Being a Good Citizen: In Their Own Words, Challenge Participants Explain What the Term Means to Them | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Being a Good Citizen: In Their Own Words, Challenge Participants Explain What the Term Means to Them 

click to enlarge Grace Heller next to W.F. Herrick's sculpture "Democracy" in Burlington (Activity 50)
  • Grace Heller next to W.F. Herrick's sculpture "Democracy" in Burlington (Activity 50)

What does it mean to be a good citizen? That's one of the questions in the Good Citizen Challenge, a civics project in which Vermont K-12 students can earn points by visiting historic sites, learning about government and engaging in their communities.

According to the kids who've completed the Challenge, good citizens are helpful, kind and dependable. They speak up, pitch in, and inspire others to do the same. Read some of their uplifting responses below.

The deadline to complete the Challenge is October 9, so there's still time to get started. Find a scorecard in the center of this issue, or at goodcitizenvt.com.

Students who complete the Challenge receive a Good Citizen medal, a pocket-sized U.S. Constitution donated by Phoenix Books, as well as an invitation to the Statehouse, where they will meet state officials and be recognized for their work. The first 100 participants to finish will also receive a Good Citizen T-shirt.

Somerset Pierce, 12

click to enlarge Somerset Pierce visiting the Thaddeus Stevens historical marker, on Vermont's African-American Heritage Trail (Activity 9)
  • Somerset Pierce visiting the Thaddeus Stevens historical marker, on Vermont's African-American Heritage Trail (Activity 9)

Being a good citizen is helping your community, and picking up litter. Doing good things around your neighborhood, like holding the door for people. It's also being kind to nature and animals, and planting gardens. And if you ee an animal in distress, then do something about it!

Alan Moody, 12

click to enlarge Alan Moody in front of the monument for Civil War soldiers in Cabot (Activity 11)
  • Alan Moody in front of the monument for Civil War soldiers in Cabot (Activity 11)

Being a good citizen means knowing the history of your country. It means knowing the laws of your country as well as knowing how to contact your government and state officials. It means being up to date on what is happening around you and at the national level in your country and even others.

Hannah Smiley, 11

click to enlarge Hannah Smiley making a donation to the Milton Food Shelf (Activity 60)
  • Hannah Smiley making a donation to the Milton Food Shelf (Activity 60)

To me, being a good citizen means you are doing things for the environment, helping others, being active in the community, and always being kind to everyone. Doing these things doesn't mean you have to do something huge. You can still be a good citizen by doing little things. For example, you could help a senior citizen load their groceries into their car. There is always a way to be a good citizen.

Grace Heller, 14

Being a good citizen means to go the extra mile in my community. And, a good citizen is dependable and can be counted on in times of need. To be a good citizen is to uphold the literal definition of "salt of the earth" because it encompasses key values of a model citizen: trustworthiness, honesty and responsibility. Not only oes a good citizen need to uphold such convictions, but they need to encourage others in their community to be like them. I participated in the Vermont Good Citizen Challenge so I could encourage more young people to take charge of their community and catapult others to success.

These Vermont students have completed the Challenge!

  • Riley Amerio, Salisbury
  • Thomas Bishop, Salisbury
  • Channing Brush, Salisbury
  • Henry Bushey, Charlotte
  • Lila Bushey, Charlotte
  • Kayla Charbonneau, Salisbury
  • Ethan Delorme, Salisbury
  • Owen Flanagan, Salisbury
  • Grace Heller, Moretown
  • Sawyer Kless, Essex Junction
  • Addison Moats, Salisbury
  • Alan Moody, Cabot
  • Emma Morrissey, Salisbury
  • Lachlan Pierce, Montpelier
  • Somerset Pierce, Montpelier
  • Graham Resmer, Winooski
  • Ivy Resmer, Winooski
  • Lada Salida, Stowe
  • Mercedes Sheldrick, Salisbury
  • Hannah Smiley, Milton
  • Lindsey Treat, Manchester Center
  • Holly Whitney, Salisbury

Bonus

Get 30 points for attending "Speaking Youth to Power." Ethan Sonneborn and his teenage political strategists explain how they ran his historic campaign for the 2018 Democratic nomination for governor. Sunday, September 16, from 3-4 p.m. in the Fletcher Room at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Bio:
Deputy publisher Cathy Resmer is an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam. She also oversees Seven Days' parenting publication, Kids VT, and created the Good Citizen Challenge, a youth civics initiative. Resmer began her career at Seven Days as a freelance writer in 2001. Hired as a staff writer in 2005, she became... more

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