American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State

Grade Level: Rising high school seniors

Description: Since 1947, ALA Volunteer Girls State has been investing in the young women of Tennessee by providing the tools they need to become confident, informed citizens and voters. A program of the American Legion Auxiliary, VGS is a non-partisan, week-long leadership experience centered on citizenship, teamwork, and fostering a love of God and country, and it is offered annually to more than 550 rising high school seniors from across Tennessee. By building their own mock government, electing city, county, and state officials, engaging in party politics, debating legislation, and working together in a host of fun team activities, participants learn the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship and how they can positively affect their communities at home and throughout their lives.


American Legion Boys State

Grade Level: Rising high school seniors

Description: At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.  High school juniors are selected by local American Legion Posts to attend the program. In most cases, expenses associated with attending this program are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business or another community-based organization.


American Legion Oratorical Contest

Grade Level: 9-12

Description: The American Legion's National High School Oratorical Scholarship Program - "A Constitutional Speech Contest" aims to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students. Other objectives of the contest include the development of leadership qualities, the ability to think and speak clearly and intelligently, and the preparation for acceptance of the duties and responsibilities, the rights and privileges of American citizenship.


Tennessee 4-H Model Congress

Grade Level: 9-10

Description: This four day mock legislative event provides high school age 4-H members (9th and 10th graders) with the opportunity to learn about the legislative process and the role that elected officials play in the process. While at 4-H Congress, the youth also engage in public speaking activities, leadership development and conduct a service project. 


Tennessee Career Technical Student Organizations

Grade Level: 5-12 and college

Description: The Tennessee Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) strive to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premiere leadership, personal growth, and career success through career and technical education. Tennessee CTSOs are comprised of seven non-profit organizations, specifically authorized by the U.S. Congress in the Perkins Act. CTSOs align with the 16 career clusters and 79 Career Pathways recognized by CTE. To promote citizenship, Tennessee CTSO members have multiple opportunities to learn about and engage in advocacy. Our premier event, Youth Citizenship and Government Conference, brings the state officers from each of the Tennessee CTSOs to Nashville for advocacy training which includes a legislative breakfast celebrating CTE month. The officers make appointments with legislators as part of their civic engagement. Several of the CTSOs host leadership conferences in Washington D.C. that all members have an opportunity to attend, and receive advocacy training which culminates in congressional visits.


Tennessee History Day

Grade Level: 6-12

Description: Tennessee History Day is the state affiliate of the National History Day competition. Six preliminary district competitions take place in West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, North Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, Northeast Tennessee, and Southeast Tennessee in February and March culminating with the state level competition in April. State-level winners move on to the National History Day competition in June. History Day is a year-long curriculum enhancement program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics.


Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL)

Grade Level: College (all levels)

Description: The Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature, founded in 1966, is a student-driven organization to promote leadership and civic engagement among college students. The annual General Assembly in November at the State Capitol includes legislative, judicial, lobbying and media programs with about 400 students from more than 40 colleges. Many TISL initiatives have become state law, and TISL alumni serve throughout state government, including constitutional offices, the legislature and the Supreme Court.


YMCA Center for Civic Engagement: Youth in Government

Grade Level: 6-12

Description: The Tennessee YMCA Youth in Government Program (YIG) is a four-day experiential learning conference in which students participate directly in a simulation of the State of Tennessee’s democratic process. Students from across the state converge on the State Capitol, taking the places of our real government officials. Participating students can serve as Representatives, Senators, Governor’s Cabinet members, Supreme Court Lawyers, Lobbyists, or Press Corps members. All leadership positions are held and elected by participating students.


YMCA Center for Civic Engagement: ModelUN​

Grade Level: 6-12

Description: The Tennessee YMCA Model United Nations Conference (MUN) is a three-day experiential learning conference in which students participate directly in simulated international diplomacy. Students serve as ambassadors by emulating the culture and representing UN member countries from around the world. Participating students can serve as UN Member Countries, Security Council members, Secretariat members, lawyers in the International Court of Justice, or press corps members. All leadership positions are held and elected by participating students.