The Congressional Youth Cabinet created by United States Senator John Boozman of Arkansas was designed to teach high-school age students about advocacy and civic engagement by allowing participants to gain experience in policy through action.
Problems and Purpose
Senator John Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet has taught and will continue to teach students about the policymaking process and how it works, thus furthering their understanding of the Congressional processes and what it takes to make policy changes. Senator Boozman hopes that through this Cabinet, he increases the interest in careers of civic engagement and public service by providing students the opportunity to submit possible solutions to current relevant issues affecting their communities. The problems addressed during the Congressional Youth Cabinet in 2017-2018 were rural broadband access and internet sales tax.
Background History and Context
Senator John Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet completed its inaugural year during the 2017-2018 academic school year. During that first year the program had 44 high school juniors from across all four congressional districts within Arkansas. After a successful first year, the program returned for a second year for the duration of the 2018-2019 academic school year and the current class has 30 students from the four Arkansas congressional districts.
The use of Youth Cabinets is not a new phenomenon. They are currently used in a variety of place both within and outside of the United States. In the United States Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of the 12th NY district and Congressman Ted Deutch of the 22nd FL district both run Congressional Youth Cabinets. Both cabinets focus on high school students. In contrast to this is the implementation of Youth Cabinets in the UK. Some are led by political figures like the Youth Cabinets of the America and others are initiatives started and ran by neighborhoods. An example of a politician led Cabinet in the UK is the Milton Keynes Youth Cabinet  and an example of a citizen led Cabinet is the Halton Youth Cabinet designed to empower the youth of the Halton Borough. 
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Senator Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet was organized and created by Senator John Boozman and his office.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
This program is open to Arkansas high school students from Arkansas public schools cite. To be eligible for the program all perspective students needed to be a sophomore for the 2017-2018 schoolyear and juniors for the upcoming 2018-2019 year. In addition to the year requirement all applicants had to possess a 2.0 GPA, “a strong commitment to personal growth and continued success within their community" and "[h]ave a reliable attendance history in school."  The class size included 13 students from the first congressional district, 11 from the second, 12 from the third, and 8 from the fourth. Information on the program was shared with the public-school districts of Arkansas. Many potential student participants were nominated and submitted by their respective school administrations and teachers, but a student also could submit themselves for admittance into the program.
Methods and Tools Used
Student participants of Senator Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet attended several meetings in Little Rock, Arkansas throughout the school-year. Over the course of the year, the participants would select a public issue of interest to them and research ways to mitigate it. During the final meeting of the year in April, they presented policy recommendations to Senator Boozman for the issues that they chose to address. Because of the participants being from the four different congressional districts of Arkansas, the students would communicate via email, Skype, text, and phone throughout the months.
This program utilized both dialogue and public deliberation methods.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The public deliberation method requires participation from the interested parties in a small group setting where they address an issue or concern through the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and consider the different paths to resolve the issue. Additionally, the Congressional Youth Cabinet also maintained a dialogue, or form of communication both in person and via telecommunications such as phone, text, and Skype. The participants were tasked with choosing a national issue of interest that they believed affected their own communities, research it, and come up with potential solutions and policy considerations to propose to Senator Boozman. The youth then decided on addressing the issues of broadband access in rural communities and internet sales tax. Throughout the process the students would maintain lines of communication through telecommunications and at the monthly meetings in Little Rock, led by Senator Boozman’s staffers, they would deliberate on their findings, possible outcomes, and ways to move forward. The process resulted in the participants proposing their policy considerations to Senator Boozman. Because the students performed independent research addressing critical issues, and made recommendations of their findings with possible solutions the CYC functioned as a Citizen Advisory Board.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
At this time there is little evidence that this program changed policy or left a lasting impression on program participants. All the literature on the issue covers the creation and implementation of the program but nothing on the follow-through and results of the participation.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that the purpose of inspiring youth to follow careers within the civic engagement and public service fields was met. Additionally, there is no evidence to indicate that Senator Boozman proposed policy or changed any of his views or approaches to political issues because of any of the participants findings.
 Office of Senator John Boozman. (n.d.a). Boozman convenes inaugural congressional youth cabinet. Retrieved from https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/9/boozman-convenes-inaugural-congressional-youth-cabinet
 Education News. (2018, May 6). Texarkana Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/texarkana/story/2018/may/06/education-news/725042/
 Office of Senator John Boozman. (n.d.b). Boozman Welcomes New Congressional Youth Cabinet. Retrieved from https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2018/9/boozman-welcomes-new-congressional-youth-cabinet
 Office of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. (n.d.). Congressional youth cabinet. Retrieved from https://maloney.house.gov/congressional-youth-cabinet
 Office of Congressman Ted Deutch. (n.d.). Congressional youth cabinet. Retrieved from https://teddeutch.house.gov/students/congressional-youth-cabinet.htm
 Milton Keynes Council. (n.d.). Youth cabinet about us. Retrieved from https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/schools-and-lifelong-learning/community-learning-mk-hub/youth-mk/youth-cabinet-mk/youth-cabinet-about-us
 Halton Youth Cabinet. (2019). Retrieved from https://www3.haltonyc.com/
 Office of Senator John Boozman. (n.d.c). Congressional youth cabinet: About the congressional youth cabinet. Retrieved from https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/congressional-youth-cabinet
 Nabatchi, T., & Leighninger, M. (2015). Public participation for 21st century democracy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
This case study was written by Jerome Wilson, Jr., a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and then edited. The views expressed in this case study are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.