2013 Action Camp activists on why you should attend in 2014
by Melissa O'Neil
© Emma Cassidy / Greenpeace
Time is running out to apply for the 2014 Action Camp which will take place March 23-28 near Phoenix, Arizona. A free camp including lodging and meals, participants will learn effective and creative skills to use in shared progressive movements.
Hear below from 2013 Action Camp participants on what they learned in six days at Action Camp!
I came to Action Camp because I had been involved for a few years in the fight to end Mountaintop Removal coal mining (MTR) and wanted to learn more skills for direct action and share that learning with people in my own area. I was not sure what to expect because of Greenpeace’s reputation for bold action on environmental issues (which I definitely wanted to be a part of), but also their history of being an organization that seemed dominated by a lot of white dudes (which didn’t feel welcoming to me). When I got to the airport and saw the people who were coming to camp with me, I got really excited about how many people there were of all different ages, genders, communities, cultural backgrounds, abilities, and sizes.
I felt like Greenpeace was incredibly intentional about their choices of who to bring to camp and that the friendships I made throughout the camp brought me a lot more perspective on the variety of struggles we were all involved in and new possibilities for alliances. The trainers came from a wide variety of places and backgrounds and made an effort to think through their facilitation of the modules to make them welcoming to people regardless of their body types (especially important for climbing!). There were always plenty of options to train with people whose training styles were most comfortable, and everyone made a serious effort to be really inclusive.
I went to camp without a good sense of what to expect and more than a few fears about being in close quarters with so many people I didn’t know for an intense experience, but I came away from it with skills, friendships, and such trust in the people I trained beside. I hope you come to camp because finding a community that’s so willing to work on making this world a better place is such a joy.
FromElizabeth Mount,Mountain Justice Organizer andCo-chair of Earth and Social Justice Ministries, UU Congregation of Asheville, NC
As the Senior Team Leader of a Greenpeace canvassing office in Seattle, Washington, I felt very connected to the education and communication aspect of advocacy work. I didn’t, however, feel like I had the tools or experience to organize and execute a key element of progressive change: direct action. Action Camp was accurately introduced to me as a source for learning the skills to organize a community, coordinate various aspects of direct action, carry out the action in a safe, nonviolent manner, and liaison between both law enforcement and media to secure the action’s effectiveness.
As an added bonus, Action Camp weaved an intricate network of activists that I still use in my career as a progressive journalist.
The conscious community was focused on non-oppressive communication and behavior, sensitive dietary needs, productive workshops, and a serious feeling of solidarity and connectedness. If you’re full of steam and without an outlet: apply for camp. If you need a community who more than cares about social and environmental justice: apply for camp. If you’re rusty on your lock-box building, prusik climbing, banner-dropping skills: apply for camp. You will leave with radical tools, friendships, and humbling sense that we are, indeed, all in this together.
From Christine St. Pierre is an editorial intern at YES! Magazine. Christine helped lead the Greenpeace Seattle canvass office and has participated in direct actions with the organization. In 2013, Christine attended Coastal Canyons Actions Camp.