The Junior Statesemen Foundation, in short, changes lives. There is no doubt in my mind that our future members of Congress, educators, politicians, and country's leaders will consist of many individuals who have been served by this organization. Students learn to delve into our Nation's most pressing issues, work to promote civic engagement, and inspire those in their community to get involved. I have worked with this organization as both a student leader and as a summer staff member and can say I have never seen any single group of people change the lives and broaden the minds of young people like the Junior Statesmen Foundation.
As a former JSA student leader (Governor of Midwest State), I have seen first hand the powerful impactof the work JSA does. The student leadership approach builds up young people's leadership, civic engagement, and ability to engage in respectful political discourse.
JSA has been in my life for a while now, and it has provided me and countless others with the knowledge, wisdom, and strength to take on local, national, and global issues.
The Junior Statesmen Foundation provides resources and guidance to the greatest high school program in the nation. The Junior Statesmen of America is by far the most fulfilling and rewarding high school experiences that any student could wish for. By facilitating a forum for discussion about political issues in a nonpartisan environment, JSA is able to effectively supply students with the tools they need to become productive members of society. The community that JSA creates is one that is both intellectual and accepting and inspires students to analyze and discuss real-world problems and explore solutions to those problems among a diverse group of students. There's a reason that JSA has been around for so long and has impacted so many lives - the experience that JSA provides to students interested in politics and civil engagement is unprecedented. Some might say that JSA provides training for the leaders of tomorrow; I would say that JSA provides a foundation and a springboard for the leaders of today.
The Junior State of America has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. It has helped me realize my passion for civic awareness, it has made me a more confident speaker, it has given me the opportunity to become a better thinker, listener, statesman, and person, and ultimately, it has brought me closer to so many other passionate leaders. The friendships I've made and the perspectives I've been opened to are in part because of the life-changing experiences JSA conventions offer. From thought-provoking debates, to activism initiatives, to the opportunity to meet other junior statesmen from hundreds of miles away, JSA shapes high school students into the leaders of tomorrow. I know I speak for thousands of other students when I say there is no other organization quite like it. JSA is a lifestyle: of respectful, informed discourse, and a commitment to Be the People.
I joined this organization initially to simply have fun with friends and meet people from all around my region, but after a few short weeks I came to realize the Junior Statesmen Foundation does far more than provide an opportunity for extracurriculars for high school students; it encourages personal growth, intrinsic motivation, and above all a passion for getting engaged with the community and with the nation.
The program is full of amazingly intelligent students who take advantage of every opportunity offered to them. The strength of the JSF speaker program is equally outstanding!
JSA is more than just your average high school debate club. The life-long friendships, professional experiences, and heightened appreciation for our democratic process you find in JSA all not only prepare you to "be the people", but also for life. As a first-generation college student, the research skills, argumentative abilities, and knowledge of current events that I gained from JSA conferences and summer school sessions proved very useful when adjusting to the rigor of college life. I also remember the days before high school when I was apathetic toward politics, but JSA helped me find my voice and that has made all the difference in life, whether I'm preparing for that next internship interview or giving a project presentation.
I came into the Junior State of America my junior year as a very apthetic, heedless, and cynical student. I was cynical towards the government in general; I held the common notion that politcians are full of lies and the average American's voice does not matter. Right after my first convention, however, I knew that I was terribly wrong. I grew aware of the many different ways anyone can engage in the political process and how our voices truly do matter. I am now leaving the Junior State of America as I am graduating this year, but I am taking the values, passion, and knowledge it has embedded within me. Thank you JSA.
After working with the Junior State of America, I have developed a work ethic, sense of integrity and set of professional communication skills that has carried far incredibly far within my undergraduate career, and I am confident will serve me for life. The Junior State is an organization unlike any other that gives high school kids opportunities and responsibilities that many will not see until they reach mid-level positions, and certainly not until long after college. The Junior State challenges students to grow personally and professionally, while building practical skills and robust character.
The Junior State of America has allowed me to develop as a thinker, a speaker, a leader and a friend. As the largest student run organization in the country, JSA does not teach leadership, but rather provides a tangible leadership experience. With this incredible autonomy, we learn from our own mistakes and the guidance of our peers. While allowing students to find their voice and express their opinions, JSA teaches us to critique ideas, not the people who generate them. Unlike most teenage groups, we exemplify the integral American value of “innocent until proven guilty”. Each student is welcomed into a community of open minds and hearts where everyone is valued and respected. By instilling this confidence in its members, JSA prepares its members to “be the people” who actively engage in our society.