29th Annual Sophomore Pilgrimage - April 9, 2013
High school sophomores from across the state of Nebraska, along with their local women's club sponsors, had a wonderful day at the Capitol meeting with government officials, sitting in on a legislative hearing session, having lunch at the Governor's Residence, and visiting the Supreme Court Chambers.
Sophomore Pilgrimage History
On the north entrance on the Nebraska State Capitol are the words "The Salvation of the State is the Watchfulness of the Citizen". The GFWC Nebraska Federation of Women's Clubs, a volunteer service organization, started Sophomore Pilgrimage in April, 1984. The purpose of the program is to create interest and educate the students about Nebraska Government. It provides an opportunity for them to meet and hear their elected government officials. Each student is sponsored by a local woman's club and is encouraged to report to his/her respective school and sponsoring club following the day's program. This program has received national recognition.
The GFWC Public Issues Community Service Program is designed to actively connect members with effective projects and activities relating to civic engagement. This program focuses on the following areas:
• Educate club members and local communities on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
• Use resources, including GFWC Resolutions, to increase patriotism, pride in heritage, and active community involvement.
• Encourage active involvement in issues that affect the world around you.
• Educate club members and local communities on needs of military families.
• Advocate for legislation that supports active and veteran military personnel and their families.
• Support military personnel and veterans returning to community living.
• Educate club members and local communities on disaster readiness, recovery, and relief.
• Work with law enforcement agencies and first responders to increase public awareness.
• Develop community programs and coalitions to address disaster recovery and relief.
• Educate club members and local communities on home, road, and Internet safety.
• Provide programs, tools, and training.
• Create safer homes and communities through awareness.
Program ideas are endless. Consider projects that address issues such as running for office; voter registration; elections; democracy; disaster preparedness; road safety; and supporting our military personnel. Below is a comprehensive list of ideas on how clubs may support the Public Issues Community Service Program. We have partnered with like-minded organizations that promote civic engagement. Refer to the Partnership section beginning on page 2 for activities designed especially for GFWC clubs.
• Celebrate patriotism.
• Visit, volunteer, and help preserve historic sites, monuments, and homes.
• Promote classroom lessons on American heritage symbols.
• Take an active role in the election process. Encourage schools to engage future voters with innovative programs on elections.
• Encourage qualified women to seek elected or appointed office.
• Participate in the legislative process.
• Help someone study for the U.S. Citizenship Test. Visit www.USCitizenship.org.
• Create and support ways to observe the National Day of Remembrance and Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day each year.
• Hold a National Issues Forum.
• Promote legislation in support of veterans’ issues.
• Conduct programs and projects to recognize and honor all veterans.
• Seek volunteer opportunities at community veteran facilities.
• Provide resources to support military families.
• Assist and advocate for severely wounded, ill or injured soldiers, veterans and their families.
• Promote the hiring of returning veterans.
• Invite returning men and women who are serving overseas to speak at club meetings and community forums. Recognize their dedication and patriotism with a small token of appreciation.
• Partner with local health organizations to sponsor First Aid and CPR classes and programs.
• Educate communities on the need for emergency provisions.
• Build a kit for disaster preparedness.
• Learn about opportunities to get involved and expand resources for first responders.
• Provide in-kind and financial assistance to disaster victims. Consider supporting the GFWC Disaster ReliefLibrary Refurbishment Fund.
• Work with local fire departments to provide fire safety awareness. Establish an awareness campaign to remind community members to change batteries in smoke detectors when clocks change back between standard and daylight savings time.
• Sponsor community programs on home fire drills, safe storage of combustibles, and special safety concerns for children and older adults.
• Get involved with local National Night Out events. Register, at no charge, and receive the NNO resource kit.
• Work with local law enforcement officials, neighborhood coalitions, and civic groups on crime prevention programs.
• Promote vehicle safety. Work with local officials and schools to encourage driver training and safe driving seminars for young and mature drivers.
Source: The 2012-2014 GFWC Club Manual