Josh Rasp is a junior at Eaglecrest High School who is passionate about sports, his community, and increasing youth participation in their communities. With the help of his peers, he succeeded in registering 90% of his school's senior class to vote!
I was just finishing up my sophomore year when Josh Hardesty, Program Coordinator for Inspire Colorado, came into my government class and talked about the Inspire Colorado program. It interested me that I would be able to make a real difference in a program that sounded like it could be a lot of fun.
I always liked government and wanted to find a way to get involved so it sounded like a perfect fun way to do that. I applied for the program and got in! The year kicked off over summer at the Leadership Academy, which was a lot of fun to be at. I got to meet a lot of really cool people and learned a lot of interesting things. We did things like listen to Colorado's Secretary of State Wayne Williams and a lot of team building activities during the day. At night we would play fun games and make s’mores. The Leadership Academy felt like a strong mix of a summer camp and college life. It was really cool getting to stay in a dorm and eat at the Regis University cafeteria. It really showed me what I had to look forward to in the next few years. The Leadership Academy was a great way to kick off the year and it really got me excited for the rest of the year as a whole.
After the Leadership Academy we started to get down to business with our first meeting in August where we talked about how we were going to tackle the year as whole. We started talking about how we wanted to meet our goal of 85% of seniors registered to vote in my high school. At the time this felt like an impossible task but if I didn’t meet it I definitely wanted to get close and really embraced the challenge to get there. We started registering at our first school event of the year where we had a booth. We got 5-6 registrations, which was a great starting point, and we knew that every vote counts, which meant we just got 5-6 more potential new voters. This was a really a great thing!
Now that we had our first couple of registrations we were ready to start planning for National Voter Registration Day, where we got a couple of booths set up to register kids at lunch. Overall we got only 1 or 2 registrations, which as wonderful as 1 or 2 potential votes is, we wanted to get hundreds so we decided to change our approach. We then went on to schedule 14 class presentations right before winter break. During these presentations we would speak to classes in our high school about the importance of registering and give them the opportunity to register with us. These are where the numbers started coming in! Hitting all of those classes really gave us a great base for semester. Then in two pretty crazy but good weeks in March we had 20 more class presentations that allowed us to not only reach the goal we were aiming for, but surpass it! We registered 90% of our senior class, which is almost 500 students!
It definitely felt great to exceed our goal and beat the challenge set for us. The best part was the difference we knew we made by meeting it and registering so many people to vote. We now know that hundreds of kids from our high school would be able to vote in the presidential election this November. That’s pretty cool to think about. Plus Inspire Colorado really helped me become a better leader and after 34 presentations to kids older than you, trust me, you become a much better public speaker than you ever thought you could be. The confidence and leadership skills that Inspire Colorado has taught me are ones that I could never have learned anywhere else. I can’t wait for the rest of the Inspired Year and the fun things we will end on! You could say that I was… Inspired by this program.