Advocacy Game

What happens when you give 11th graders blank poster board, markers, streamers, and a pile of primary resources? Amazing grassroots advocacy campaigns!

Last week a group of high school students participated in the Morven Park Center for Civic Impact’s “Advocacy Game” program.  The students were split into two teams and assigned one of two controversial topic from the Progressive era: immigration reform and pure food.  Using a variety of primary source materials, the students delved into their issue, learning more about the views of the stakeholder’s and the potential impact on the American public.

Next the students deliberated and created a detailed solution to address their particular issue.  The solutions required compromise, finding a way to address the concerns of the various stakeholders and gain broad citizen support.

Finally, the students launched their grassroots campaign relying on the advocacy tools of the Progressive era – protest songs, soapbox speeches and marches.  Our educators, the teachers and all the students then cast their vote for which campaign was the most persuasive.  It was a hard choice as the students were creative and very persuasive orators.  Which team would you have picked?



Did you have a hard time picking a favorite?  So did we!  For the first time in “Advocacy Game” history, we had a tie.  Typically the winning team is interviewed and featured on this blog, but in this case we were thrilled to discuss the program with both teams.  As you will see from their comments below, the students not only had a lot of fun playing “Advocacy Game”, they also deepened their understanding of the importance of being an engaged citizen.

Discussing the program:

  • The key to our campaign was teamwork.
  • The same issues of the Progressive Era still exist today. Nothing’s getting done.
  • We still need advocacy.
  • In reality, issues don’t need to compete. They can go hand-in-hand.


When asked if students today should be advocates and change makers:

  • Yes, it’s important to be informed and understand the issue is when you get involved.
  • If you care enough about something, then yes. WE can use social media instead of public marches.
  • We just need to go out and collaborate.
  • What we did is incredible.
  • Yes, because your issues will only be heard if you do something.
  • You need to look for all perspectives on an issue.


Issues they think young adults should pay attention to and be responsible for addressing:

  • Renewable energy
  • Low voter turnout
  • Youth voice in public policy decisions
  • Decision making at their school


We want to thank these amazing students for an inspiring and educational day! To learn more about “The Advocacy Game” click here, or email us today to sign your class for this fun, immersive, and skill-building program!



Morven Park is a nonprofit that relies on donations from friends like you. All donations directly fund our work in historic preservation, our world-class equestrian center, youth sports, and our unique civics education programming. Your donation is an investment in Morven Park’s future, ensuring that generations to come will enjoy this vital public resource. Please donate today at   

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