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Citizenship Exploration Ideas

On March 9th 2012, we hosted a Big think tank to come up with ideas to explore citizenship. We realized every one of us is quite creative. We generated tons of doable and relevant ideas in just under 2 hours.

Here was our challenge on the think tank day.

We needed to walk away from the think tank with lots of ideas for little citizenship projects people could explore. We needed to generate a list of community building initiatives that people we support could go check out and maybe interview people about.

Mini Citizenship projects might…

  • Allow us to capture an exploration of citizenship story from beginning to end.
  • Something that is doable over a 3 month period.
  • Gives opportunities to be curious about what other citizens are up to in order to learn about citizenship.
  • Possible for homes we support in a neighborhood to host a mini project. Like a block party, or explore what it takes to start a community garden…?
  • It promotes exploration of citizenship if people we support are not interested yet in jumping into a more committed citizenship role.
  • We don’t have too many exploration stories of civic engagement/citizenship yet.

Here is the summary
To start a mini citizenship project exploration, you could…

  • You could get people together to work on a mural
  • You could interview elderly about what citizenship means
  • You could interview kids about what citizenship means
  • You could get people together for the Elvis festival and interview Elvis people about community and citizenship
  • You could organize a community fun day
  • You could organize a flower exchange
  • You could organize a community garage sale
  • You could organize a community dog park day
  • You could set up a display or notice board about cool citizenship stories in a neighborhood
  • You could interview George Vanderberg
  • You could have someone we support interview a staff about what they think citizenship is
  • You could interview North Country fair organizers
  • You could organize a citizenship doodle project (details below)
  • You could help people you support to organize a block party to engage neighbors
  • You could interview a community league leader about what they do to engage community members, or maybe ask what is needed in their neighborhood.
  • You could organize a Guerrilla Community Garden (Ben knows a lady who lives next to SKILLS who organizes this)
  • You could help people you support to organize a pay it forward activity in someone’s neighborhood
  • You could host a project where pre
  • stamped postcards get dropped in neighbors mailboxes and asks them to draw or write something that speaks to being an active citizen
  • You could support people you work with to organize a speakers panel of cool engaged citizens
  • You could help organize a way to discover the gifts and talents of neighbors and then help plan an event to showcase those gifts of the community
  • You could organize Yard movie night in the summer with a focus on citizenship movies
  • You could interview a veteran about citizenship
  • You could organize a dog walking club
  • You could organize a community clean up
  • You could have the tea van come out and host a citizenship themed party in a neighborhood
  • You could organize a community scrap booking activity around cool citizens in your neighborhood
  • You could organize a citizenship bake sale
  • You could help organize a petition related to a disability rights issue
  • You could organize a community discussion group about being an active citizenship
  • You could organize a neighborhood home repair working bee
  • You could organize a cultural pot luck with a theme of citizenship in different cultures
  • You could create a neighborhood newsletter about citizenship
  • You could organize a neighborhood photo project where everyone gets instructions to take pictures of good citizenship and then neighbors vote on them
  • You could organize a ‘Secret Pals” neighborhood pay it forward activity (see the mini citizenship project doc that Ben has for specific details)
  • You could help organize a Neighborhood book and magazine exchange
  • You could organize a good citizen pancake breakfast
  • You could organize a citizenship chili cook off
  • You could help support people to organize a social media campaign about what good citizenship is. Using Twitter, Facebook make a blog on Tumblr
  • You could interview anyone from the list of possible people to interview about citizenship
  • You could host a hobbies week in neighborhood where people share their hobbies and tell people what they are about
  • You could organize renting a dump bin and get neighbors together to clean up their neighborhood
  • You could organize putting up a huge roll of paper on someones fence for doodling and writing about citizenship in a nieghborhood
  • You could organize an Edmonton chapter of the “before I die” community building project. Info here
  • You could see what someone you support might like to get involved with at their community league
  • You could, along with people you support lead a citizenship symposium day at a library or other free venue

Above is the summary after we also generated ideas through 5 brainstorm sessions.


1. We had small table conversations about things you’ve seen or heard of in the news, your neighborhood etc… about how people contribute and connect as engaged citizens.

How people connect

2. Using creative thinking processes we generated lists of ways that people have connected and contributed in community and their neighborhoods

Interviews about citizenship

3. Next we wondered, Who are some cool citizens and/or organizations you know of that staff and people we support could go interview to learn about what engaged citizenship is? We listed people , groups and organizations.

Creative linking of ideas

4. We were really getting our minds out of limiting perspectives and coming up with great ideas. So, we took it a step further and tried to connect things that maybe we wouldn’t normally think about connecting. This was a true exercise in creative thinking. And even though this might have felt weird for some because it is unusual, connecting stuff like this is the heart of finding creative ways to connect the gifts of people we support and community.

Summary of mini citizenship project ideas

5. Lastly, before we left the think tank we wanted to have a concise list of mini citizenship project ideas.


The list we generated is at the beginning of this document. Every idea starts with, You could…

If you want to see the full list of ideas for each question we came up with.