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Washington County Youth Leadership Challenge

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What would happen if… Students, teachers, and communities in Washington County worked together to co-design a vibrant future for their region?


Imagine students exploring and proposing solutions to important issues that matter to their community, with the guidance of teachers and other community partners.  Through real-world opportunities students learn to participate in the civic life of their community and develop leadership skills. 


Regional Youth Leadership Challenge

The capstone of the WCYLC is a year-long collaborative project that brings together students and teachers from multiple schools as well as individuals and organizations from across various communities and industries.  In this project, community partners- from town councils to nonprofits to businesses and more- will pose challenges to middle and high school teams of students and teachers centered around relevant civic issues facing the region.  The school teams will spend the year working with community partners to understand the issue, present possible solutions to decision makers, and work to implement the solution.


K-12 Civics Curriculum & Experiences

Civics is a theme, not a content area, and can be taught at any grade level.  In order to support any teacher, team, or school interested in providing students with experiential learning opportunities in civic engagement, a series of curricular resources will be developed, such as “Town Meeting 101” or “Connecting Mock Elections to the Curriculum.”  Additionally, resources to help teachers plan and connect experiential civics learning opportunities to the curriculum- such as field trips to the State House- will be developed and shared.


Civics Education for Fisheries Management

The need to provide civic education in the processes and skills of fisheries management was made clear through work in a previous collaborative model, the Eastern Maine Skippers Program.  Since the development of EMSP, the regulatory pressure on Maine fisheries has only increased.  Partnering with existing efforts in coastal communities and/or developing new programming to amplify those efforts will expand opportunities for civic education for Washington County students working or interested in commercial fisheries.


Development of a Maine Civics Network

The central purpose of the Maine Civics Network is to engage educators and students in civics learning that demonstrably affects the knowledge, skills, and participation in vital public matters of Maine youth.  Partnerships with state and local government officials, civic organizations, and community leaders enrich the learning opportunities provided by the MCN.  At the core of the MCN is a user-designed learning collaborative that brings together educators to build a statewide “web” of peer support and access to information and successful practices from those deeply engaging civic learners on the ground.

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Draft Goals & Outcomes

Goal #1: Use locally relevant issues to develop the knowledge and skills to live & work in Maine communities now & in the future.


Students are engaged community members who identify challenges and apply civic skills to resolve issues within their communities.

Teachers & Schools

Expanded and sustainably resourced civic learning opportunities across grade levels and content areas which help students connect their sense of self and belonging to their aspirations and communities.

Families & Communities

Communities make space and time- both literally and figuratively- in civic settings for youth contributions to discussions about the sustainability and vitality of their communities, and deepen their understanding of how to involve youth in the civic life of their community.

Goal #2: Foster rural youth aspirations through a culture of connection between students, schools, and communities.


Students will see themselves as active citizens in their schools and communities as well as members of a cohort of youth who provide service to Maine communities now and in the future.

Teachers & Schools

Teachers will be supported, inspired, and valued through collaboration with youth, each other, and with the broader community.

Families & Communities

The civic life of rural communities is made richer from increased civic engagement by youth and adults through activities such as voting, collaborative project planning and implementation, participation in local government meetings, running for elected positions, serving on municipal boards and committees, and the opportunity to learn together about how to strengthen the civic fabric of the community.

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