Starting September 2011, the Chester Youth Court Volunteers (CYCV) student group at Swarthmore College has worked with Youth Court students at Smedley Allied Health High School in Chester, Pennsylvania. Collaborating with students, teachers, and education experts, we have developed lesson plans and activities aimed at building skills that are essential for students in successfully operating a youth court.

By posting these lesson plans here, we hope to not only record the group's institutional history but also make these resources available for other students and adults involved with Youth Court programs. Our group strives to better serve youth court students through feedback and continual reflection, so we welcome your suggestions. Each lesson plan has been revised before posting in order to address issues that arose during class.

If you would like to use any lesson plans published here, please contact us first at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creating a Youth Court Mission Statement//Lesson Plan for Monday, April 4, 2011

Lesson Plan: Creating a Youth Court Mission Statement
Materials of the Chester Youth Court Volunteers at Swarthmore College

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
  • Describe the purpose and importance of a mission statement.
  • Describe how to create a mission statement, and the questions that should be answered by a mission statement.
  • Articulate the values and purpose of the youth court.
I. Introductory Activity (10 minutes)

a. Break the students into 4 small groups with a college student leading each group.
b. (Handout) The students will take turns reading mission statements from various organizations and will match the mission statements with the organizations.

2. What is a Mission Statement?  (10 minutes)

In the small groups, discuss:
  • What is a mission statement? (It describes the motivations behind the organization and describes its goal. It should answer the question: "Why does this organization exist? Why was it started?")
  • Why are mission statements important? What does it do for those in the group? (Mission statements give the group members a sense or purpose, can help identify long-term goals,  and can help group members keep those long term goals in mind)
  • What does it do for those outside of the group? (It communicates the purpose of the group, helps get support for the program/organization)
3. What Should Your Mission Statement Be? (20 minutes)

a. (Handout) If someone asks you these questions, what would you say?
  • What is the Allied Health High School?
  • What are the goals of the youth court?
  • What do you see the youth court accomplishing in its next year?
Based on their answers to these questions, students will write a draft of their mission statement.
*Group leaders: Remember to collect these so that they can be recorded for future lesson plans!

3. Conclusion: Sharing Mission Statements (10 minutes)
a. If there is time, students will come back to a large group and two college students will facilitate.
b. Each group will present their mission statements to the class and it will be recorded on the board. If there is extra time, there will be a brief discussion on how the mission statements differ and what some of the similarities are.

Download lesson plan here.