Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Citizens League Action Groups Kick-Off 2010-2011!

Are you an emerging leader looking for a volunteer opportunity that goes beyond a service role? The Action Groups are self-led groups of young members who will organize to advance work in core Citizens League policy areas while receiving support and training from the Citizens League. You need not be a member to sign up. Learn more at the kick-off event; RSVP here. As a participant in the first two iterations of the Action Groups, I wholeheartedly encourage checking them out and perhaps signing on to contribute lots and learn even more!

Thursday, April 15
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Midtown Global Market
920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis
We will meet in the northeast corner of the market, in the space with red curtains

Light dinner will be provided from La Loma Tamales
We will validate up to 3 hours of parking in the 10th Avenue ramp just north of Lake Street. Please bring your ticket with you.

About the Action Groups Program
The Citizens League started the Action Groups project a few years ago in response to demand from young members for more substantial engagement opportunities. Many had experience volunteering in service roles, but they told us they wanted to take on more responsibility.

The 2010-2011 Action Groups will be self-led groups of young members organized to advance Citizens League policy work while receiving support and civic leadership training from the Citizens League. Potential areas for policy focus include:
  • Education
  • Health and Medical Care
  • Long Term Care
  • Pathways to Prosperity
  • Transportation
  • Water
The goal of the Action Groups project is to give young people opportunities to build their civic leadership and active citizenship skills and their networks while advancing important policy work.

This goal is both for the participants as individuals and for the Citizens League as an organization: to build civic capacity in Minnesota, and to engage young people who go on to take leadership roles in the Citizens League and the other organizations in which they are involved.

Tasks for the Group
The first step for any group is to identify the skills, interests, experience, and knowledge that members bring.

Each group will create and carry out a project in the policy area it focuses on. This can be a project that advances the Citizens League’s recommendations on the topic or a policy question that the group will address. Agreeing on a project is generally an Action Group’s most difficult task.

Once the group has determined what it will work on, it can develop and carry out its work plan. To do the project, groups may decide to partner with other organizations, to do some fundraising on their own, to contact the media, etc.

At any point, groups may want to reach out to other individuals within or outside the Citizens League for input or collaboration.

Resources and Support
The Citizens League will support the Action Groups with:
  • Trainings on skills and practices relevant to the projects.
  • A connection to a group “mentor:” a member who has been through the action groups process before, and who can help the group overcome some familiar challenges.
  • Connections with subject matter resources, experienced Citizens League members who can share skills such as public speaking, identifying and working with power and resources, media relations, etc.
  • Funding: Thanks to a grant from the Comcast Foundation, each group will receive some funding to carry out their project.
  • Membership: Action Groups participants receive a one-year membership to the Citizens League.
Groups’ conveners will meet regularly with each other and Citizens League staff to check in on the projects and share questions and advice. Groups may also want to connect with other Citizens League staff or members working directly on the policy topic they are addressing.

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