In 2016 Club Stride held its first candidate forum for youth at the Vallejo Naval Museum. It was the first time that it had been done in over 25 years. The event hosted candidate forums for both city council and mayor. There will be dozens of competitive elections expected in November 2020, and young people will once again have the opportunity to shift the balance of power in politics. As election campaigns look forward to November, Club Stride believes that candidates should seek to meaningfully engage with young voters.
To answer this much-needed call to action, on April 24, 2020, Club Stride is excited to host is third forum, but with a twist. For this election cycle, through a collaborative partnership with the Vallejo Unified School District, Club Stride has registered and will uniquely bring together over 500 high school juniors and seniors, and community college students (ages 17 - 24) for the Be RELEVANT conference. The Be RELEVANT conference will have all the elements of a conference without the usual look and feel. The Be RELEVANT civic education conference will be an exciting experience. It will include leaders seeking office from City Council to Congress and has elicited participation from local businesses, and numerous city, county and local officials and representatives. Civic media and information about public issues will be used to allow youth expression, discussion and informed action at the conference and into the future. Guests will network with community leaders at the historic Coal Sheds Mare Island Brewing Company which sits prominently on the waterfront of Mare Island. And with a view of the water of the Mare Island strait, guests will experience a new wave of civic engagement that includes live DJ music, games, activities and resource vendors from academia and business.
The conference is part of a series of efforts by Club Stride in "civic renewal" designed to increase the scale, impact, and equity of civic engagement in Solano County. Its primary focus is to promote experiential civic education that involves underserved youth in the democratic process. To do so, Club Stride is providing free transportation to and from the event, and VIP attention for all youth participants including meal and entertainment.
The youth voice will be at the center of every aspect of this conference and young people will be treated as agents of change and positioned as civic actors. In addition, students will have the unique opportunity to network with local businesses, and city, county officials and representatives and to experientially learn about the democratic process. Club Stride’s hope is that by networking with and directly engaging youth, public officials and community leaders will further strengthen and build community relationships that can potentially last a life-time.