I think the pure creativity of children is worth harnessing. They see the world in a more simplistic way and can craft solutions based on that viewpoint. Sometimes those solutions are quite good.
The North Dakota League of Cities (NDLC) hosts a fun little essay contest each year called: “If I Were Mayor for a Day.” The contest is geared toward 3rd grade students (via their teachers). The kids are asked to respond to two questions in their handwritten essay: 1) Why is your community great – what makes it special?; and, 2) What would you do to improve your city if you were mayor for a day? I love the idea of seeing a community from a 3rd grader’s level. I bet they come up with some fascinating suggestions for improvements.
The entries for this contest must be postmarked by March 12th. That means all the 3rd grade teachers (in North Dakota) only have about ten days left to get their students involved. The information letter and contest form are located here.
What a great civics lesson for kids! This contest is a great opportunity for kids to learn that their ideas matter. Exercises like this help to develop the good citizens we want in our community – even though they are only in 3rd grade today.
The winner of the essay contest will win a cash prize and have his or her article published in NDLC’s June edition of its CITYScan magazine. That is a big deal for a 3rd grader. I do wonder if the kids who win this contest go on to actually become community leaders. How big an imprint do you suppose it leaves with them? It would be interesting to know, but I surmise no one is religiously tracking that data. There is one thing I know for sure, some of the 3rd graders of today will be leading communities in a few decades. I think now is as good a time as ever to start them thinking about what improvements they would like to make.
Day one thousand three hundred and thirty-four of the new forty – obla di obla da