Frequently Asked Questions:
Who can participate? Democracy Summer welcomes all high school and college-age young adults (ages 16-22) who want to participate in social change and help take back Congress! If you care about progressive politics, this is the program for you.
Where does the program take place? Democracy Summer 2018 has four regions in the mid-Atlantic. The four region headquarters are Silver Spring, MD; Charlottesville, VA; Des Moines, IA; and Philadelphia, PA. Each region has a headquarters where you will spend a portion of your 30 weekly program hours and from which you will launch your political projects.
Can I apply to a city away from home? Yes! However, Democracy Summer unfortunately does not provide housing. We encourage Fellows to participate in their home regions, learn the issues, develop networks, and become powerful political actors in their own communities. That said, we welcome out-of-state participants and will do what we can to help you secure living arrangements if you need them.
Is this a paid fellowship? It is not a paid fellowship. Travel stipends may be available in your area. We provide lunch or dinner several times a week. When you’re on kitchen duty in your headquarters, you’ll get the chance to determine the menu for your cohort.
We are grateful for your commitment and work hard to invest in your professional development by giving you a first-class education and experience in electoral organizing and political advocacy. We are certain that you will form professional relationships and friendships that will propel you on your academic, political and professional journey.
I am not interested in participating but I would like to financially support the program. Can I sponsor a Democracy Summer Fellow who otherwise could not participate? Absolutely! Many participating families, political clubs and Democratic donors have contributed generously to pay for modest scholarships for young people who could not otherwise afford to participate. Please click here if you are interested in contributing or financially supporting the program.
How long is the program? How many hours a day? How many days a week? There are two summer sessions. Each session is five to six weeks. Session I and II dates vary in each region. Please see the locations page for session dates in each region.
The program is designed to be a full-time fellowship with approximately 30 work hours from Monday to Friday. Some days will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On days we are participating in phone banks or door-knocking, the program will likely start and end later, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. for example. We will also have regular weekend activities such as voter registration, fundraising events and political canvassing.
Our goal is to provide a weekly schedule with as much advance notice as possible.
What if I have to miss a week due to family plans? Can I arrive late or leave early due to work obligations? What if I can’t make the start date or can’t stay until the final week due to school requirements? Ideally, everyone is fully present. But life is complicated and plans can change – we get that. We’re operating under the assumption that everyone is making a good-faith effort and that everyone is in this to make a difference and do good work. We can work together to figure out how to allow you to participate in the program as fully as possible while accommodating your schedule.
What do we do all day? What’s the program like? You’ll be busy and you’ll be challenged! The program is a deep dive into everything about electoral organizing and making progressive social change. You will meet with policy experts; debate the merits of different candidates; partake in skill-building workshops from fundraising to public speaking; and be called upon to put these skills into practice. You will become a serious participant in multiple competitive congressional campaigns and may even get job offers as a result! But imagine also political summer camp – you’ll share the experience and the challenges with a group of thoughtful, energized, and committed peers, all working together to change America and the world.
Can Independents, Greens and Libertarians apply? We’re working to elect a strong Democratic Congress in 2018, which means electing Democrats everywhere. If you sincerely share that goal and want to advance it, you can participate even if you are registered as an Independent or something else. Please explain in your application if you are not a registered Democrat but still wish to participate.
Have more questions? Please email us with your questions. We look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.