All JSA students know that they can make an impact in the world. Through the Junior State’s programs, young people from diverse backgrounds all gather to make a difference as members of local, national, and global communities. The Junior State of America gives students opportunities to learn leadership skills, to question prominent political leaders and to have their voices heard.
JSA allows students to have political efficacy, even though most of them are unable to vote. At JSA conventions and at Junior Statesmen Summer Schools, students hear from current political leaders. Students were intrigued to hear from Sen. John McCain just six months after his failed bid for the presidency and are often complimented by such politicians for being the smartest group of students in the country. At JSA Congress in Washington, DC, students visit Capitol Hill and many meet with their Senators and Representatives. Students met with Rep. Henry Waxman to advocate a platform they devised and rallied in Washington State for better education policies. Through the opportunities the Junior State delivers, students are able to effect change in government by encouraging politicians to support youth-backed issues.
Combining real-life experiences and mock forums to debate, legislate and advocate, JSA encourages students to understand and respect diametric viewpoints and aids students as they develop leadership skills. Congressional Workshop and Convention debates challenge students to speak on many issues and understand complex arguments and fallacies. In perfecting their communication skills, students become better leaders. Any student can learn to be a great leader through JSA. The student-run nature of JSA programs allows many students to lead different departments in each state and teaches students skills that many adults have not learned. Students learn how to work well with others, how to manage large cabinets, and how to help run low cost conventions.
The leadership skills attained and the opportunities JSA provides for students to learn allow students to make an impactful difference in their communities. Whether JSA students choose to advocate a particular position in an election, to run for a political office, or to help those less fortunate than themselves, they will have been given the tools to effect change and to be model citizens.