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Join us for Life Camp & Life Camp’s Community Celebration and Advocacy Contest

Help provide area youth with tools and resources to step outside the cycles of gun violence within Kalamazoo.
Join us June 14 and 15!
Learn more about Life Camp!

Advocacy Contest Frequently Asked Questions


What are advocacy contests?

Advocacy contests are designed to give middle school students a platform to voice their concerns about how gun violence has impacted their peer group, families, and community. They are advocating for life.

Reward for participation

Many participants will compete in these contests, and they will be judged by members of our community. For each category there will be three contestants selected to demonstrate extraordinary leadership. Each of those three individuals will receive $100-$125 for their courage, creativity, confidence, and expressions of advocacy for life.

How will I be judged?

All contestants will be judged on four areas: creativity, clarity, confidence, and believable expressions of advocating for life.

What categories can I compete in?

You can participate in one of six different contests.

  1. I Have A Dream– Write a half or full-page speech about how gun violence has impacted your peer group, family, and community, and your dream for our city to be a violence-free zone. Your speech will begin with, “I have a dream…”
  2. Dear Shooter– Write a half or full-page letter to a person who has shot someone or is thinking about doing so. Your goal is to influence them to never pull the trigger again or change their mind about pulling the trigger, to end the violence happening in our community. Your letter would start off, “Dear Shooter…”
  3. Podcast– Join a host and two other participants to talk about the impact of gun violence on your peer group, family, and community and how you believe it can be stopped. You will be asked a series of questions to answer. How you respond will determine if you are selected.
  4. Poster Design– Design a poster that sends a powerful message to stop gun violence. Imagine your poster as a giant billboard in the city. Use minimal words and impactful pictures to convey a heartfelt message.
  5. Rap– Create an acapella rap (rapping without a beat) about the impact of gun violence on your peer group, family, and community and how you believe it can be stopped.
  6. Poetry– Write a poem or spoken word to express the impact of gun violence on your peer group, family, and community and how you believe it can be stopped. Your poem should be anywhere between a half to a full-page in length.

When is the advocacy contest?

All competitions will take place on Friday, June 14 at Urban Alliance, 1009 E. Stockbridge, Kalamazoo, MI. All contestants must arrive at 4:30 p.m. You will have an opportunity to showcase your art to your family and community.

When can I create my art?

You cannot come with your advocacy work completed. You will have 1 hour and 15 minutes to develop your art onsite at Urban Alliance.

Will I have assistance?

All contestants will receive assistance in the development or presentation of their talent. Individuals will help you express yourself but will not do the work for you.

Do I have to participate in the advocacy contest to attend Life Camp?

No. You do not have to participate. Friday evening activities are for students and the community. It is a rallying point for Saturday at Sherman Lake. Advocacy contests are extra incentives for students to demonstrate leadership abilities.

How do I register to compete?

Registration for advocacy contests is located within the Life Camp page. Interested participants may also come to Urban Alliance to fill out a form. All registrations must be completed by Monday, June 10.