Through the Nebraska Civic Saturday Fellowship, you’ll learn how to create a series of Civic Saturday gatherings in your community that strengthen social ties and rebuild faith in one another — and our democracy. Selected Fellows will join a cohort in February 2024 with about a dozen other Nebraskans to explore the purpose and practicalities of hosting Civic Saturdays.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Civic Saturday Fellowship is a six-month experience in which you develop and host at least two Civic Saturday gatherings in your hometown, with the intention to continue thereafter.

  • New Fellows begin with a cohort-based experience in Lincoln from Feb. 6-9, 2024.

  • Apply by November 28, 2023. All applicants will be notified if they have been selected by early December.

  • There is no cost to participate!

A joint project of Civic Nebraska and Citizen University

Deadline extended! ›› Apply by Nov. 28, 2023 ‹‹ 

Nebraska Civic Saturday Fellowship training is Feb. 6-9, 2024, in Lincoln.

The Nebraska Civic Saturday Fellowship then runs from February to September 2024.

Civic Saturday Fellows share a unique commitment to strengthening civic culture and enthusiasm for hosting gatherings and rituals that strengthen faith and connection within their communities.

What qualities do Fellows have?

Here are the kinds of things that we often hear from those who join this program:
“I care about this place.”
I find energy and purpose in bringing people together to strengthen our social fabric. I’m passionate about organizing gathering places to reckon with the challenges we’re facing as a community and to imagine new possibilities. I recognize that sometimes things can get tender or tense (in fact, I seek out moments of vulnerability or disagreement because I want to help others reconnect and uncover what we have in common). I’m curious, caring, and in tune with the needs of my neighbors – and I want to help us deepen our faith in one another because I know this is what it takes to support a healthier democracy.
“I’m ready to catalyze my fellow community members.”
I’m eager to help change the cultural conditions here by experimenting with a new kind of gathering designed to strengthen community bonds and help people feel connected to their civic identity. I have experience bringing people together and planning events — and doing so with creativity and spirit along the way! I can imagine how a new “civic ritual” could help build or strengthen our community’s infrastructure, and I have the relationships and networks to develop an ongoing practice. I’m dedicated and committed to bringing this to life!

Do I have to do this by myself?

Not at all — in fact, we hope you don’t! You can join the Fellowship as an individual who is prepared to take the lead on hosting these gatherings and rally a team back home to support you. Or you could join as a representative of an organization that is eager to integrate Civic Saturday into your work. Have a friend in mind you’d want to collaborate with? That works, too. On your application, you can tell us more about your plans to share the load.
We look forward to reading your application to hear how you’re excited to channel your civic commitment and community knowledge into building out a new ritual for your fellow citizens.
You’ll begin with a four-day training we call Civic Seminary, which will be hosted in Lincoln from Feb. 6 to Feb. 9. This is your chance to step back and reflect on the civic health of your community and why it can benefit from Civic Saturdays as a shared ritual. With your “Cornhusker Cohort,” you’ll explore the ideas, values, and tensions of American civic life and talk about what it means to practice – and inspire others into – responsible citizenship.
In addition, the Citizen University and Civic Nebraska teams will help you learn the nuts and bolts of organizing your own Civic Saturday gatherings. You will leave Civic Seminary with a strong philosophical and practical foundation, and a roadmap for getting started! 
For a greater sense of how Civic Saturdays are done, visit Civic Nebraska’s archives of its Civic Saturday gatherings from the past three years via the button below. 

If selected, you will be placed into a cohort and take part in Civic Seminary starting with an official welcome dinner on Feb. 6 in Lincoln.
This program is of no cost to you — we cover travel, meals, and lodging for your time with us. Note that we are regularly and carefully considering COVID safety precautions and reserve the right to transition to a virtual Civic Seminary experience if needed.
Then, you’ll begin to organize your own Civic Saturday gatherings! Civic Seminary will equip you to design and create at least two Civic Saturday gatherings over the next six months, with hopes for many more. You’ll likely identify and collaborate with a community organization or network of support to create gatherings that are well-resourced and sustainable. From picnics in the park to Zoom calls to library programs, each Fellow’s gatherings look a little different. You have room to play and evolve what it means to join together, and we’ll support you along the way.
You’ll build relationships that propel you far after this experience. We’ll make sure you have ways to keep in touch with your cohort during the Fellowship and beyond. You’ll get to problem-solve, cheerlead, and learn with your fellow Fellows. You’ll get to know people who have been in the program for years and get to trade tips and support each other through the successes and the challenges!
After six months, you’ll join a national network of others who are continuing the work in their communities. You’ll stay in the loop on resources, learnings, and collaborations within the program community.

Nebraska Civic Saturday Fellows will convene Feb. 6-9 at The Scarlet Hotel, 2101 Tranformation Drive, located at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln. A perfect blend of small-town generosity, genuine connection, and creative common ground, The Scarlet is a hub of modern style and innovation, bringing together a broad spectrum of travelers all seeking an authentic taste of Nebraska.

Photo gallery

To make the most of this experience, we expect that you:

  • Attend the four-day Civic Seminary and show up ready to engage fully
  • Organize and lead at least two Civic Saturday gatherings within the six-month Fellowship period
  • Join three cohort calls post-Seminary, plus personalized calls with Citizen University/Civic Nebraska staff, to extend the learning and feel supported along the way
  • Explore ways to sustain Civic Saturdays as an ongoing practice in your community after the Fellowship

You can expect that Civic Nebraska and Citizen University will:

  • Lead you through an engaging, experiential Civic Seminary training
  • Orient you to a Civic Saturday toolkit with resources, sample materials, and countless tips and tricks
  • Provide stipends of up to $300 per gathering to cover costs you may encounter
  • Engage in personalized support periodically and as needed
  • Create ongoing learning opportunities throughout the Fellowship experience (and beyond!), nurturing a community of support through your cohort and the broader alumni community

Step One: Review the application. For the longer-form questions, we recommend you review the questions and type up your answers in advance (aim for about 250 words). There is also an option to record and share a video of yourself speaking your answers if you prefer.

›› Make sure you’ve also watched or attended a Civic Saturday yourself! Need a refresher? Here are a few examples from past Nebraska-based gatherings hosted by Civic Nebraska.

Step Two: Prepare your resume. There will be a submission box for you to upload it as a PDF.

Step Three: Submit your application. Finalize all your materials, then visit our form to submit them! Once your application has been submitted, you will not be able to make any changes, so please proofread your materials thoroughly before submission.

Deadline: Applications are due by 11:59 pm CST on Nov. 22, 2023. You can expect to hear back from us in early December.

Q: What are the costs associated with the Fellowship?

A: Citizen University and Civic Nebraska cover the costs of travel, lodging, and all major meals for all Fellows while attending Civic Seminary in Lincoln. For costs you may incur in hosting your Civic Saturdays, we offer stipends (up to $300 per gathering) to support Fellows’ gatherings.

Q: Is there an age or education requirement?

A: The work of a Fellow requires communication, organizing, and planning skills. While we find that people who have some experience with hosting community events are generally best equipped to host Civic Saturdays, we do not have any formal age or education requirements.

Q: Can I apply for the Fellowship with a friend or co-worker? Or as a representative of my organization?

A: Absolutely! We often find that Fellows who have partners or come with their “work hat” on are the most successful at establishing Civic Saturdays as a lasting civic practice in their communities. There is space on the application where you can let us know if you know someone else applying. Each individual person should submit their own application.

Q: What happens after the Fellowship is over?

A: During your six-month Fellowship, you’ll establish Civic Saturdays as a civic practice in your communities and build upon that practice over time. After that time, Civic Nebraska and Citizen University will remain as your partners in the work you started during the fellowship, supporting you in all ways that we are able. You’ll also join the broader community of civic catalysts from Citizen University’s other programs!

Questions? Contact Steve Smith at