Our 2012 Young Women’s Political Leadership Program took place in Washington, DC from June 25 – June 30, 2012. Learn a bit more about the talented young women who attended this year here!

The week of June 25th to the 30th was Running Start’s sixth annual Young Women’s Political Leadership Program. The program invited 75 fabulous young women to come to DC and participate in programs and activities that would help them run for office in the future. These programs included information and advice about topics including public speaking, message development, networking, on-camera media training, and fundraising.

All of the participants arrived on Monday afternoon at American University where they were housed for the week. As soon as they arrived from 30 states, the girls immediately started making connections and friendships. The girls started out with speakers and programs on AU’s campus like Networking 101 and a Networking Game, run by Running Start’s executive director, Jessica Grounds.  There were then speakers and workshops on the history of women running for office, public speaking, and web etiquette. The girls also had the chance to see the movies Missrepresentation and Iron Jawed Angels.

Congresswoman Martha Roby from Alabama spoke to the YWPL girls about the process of running for political office as a woman.

On Wednesday the girls made it up to Capitol Hill to the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, where they had the chance to listen to speakers such as Senator Lisa Murkowski, Representative Martha Roby, Representative Terri Sewell, Representative Jason Altmire, and Representative Bonamici on running for office and life as a woman in congress. The afternoon was spent in the State Department press briefing room, where the girls got to listen to Ambassador Capricia Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States and Sarah King, special assistant in Office of the Special Representative to Muslim Communities.

Andrea Walton speaks during the Campaign Game.

Thursday was another busy day. The participants heard about running young from Tara Andrews, the deputy executive director at the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and Nomiki Konst, Founder and Executive Director of Alliance Hollywood. There was a fundraising 101 program and activity and a speech by Anita McBride, Former Assistant to President George W. Bush & Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush. Thursday night was the Networking Reception at King and Spalding where the girls had the chance to talk and network with DC professionals, many of them YWPL alumni or past interns. Before returning home for the night the busses stopped in front of the Lincoln memorial to take pictures and enjoy the view of DC at sunset.

On Friday the girls were back at AU to hear how to get involved right now, at their young age. There was a panel with Adejire Bademosi, Founder of the The Innovation and Enterprise Leadership Institute, Talia Leman, CEO and Founder of RandomKid, Alissa Orlando, COO of

YWPL girls participate in on-camera media training.

Hilltop Microfinance Initiative, and Melissa Richmond, staffer for the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign. This panel was really inspirational to the girls because it let them know that although they are only in high school, they can initiate and participate in any way to do what they love. Friday also included interactive on camera media training, a campaign game and resume building.

After an incredibly busy and rewarding week, the participants and their parents were invited to the graduation ceremony at AU to congratulate the young women on their hard and impressive work throughout the program. After just five days the girls had grown to know and become friends with the other girls, and were all sad to leave after such a great week.  Great networks were made with the 75 participants, the staff, and the speakers that inspired everyone throughout the week. It was a great thing to have so many ambitious young women ready to take on the world, not in 10 years, but today.

Visit our blog to see more pictures from the program and quotes and blogs from the YWPL participants!

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