Citizen Training Academy

Citizen Training Academy

The Citizen Training Academy (CTA) was created in the wake of the 2016 election as a wave of new activists reached out to VCET asking for the tools and training to change what they saw happening in our country. Over time that first class on Activism for Busy People became a dozen classes that have now been taken by over a thousand people around Virginia. We deliver the classes for free in your community. In return you commit to at least 15 attendees and finding a suitable location. To request a class, please submit this form.

2 hours‚ÄčActivism for Busy People

All of us are trying to be more involved citizens and activists and somehow manage to have a life, hold down a job, spend time with our families. It can be overwhelming and very stressful. This two hour class will teach you how to be efficient and effective. Find out how to do this work year round, both electing good people and holding them accountable, without burning out and walking away!

30 - 45 minutesVoter Registration

The voter engagement cycle starts with registering people to vote. But this seemingly simple step has proved harder than most people expected. Get the training you need to make sure that the voters you register have done everything correctly. Find out best practices for running voter registration drives and making the time and effort you invest worthwhile.

2 hoursBoots on the Ground

This program combines a quick voter registration training with training on how to talk to voters one on one at the doors. We know that there is nothing more effective at persuading people to vote than having face to face conversations. But we also know that how you do it is critically important. Learn best practices and how to have fun while increasing voter participation!

1 hourConversations That Work (Deep Canvassing)

Experiments in the field show that a lot of the face to face contacts we’re having at the doors during canvassing aren’t nearly as effective as they could be. Find out how to have an effective, deeper conversation and find out what voters really care about. Then utilize that information to help motivate them to vote and maybe to even get more deeply involved in civic life.

90 minutesHolding Our Elected Officials Accountable

Voting is only the first part of getting the change we need. Whether the people we elect are our friends or our foes, we need to hold them accountable for what they do as legislators. This training will teach you all the components of an effective accountability campaign and why it’s so important. You’ll leave the training with your own plan that you can execute with the help of your friends and neighbors.

2 hoursProgressives and Race: We've Got A Long Way to Go

This 2 hour class is led by white people and is for white people. We’ll talk a little about how we got to this present moment in Virginia and learn how racism manifests itself in both obvious and subtle ways. You’ll leave with a better understanding of our responsibility as white allies to both recognize our own troublesome behaviors and how to show up as better allies.

90 minutesWho's Got the Power? (Power Mapping)

This 90 minute class will teach you how to create issue-based power maps. Power maps are an important tool for understanding how to make change. Until you know who has the power and how to move potentially powerful allies, it will be hard to see the positive policy changes we are all working towards. You’ll leave this session with a power map on an issue that you’re working on and a better understanding of how to get policy changes.

1 hourCensus: The biggest issue no one is talking about

The 2020 census seems a long way away to most of us. But the current federal administration is already working on a plan to undermine the census. A fair and accurate count is important for funding for Virginia roads and schools, drawing accurate legislative districts and much more. Find out what the challenges are and how every one of us can be part of making sure every Virginian gets counted.

1 HourStorytelling for Advocacy

People have been telling stories for thousands of years because personal stories are incredibly powerful tool for persuasion. Everyone has a story, but some people are better than others at using them to create change. In this training, we’ll go over the elements of a great story and you’ll learn how to tell your personal story to create the change you want to see in the world. We’ll share our stories and get feedback on how to make them better so that the next time you are talking to legislators, reporters, or potential volunteers, you’ll know exactly what to say to get them on your side!

1 HourHero's Narrative Training

Often, a compelling message is half the battle. No matter what issue we are talking about, if we aren’t creating a compelling message to get our point across, we won’t be nearly as successful as we could be. In this training, you’ll learn about the Hero’s Narrative, a tool that allows you to plug in any issue and create a message that will resonate with advocates and legislators alike. This is the perfect training for you if you are working on a lot of different issues or if you want to create a message that will inspire people to take action.

1 HourLetters to the Editor 101

You don’t have to be an expert to write a letter to the editor and get published! In this training, we’ll go over the best practices for writing letters to the editor and the submission process. There will be plenty of time to practice writing letters and get feedback from the group.