JSA members gain valuable public speaking, critical thinking and leadership skills. Through chapter debates, thought talks and other activities, students develop their public speaking skills in an non-competitive environment. The emphasis for the students is on communicating their own opinions, persuading their peers and learning by listening to the opinions and thoughts from others. These valuable skills are necessary to help today’s students become leaders for tomorrow who will raise the level of politcal discourse.
Because JSA is a student-run organization, the students who run the chapter will be developing their leadership skills. Organization building, communication, public relations and relationship building are just some of the skills sets that successful chapter leaders aquire. Additionally, students who get involved in the Junior State’s broader state and regional leadership have the opportunity to plan and run major student conventions and network with student leaders from all over the nation.
Even though students take the lead in running the Junior State, the organization relies heavily on the participation and guidance of each chapter’s teacher/advisor. Rather than just a glorified chaperone, JSA depends on its teacher/advisors to ensure the program’s educational value. The most successful chapters have teacher/advisors who help the chapter leaders determine which issues to explore and what activities are best to help bring understanding to those issues. From helping the students to carefully examine all sides of an issue to building strong working relationships with the school’s administration and other faculty members, the teacher/advisor’s active participation is essential for a high quality chapter program.