This capstone evaluates the empowerment methods used at the Governor’s Institute of Vermont in Current Issues and Youth Activism (GICIYA). This camp is held every summer on the SIT campus and attracts high school aged students from all over the state of Vermont. The GICIYA goals are for students to gain awareness on the current issues, locally and globally, and give young people the skills to create change in their world. For the purpose of this paper, my main research question is, "How does GICIYA empower students to make social and personal change?" I used three main data collection methods. I surveyed 21 students as they arrived at GICIYA. This survey gave me insight into how they heard about the program, what their goals and expectations were for the program, and how they defined empowerment. Secondly, I interviewed 11 of the 21 students after GICIYA ended, to get a better picture of how the program affected them, and if they had any action plans for the future. Out of that 11, I followed up with 9 by having them fill out a second survey 3 months after the institute to see where they were in their action plans. I also sent questionnaires to the two directors. Using several theoretical frames such as popular, transformative and experiential education to analyze my conclusions, the findings proved that GICIYA empowers students to create change. None of the final nine stated any overt obstacles in their desire to create social and personal change. They all created personal changes and are working on implementing programs into their schools and/or everyday lives. This research will provide GICIYA with some recommendations for growth, and supply other organizations with new empowerment methods


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research