National Citizenship Tour


2018 Urban Squash National Citizenship Tour

The Citizenship Tour wants to come to your city!

Each July since 2014, NUSEA has organized the Urban Squash Citizenship Tour, which brings together 22 high school and college students from our 19 member programs for an inspiring 8-day journey from New York to Washington, DC. The Citizenship Tour encourages students across the country to be civically engaged, to become informed citizens and to make an impact in the issues shaping our country today. Throughout the Tour, students meet with and learn from prominent leaders in government, education, journalism, politics, and public service. Past speakers have included Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Representative John Lewis, Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, NBC News Anchor Lester Holt, New York Times Columnist David Brooks, two Governors, and six U.S. Senators.

National Citizenship Tour
In 2018, NUSEA will partner with our member programs to expand the reach and breadth of the Citizenship Tour to engage hundreds of young people across the country. We will work together to help programs organize meetings and create meaningful itineraries for their students to share in the Citizenship Tour experience. In the process, we will shine an even brighter and bigger light on the importance of giving back to our communities and on the valuable work that is being done in the urban squash movement. To see photos from past Citizenship Tours, click here

Dates for National Citizenship Tour
July 9 – 20, 2018

How it works
At the most basic level, signing up for the National Citizenship Tour means that your program agrees to organize at least 5 meetings with important leaders in your community during the second and third week of July for a group of your students. Optional additional components may include visits to various sites of local historical and civic importance. 

At the end of the NCT, students of the program will work together to complete a citizenship project of their choosing that ties into the lessons learned during their experience on the Tour. Potential projects may involve facilitating student voting registration, writing letters to lawmakers, or organizing a community event at their member program.

How NUSEA will work with your program

  • Monthly conference calls – Beginning in December, NUSEA will host monthly 45 minute calls on Tour planning. The calls will be informational in guiding NCT efforts and also serve as a forum for idea-sharing among other staff members.
  • Ready-made materials NUSEA will share resources to assist in NCT planning. Materials will include outreach e-mail templates, overview PDFs, press releases, student preparation readings, and more.
  • Introductions to contacts –  Whenever possible, NUSEA will connect contacts in our national network to member programs to assist with arranging meetings with high-profile individuals
  • Support – We will be available outside of monthly calls to be an open soundboard for guidance and tips along the way!

Member Program Benefits
The Citizenship Tour shines a light on the importance of service and community engagement and gives our students the opportunity to meet with extraordinary people who have made a difference through their work. Through the experience, students develop the tools to think critically about national issues and the ways they can create ripples of change in their community and beyond.

Participation in the Tour also gives programs the opportunity to bring added exposure to their program. The NUSEA Citizenship Tour has been profiled in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and US Squash Magazine, and there are promising ways to engage local news outlets during the week of NCT to cover your member program.

Requirements and Expectations for Participation
To participate in the National Citizenship Tour, member programs agree to:

  • Designate one staff member from your program as the lead point person
  • Engage your executive director to work collaboratively with the staff point person to organize impactful meetings
  • Participate in NUSEA-led monthly conference calls on NCT planning
  • Prepare students for meetings in advance of NCT (ie. readings, workshops, discussion groups, etc)
  • Share the exciting updates of your NCT events via social media (we will have a national hashtag!)
  • Facilitate the completion of a citizenship project for students involved

National Citizenship Tour Contest
To make this new initiative more fun and to introduce some friendly competition into the mix, NUSEA will be making grants – $2,500 to the winner and $1,000 to the finalist – to the programs that organize the most dynamic and thoughtful local tours. To ensure independence, we will have a committee of three individuals selected from around the country to judge. More information will be released in January on the contest rubric.

Monthly Call Outline
Each month, NUSEA will host conference calls to gather the group of staff point people and provide a framework to guide NCT planning efforts. These calls will also open lines of communication among staff across the country and will hopefully spark new ideas as each individual.

Tentative Schedule and Topics
November 10 – National Citizenship Tour Intro Call
December 7 – Lining up your dream team of speakers
January 11 – Creating outreach materials & effective follow-up tips
February 8 – Selecting and preparing students for NCT
March 8 – Ordering NCT swag and supplies
April 5 – Preparing “run of shows” for each meeting
May 3 – Promoting NCT through press & social media
June 7 – Troubleshooting NCT hiccups
July 5 – Final to-dos
August 2 – Show and Tell: Recap of NCT 2018!

Next Steps
If you’d like to take part in the National Citizenship Tour, please email Alana Lerner ( by Monday, November 20th. The details of the program will be shared on a staff call on November 10.



What is the ideal age and number of student participants in the NCT?
Member programs have full flexibility in determining the right group size and age for student participants. However, from past Tour experience, we recommend rising 10th graders through graduating 12th graders as the “sweet spot” for the Tour. There are no limits to the number of student participants (we have 22 on the NUSEA Tour) – just keep in mind the necessary pre-Tour preparation and post-Tour service project when creating your NCT student group.

What if we can get a really exceptional person (like a Mayor or Governor or U.S. Senator) to meet with our students, but not during the official days of the Tour? By all means, yes!

Is participating in the Citizenship Tour mandatory for NUSEA members?
Not at all. Participation is entirely voluntary. NUSEA only asks that if a program signs up to be a part of the Tour that it follow through and make the full commitment to doing so.

But couldn’t our program organize meetings with high profile community leaders without officially being a part of NUSEA’s National Citizenship Tour?
Definitely. In fact, member programs in Baltimore and Cincinnati have done that in the past year. The value of taking part in this national program is to take advantage of the lessons learned by NUSEA over the past four years in running our Citizenship Tour. We will provide guidance, resources and curriculum each step of the way on how to most effectively organize the NCT.

If our program does not sign up to participate in the Citizenship Tour, would that adversely impact the chances of our students to be selected to participate in the NUSEA Citizenship Tour from New York to DC? Not at all!