Sunrise Semester Bootcamp: Day 1!
On Saturday June 3rd, young Americans from all walks of life arrived from across the country to Camp Galil in Ottsville, Pennsylvania. They came from near and far — from the mountains plains and coasts. For the next week, these 70 fellows and 10 trainers will be living and learning together…and preparing to launch the youth climate movement’s most impactful political intervention yet: Sunrise Semester.
Sunrise Semester is a 6-month fellowship to learn the ropes of electoral campaigning and social movement organizing all while exposing and ending Big Oil’s corruption of our political process and making climate change a decisive issue in the 2018 elections. After bootcamp, fellows will fan out to 5 critically important states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, New York, and Minnesota—where they’ll organize full-time to creatively expose the corrupting role of Big Oil on our elections, challenge candidates to refuse donations from fossil fuel executives, and endorse and campaign for candidates with a conscience and a spine, from the local to the statewide and federal levels. They’ll do all of this while living together in community, supporting local campaigns for climate and environmental justice, and building our movement for the long-haul.
Throughout bootcamp, we’ll be providing updates on what fellows are learning and some of the exciting this going down.
Here are some highlights of arrival and Day 1:
We arrived on Saturday afternoon from all over the country and got situated at Camp Galil, shared a meal together and met one another. The following day got to know each other better, through sharing stories about what brought us to Sunrise and what we love and could lose to climate change.
We got oriented to how we’re spending our time together throughout the 6 months of bootcamp and the work we’ll be doing. We talked about our organizing and volunteer model and the ways we’ll bring new people into the movement and build our army of young people to stop climate change.
Later on in the day, we dove into a training on “What’s the Problem?” that gets at what the causes of climate change are, who’s responsible for the crisis (HINT: it’s the fossil fuel billionaires), and what the solutions are.
We closed the evening with a grounding ritual. Each Sunrise Semester fellow shared about an object they brought that represents something they love and are fighting to protect from climate change. The purpose of the ritual is to see the diversity and commonalities in the people, places, communities and values that bring us to this fight. As each person brought forward their object, the room said in unity, “and I’m fighting for that, too.” We placed the objects on an altar and lit three candles honoring and holding space for the past (those who came before us in the long fight for a better world, and whose shoulders we stand on), present (the communities currently being affected by climate and environmental injustice), and future (those who we will leave this world to).
It was a fantastic and full first day — stay tuned for updates from Day 2 and beyond!