diverse, cross-section of young leaders for a democratic society.
The Junior State of America (JSA) was created by and for young people interested in what happens around them - from politics, to how government works, and contributing to their community. Since its founding in 1934, JSA has served as a place where students build leadership skills, learn civil debate, and strengthen their engagement through volunteering and activism. More than 500,000 students have graduated high school as more active, informed members of their community as a result of their participation in JSA.
What We Do
JSA chapters serve as the center of political awareness at their schools. JSA conventions and summer programs bring thousands of students together to learn from each other.
JSA allows for an exchange of ideas through stimulating student debates, thought talks, problem-solving and a variety of simulations. By participating in these activities, each member gains a more intelligent and informed viewpoint. JSA also provides a wonderful chance to meet and make friends with scores of other bright, involved students who have similar interests.
Students experience the drama and power of politics as well as the challenges and responsibilities of leadership. From our Council of Governors to chapter officers and regional cabinets, JSA provides several opportunities for young people to learn, practice and build their skills in project management, consensus building, and time management. All skills that prepare them for college and beyond.
During the summer, JSA offers pre-college experience through our summer schools and institutes. Our summer schools are hosted on the campuses of Georgetown, Princeton, and Stanford universities. Our Summer Institutes are short, focused programs hosted at the University of California Los Angeles, Princeton and the University of California Davis. JSA also hosts a Diplomat Program at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China. These programs offer a rigorous curriculum that includes advanced courses in government, politics, history and public speaking.
Our speakers’ programs, a highlight of the summer programs, allows students to meet and engage with elected officials, public administrators, members of the media, lobbyists, civic leaders and business executives in lively dialogues about the public policy issues facing this nation.
Who We Serve
What makes JSA unique is its student-run, student-led model. Students organize every aspect of the organization, from the chapter level all the way to state and national administration. Our student leaders, elected by their fellow JSA members, plan and execute conventions, conferences, and political-awareness events.
Chapters collectively form regions and the regions form states. Each state elects a governor, who selects a cabinet of officers who plan, execute and implement three overnight conventions per year.
We believe in lifelong engagement with others to affect positive change. We practice learning by doing, using a student-run and student-led model wherever possible. We support creative problem-solving, communication, delegation, and diplomacy. We embrace challenge, failure, and reflection as opportunities for growth.
We believe everyone should have the skills, resources, and opportunities to make their voices heard and generate impact. We promote informed and constructive engagement through dialogue, debate, collaboration, and public speaking. We encourage service with peers, communities, and government. We offer access to college-level curriculum that teaches critical thinking, research skills, and analyzing and evaluating information.
We believe in being informed, improving ourselves, and playing active and positive roles in community and country. We participate in respectful discourse and use reliable sources accurately. We take ownership of our words, decisions, and their consequences. We live up to our commitments.
Diversity & Inclusion
We believe in active, equitable participation. We support opportunities for all. We negotiate and create a constructive environment for open-minded engagement and growth. Through respectful dialogue, sharing perspectives, and challenging ourselves and each other, we explore differences, foster understanding, and learn collaboratively.