Orchestrated by the Aspen Institute and Bezos Family Foundation, the Aspen Challenge gives “a platform for young people to play critical roles in identifying, designing, and implementing solutions to their community’s biggest needs.”
Since 2013, the Aspen Challenge team has collaborated with a new school district (working with them for two years) to help build a culture of empowering young people to believe in their ability to offer real solutions to community challenges. During each Challenge, 20 schools in a single school district are invited to participate. Each school recruits a team of eight learners and two educators (who serve as coaches) to design a solution to a local problem; brand their solutions; conduct outreach and community engagement; present their solution to a panel; and learn and grow from the experience.
Although the Aspen Challenge is limited to urban environments, their work serves as inspiration for all of us to consider how we might design similar challenges in our own communities—bringing community-based, learner-centered learning to the forefront.