Looking for some educational family fun this summer — and a chance to win a free trip to Washington, D.C.? Help the kids in your life take the Good Citizen Challenge, an interactive, nonpartisan civics activity. It recognizes and rewards participants for learning about their communities, keeping up with local news and taking action to help others.
Organized by Seven Days and its parenting publication Kids VT — with help from the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont Community Foundation — the nonpartisan Good Citizen Challenge is open to all K-12 students.
This summer’s challenge is timed to coincide with an exhibit at the Vermont History Museum, opening July 3, that explores the life and work of the first commercial globe-maker in the Americas, James Wilson of Bradford; he made his first globe in 1810. Wilson’s globes helped people in the U.S. understand more about the world and their place in it.
This summer’s Good Citizen Challenge includes 25 activities, such as:
• Visiting the Vermont History Museum (participants and their families get in free)
• Reading an issue of a local community newspaper
• Searching for the deed for a property
• Writing a poem or making a piece of art about Vermont’s state motto: Freedom and Unity
• Listening to a podcast from Vermont Public Radio
• Using Front Porch Forum to organize a donation drive for a charity
• Having a respectful conversation with someone who has opposing views
Participants must complete at least five activities in a row on the bingo-like challenge scorecard, then upload a photo of the completed scorecard, along with contact information and evidence of their work, to goodcitizenvt.com. All who finish five activities in a row will receive a Good Citizen sticker and patch, a pocket constitution donated by Phoenix Books, and an invitation to a VIP reception at the Vermont State House in Montpelier this fall. They will also be entered into a drawing for a free trip to Washington, D.C. from Milne Travel, a new globe, a gift card to Phoenix Books and other prizes. There is no cost to enter.
A challenge scorecard can be found in the summer issue of Kids VT, which is inserted into the May 18 issue of Seven Days; Kids VT is available all season long at drop off locations in Northwestern Vermont. Participants can also download the scorecard at goodcitizenvt.com, or pick one up at the Vermont History Museum. The deadline to enter is Labor Day, September 5.
Seven Days and Kids VT organized the first Good Citizen Challenge in 2018 to raise awareness of civics education and help bridge the partisan divide; the most recent Challenge took place during the 2020-2021 school year. More than 400 K-12 students from 43 Vermont towns participated.
“We know from surveying past participants that kids who complete the Good Citizen Challenge learn new things about Vermont history, feel more connected to their communities and are more aware of local news,” said Good Citizen Challenge creator Cathy Resmer, deputy publisher of Seven Days and editor of Kids VT. “Helping your kids take the Good Citizen Challenge is a great way to prompt conversations about what it means to be an informed and responsible citizen. And it gives parents and camp directors ideas for fun day trips or rainy day projects.”
Partners in this summer’s Good Citizen Challenge also include VPR and Vermont PBS, Front Porch Forum and the Vermont State House. Phoenix Books is donating pocket-sized U.S. constitutions as well as gift cards to be used for prizes.
“We’re excited to partner with Seven Days and Kids VT on this Good Citizen Challenge to get everyone out and exploring our wonderful state,” said Amanda Kay Gustin, director of collections and access for the Vermont Historical Society. “Learning history is crucial to understanding the world around you, and we hope to see many participants at the Vermont History Museum this summer.”
Said Scott Finn, CEO of VPR and Vermont PBS: “We’re thrilled to partner with Seven Days on this initiative, which makes civics fun and real for young people. It strengthens democracy, in the same way our reporting does.”
“Front Porch Forum is delighted to support the Good Citizen Challenge again in 2022,” said Front Porch Forum’s cofounder and CEO, Michael Wood-Lewis. “Helping neighbors connect and build community is more important than ever. The challenge is a great way to learn about the world, connect with others — and make Vermont a little better along the way. Thank you, Seven Days!”
Find more information and a Challenge scorecard at goodcitizenvt.com.