Last Day at STAND Camp!
By Regional Organizer Aaron Alberico
Everyone awoke, for their last day of training, to a hum of empowerment that had overtaken Pearlstone Retreat Center.
To start the morning session, Regional Organizer Zach Ackerman lead a workshop called “Story of Self.” Based on the simple premise that each and every one of us has a story to tell, the workshop focused on helping upSTANDers learn to tell a story about themselves, the community they organize, and the strategy that motivates others to join them in creating change. After Zach shared the basics of Story of Self with the group, everyone broke out into teams to work on a smaller, more individual basis to both create and fine tune individual stories. Once we reassembled as a group, people were nominated to share their stories. Nominations were everywhere and one by one people began sharing their stories about why they became involved in the anti-genocide movement. They ranged from overcoming bullying to recognizing racial disparities on campus.
After the Story of Self workshop, Katie Flamand, former field director for Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund, lead a discussion about creating field plans and how to recruit, manage, and mobilize volunteers. Fortunately the discussion was moved outside, offering refuge from the sub-arctic temperatures inside and allowing for a more intimate group discussion.
Soon we broke for lunch during which chapters shared best practices about everything club-related. This included how to best organize leadership positions, what recruitment methods work best (besides free pizza), and what events were most successful. Following the week-long tradition, everyone intermingled at different tables so that no one would leave STANDCamp without having met everyone else at least once.
Throughout lunch (and basically the entire day) everyone was getting pumped up for STANDCamp’s final guest speaker, Omékongo Dibinga. But before Omékongo performed, STANDCamp’s very own upSTANDer Daniel Cowen of Syracuse University performed some original spoken word. To finish the weekend off strong, Omékongo took the stage delivering a passionate slam poetry performance. The energy and excitement could be felt throughout the room.
That excitement never dissipated, even as STANDCamp was officially ending. The Red Team would come to win the team challenge that had been going on all week. But the true winners are every single person that has ever taken a STAND against genocide and taken part in our nation-wide movement. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next National Conference on October 21st in Washington, D.C!
Check out a clip of Omekongo’s STAND Song below, and see the full song here!