ATLANTA – June 7, 2012 – According to the latest statistics, only 22 percent of young people has a working knowledge of civics, but Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the Close Up Foundation are tackling this problem head on. More than 700 military connected youth and their mentors will convene in Washington the week of June 24-27 to take a deep dive into all things civic.
This unique and innovative program will bring together Boys & Girls Club members and their mentors from 41 BGCA military-affiliated youth programs and organizations on or near military installations across the country to Washington D.C. to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to become active and engaged citizens. The program will also allow youth to share and honor the service and sacrifice their families make on behalf of the nation.
”For forty years Close Up has been teaching young people how to be active citizens and we are pleased to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for children of military families,” said Timothy S. Davis, president and CEO of Close Up. “More than most, these young people know that protecting a democratic way of life requires sacrifice and this program will give them the opportunity to learn more about public policy and active citizenship.”
Participants will learn and practice the habits of active, effective citizenship, with an emphasis on how to articulate their own viewpoints and listen respectfully to those of others. The three-day inaugural effort will also include discussions of policy issues important to military families; thematic memorial and monument study visits; issue-based workshops; a comprehensive Capitol Hill series, including preparation and meetings with Members of Congress; legislative simulations; seminars and onsite visits to government agencies, NGOs, embassies; and study visits of neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.
“At Boys & Girls Clubs, character and citizenship are priority areas of development for our youth. Providing character development experiences, like Close Up, enable the youth we serve to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We look forward to the future of this partnership because this civic engagement experience is not only a learning opportunity for Club members, but it also offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to take in the full scope of our nation’s capital.”
As part of the four-day experience in DC, all 700 youth and mentors in attendance will develop Community Action Plans to address issues back home in their communities with a goal of successfully implementing those plans.
"We are honored to have military youth at this year's Youth Leadership Mentoring Camp,” said Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. “Our military youth have faced many challenges in nearly ten years of war, and they have demonstrated their resilience, leadership, and other unique skills time and time again. This year's camp will be instrumental to their continued personal and professional development as 21st century leaders and citizens."
To learn more about the Close Up Foundation visit www.closeup.org. To find a local Boys & Girls Club visit www.greatfutures.org.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at bgca.org/facebook and bgca.org/twitter.
About Close Up Foundation Close Up (www.CloseUp.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizenship education organization whose mission is to inform, inspire, and engage young people for a lifetime of civic participation through Washington-based programs and classroom publications. Since 1971, nearly 750,000 young people and educators from around the country have participated in Close Up programs. Learn more at facebook.com/CloseUpWashingtonDC and twitter.com/CloseUp_DC.
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