Civic UP Academy Concludes First Edition of Civic Education and Engagement for 27 Polish Youth

Ambassador Jones closed out the first edition of the Civic UP Academy with remarks to 27 Polish high school students, FLEX alumni and NGO partners, stating “how important it is for young people like those gathered here today to help rejuvenate the close relationship between Poland and the United States and to be active members in their communities going forward.”  The intensive week program included lessons on U.S. civics, leadership, communication and critical thinking as well as training on developing social projects in their hometowns.  Participants commented on how rewarding the week was as it brought together from people from different backgrounds to solve problems with one student commenting how “our differences didn’t divide us but made us stronger as a group.” Follow-on activities in the new school year, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, will include small grants as seed money for projects developed by the students and participants will also be eligible for a mentoring program with senior alumni from the Embassy alumni network across Poland.  Both activities are aimed and helping to further develop the students’ skills in realizing their ideas and connecting our young alumni with people of similar interests and focus.  Based on the success of this first edition of the camp the Embassy and partners are planning a second edition next year.

Civic Up! Academy is a one week camp that offers instruction on U.S. civics and civic engagement for Polish high school students who are already actively engaged in their local communities Organized by the United States Embassy in Poland in cooperation with the Center for Citizenship Education and the Rural Development Foundation, “Civic UP! is a combination of fun and practical learning activities where students from all over Poland learn how to plan and conduct social activities in their local communities as well as learn about the U.S. system of government.

“The week is an adventure for active young people who want to learn more about conscious participation in public life and conducting dialogue with public institutions.  It is also a laboratory of future leaders and social leaders “- says Michał Tragarz, Head of the Social Activity Department at the Center for Citizenship Education.

Young people have the opportunity to improve their skills in team work and group exercises (including strategic and negotiation games) and planning and implementation of social projects. It is also an opportunity to learn about the similarities and differences between social activity in Poland and the USA. The program also includes meetings with American diplomats and a visit to the American School of Warsaw. Participants of Civic UP! Academy also have the opportunity to try typical American pastimes such as baseball, grilling hamburgers and making s’mores (American desserts).

The school is designed for high school students aged 15-18. Those who would like to apply must speak English at a conversational level. Civic UP! is for those who are interested in volunteerism, civic engagement and all forms of social activity – school, local or nationwide. Civic UP! Academy is free. The organizers cover the costs of accommodation and meals.

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