By Ananya Singh
Just a few weeks ago, I started an internship with a congressional campaign in my home state of New Jersey. The stakes for this election are so high, which makes me extremely excited to be involved in an impactful way!
This year is critical because we have a chance to flip districts all over the country to take back the power in Congress! It’s going to be extremely close, and in many districts every vote is going to count, which makes everything I’m doing very important. I have a lot of hope because we’ve been seeing people getting engaged in politics at every level. We have a really incredible slate of candidates, and there’s amazing energy around this election right now!
When I first began, I was incredibly nervous.
I started out by making phone calls and I would rush over my words, trip up when saying the platform positions, and freeze up occasionally.
After a few days, I finally felt myself starting to get comfortable, and after a week or two, I was actually confident when I initiated conversations. It’s really a learning curve, and anyone who has worked on a campaign has probably gone through it. Some of the conversations I’ve had with voters have turned out to be really uplifting! What helped me continue on was the urgency of the election and the supportive encouragement I would get from other volunteers and staff!
One of the best experiences I ever had was this past weekend. I was out canvassing, and we went to the house of an older woman in a nearby town. She was delighted to see a young person out talking about politics! I heard her calling to her husband, “I know it’s hard for you to get up, but you just HAVE to meet this adorable young girl! She’s fifteen and she’s a Democrat!” After meeting her husband and our conversation about the candidate, she told me that their day hadn’t started off that great, that is, until my visit.
Hearing her reflection brightened my day as well! I find it rewarding to be able to positively impact people, introduce them to a great candidate, and spread hope in these times. People are often impressed to see youth so aware and passionate. One of my favorite responses is to share with them how many other young people, like me, are working on this campaign and campaigns all over!
When I’m asked what brings me to politics, I always refer back to my time at YEA Camp. It ignited a passion within me for making the world a better place! After I got home, I researched and learned as much as I could about climate change. The connections between the issues closest to my heart and the political system became clear to me. I’ve never looked back since, and here I am 3 years later, interning for an amazing candidate, speaking at rallies and meetings, and training other people with the skills to get involved!
Not being able to vote will never stop me from making an impact! This is a historical moment, so get engaged!
The entire U.S. House of Representatives is up for re-election, so find out what’s going on in your district! If it is a swing district (meaning if the election will be close), get plugged in locally! If you are not in a swing district or are not sure if you are, check out Sister District or Swing Left to find a district near you that you can get involved with! If you’re able to vote, make sure you are registered, and help get others registered here.
If you’re new to politics, so was I! YEA Camp has a whole guide of 10 ways for young people to get involved in politics here to help you figure out what to do.
Ananya Singh is a high school junior from New Jersey with a passion for climate justice, political engagement, and the arts. She has attended YEA Camp twice as a camper, and this summer was her first as a Counselor In Training.
To find out more about what you can do to make a difference in politics, go to our blog post on that topic. And if you’d like to spend your summer learning more about how you can make a bigger difference on a cause you care about, check out YEA Camp.