When are the deadlines and how do we find the forms?

Register your interest and submit participants from the high school class of 2024 by October 15, 2023. This enables us to coordinate with the schools’ enrollment and financial aid process. It also lets us know who’s participating. 

The April 15, 2024, deadline is when you tell us how things went. We’ll send you the form by email later. The final report at left shows what we’ll ask for. Note that we will also ask for a few photos. 

Who qualifies for the group prizes?

Groups of two or more people that contain members of Generation Z and who are working with MC USA churches. Generation Z is defined as people born between 1997 and 2012. 

Who qualifies for $1000 higher education grants? 

High school age participants in the classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027. Participants enrolling in a college for the 2024-25 school year must be registered by October 15, 2023 to be included. 

Young adults who are accepted into Merry Lea’s Master of Arts in Environmental Education program are eligible for a grant as well. 

What if our project isn’t complete by April 15?

That’s okay; just describe what you’re working on and how far you’ve gotten. We understand that churches often move slowly.  Whether you are finished or not, it is in your interests to show how what you’ve done will have a life beyond the present moment.

If we have graduating high school seniors in our group, do we need to finish the challenge by October 15?

No. The colleges and universities are willing to have faith in you and your commitment to finish what your group started. What they can’t do is alter their new student timeline and financial aid process. It would be great if you have a good start by October 15, though. 🙂

What if we aren’t part of a Mennonite church? 

We would not turn away anyone who wants to work on climate change! 

  • Youth and young adults from churches that are not part of Mennonite Church USA are welcome to join using the forms and process outlined. 
  • If you are not part of any church, you may volunteer for a nonprofit with an earth-keeping mission. We are happy to learn from your experiences and share your stories, and you will have the support of a community beyond your own. Request the appropriate form from ClimateJustice@mennoniteusa.org.
  • Youth and young adults who are not working with MC USA churches do not qualify for the group prize, but the higher education incentives are the same.

What if our church wants to participate but we don’t have willing Generation Z members?

You are welcome to sign up. We are happy to list you as a participant and hear about what you’ve done. Unfortunately, our incentives don’t apply to you, but you might have fun, make friends, feel good about what you’ve done and even save money. Isn’t that enough? 

Don’t make your young people do this if they don’t want to; it won’t end well.

What if we’re dabblers? We’d like to participate but we don’t have time for a big project. 

Everyone can do something. You’re not likely to win the group prize, but your youth still qualify for the higher education grants. It is not enough to have just a few environmental enthusiasts working on climate change. We need everyone else making smaller contributions of all sizes. See Tips for Dabblers on the Leader’s Guide.

What if we want to WIN?

We have tips for folks like you, too! See the Leader’s Guide.

What if we’re not sure which category our idea fits into or whether it fits at all?

Lists of examples are provided under project ideas. Energy projects involve reducing carbon emissions and have measurable results, even if they are difficult to measure. For the final report, you will need to attempt to quantify how much carbon your measures saved. Carbon calculators can help. 

Spirit projects encompass a wide range of possibilities involving people and the planet. Groups with a competitive temperament will do better if their project has a clear tie to climate change, but it is unlikely we would disqualify your choice. All kinds of community-building make the planet more resilient. One example is educating women and girls worldwide, which Project Drawdown names as a top 10 most important climate solutions.  When in doubt, email ClimateJustice@mennoniteusa.org.

What is a carbon calculator?

This is an online tool that invites you to plug in information about your energy use, transportation and other habits. It then gives you an estimate of your carbon emissions per year. By playing around with different variables, you can get an idea of what actions would make the most difference. Examples are the Cool Climate Calculator and the Ecological Footprint Calculator.