Youth Opportunities - Special Student Vote Edition

Saturday April 9, 2011

[UPDATE: If you're looking for more current contests and competitions, head to the Youth Opportunities page.]

Okay, so there's no list of youth competitions and contests this week. This week I want to focus on one initiative I've been reading about which strikes me as one of those simple ideas that could change everything:

What is Student Vote?

"Student Vote is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works with educators and education stakeholders to deliver experiential learning opportunities to help young Canadians understand and practice the responsibilities of their citizenship."

- From

Which translates to thousands of Canadian elementary, middle and secondary school students who are considered too young to vote still getting to cast a ballot in a mock election being held right in their school. Brilliant.

Why Student Vote May Just be the Best Thing Ever

Participating in a Student Vote campaign could give young people another reason to learn about the issues and get them in the habit of voting, which will hopefully stay with them as they become eligible to vote "for real". It could make a whole generation more politically engaged right now, which could spill over to their parents and other adults in their lives. It could foster greater community engagement, restore faith in the power of one vote, make political leaders pay more attention to the ideas of youth...

Have I mentioned yet that I love this idea?

How to Take Part in Student Vote

Of course there are full instructions on the website, but to sum up:

- A teacher who will act as a coordinator for the school (the Student Vote Team Leader) completes the free registration
- They receive resources for the election itself plus activity resources
- It's then up to students and teachers get to engaged with the real election issues
- A Student Vote Day is held the week before the election, with students acting as deputy returning officers and poll clerks
- Votes are tallied and submitted to Student Vote, which will publicly release the results after the official election is complete

Kids and teens who are interested but whose school isn't signed up will need to track down an agreeable teacher and make a case for them taking on a little extra responsibility for the next few weeks, but come on, it's in the name of democracy! You've got to be able to find one you can guilt into saying "yes". :)

Are You Participating in Student Vote?

Have you taken part in Student Vote in the past? Are you signed up this year? I'd love to hear about your experience with the program and see if my arms-length enthusiasm is warranted. Add a comment or contact me if you'd like to write a guest post!

Connect with Student Vote

More on Student Vote and this Election

Previously Highlighted Youth Opportunities (after the jump!)

Every Saturday I post about current youth opportunities that are open to submissions from Ontario residents, which naturally includes a lot of contests and competitions open to youth across Canada and the US. Please note I'm not attesting to the legitimacy or quality of anything listed here - read the fine print carefully and make your own judgement call, especially if a submission fee or creative rights are involved!