The Skywriter

RootsCamp 2010 wrap-up: Organizing For the Win (VIDEO)


RootsCamp 2010 wrap-up: Organizing For the Win (VIDEO)


1Sky was a proud sponsor of New Organizing Institute’s (NOI) RootsCamp that took place last weekend at George Washington University in Washington, DC. This marked the fifth anniversary of NOI’s RootsCamp "unconference", where organizers set the meeting agenda, share lessons learned, schmooze (I dislike the term “network”, but yeah, network), and drive the conversation about best practices in organizing.

For our team, the event came after a long day and night watching the final steps for the modest agreement in Cancun. Our sensitivities were highly tuned for the work we had done to that point and how we need to organize for the climate movement going forward (knowing we have a lot to do next year). Coming after an 18-month stretch of organizing around federal climate legislation and a disappointing midterm election, it was refreshing to meet with other climate and environmental groups, discuss ideas with groups from other progressive causes, and meet with leaders of all stripes to talk about best practices and what’s next for organizers across the country.

The theme of “Learn, Celebrate, and Grow” was immediately set at the Saturday morning open plenary with a fantastic opening video (see below) that detailed the successes, challenges, and opportunities that organizers face every day in every campaign. Everyone became a student of organizing to some degree; even some of the top organizers could gather wisdom and best practices from other groups. In a year that was tough for climate and a lot of other progressive causes, it was good to see groups celebrating their achievements, especially in keeping up the progressive voice towards making changes, whether that was in health care, equal rights, or climate and environmental issues. Finally, we all recognized that our movements will create an impact when we bring in new voices and expand our messages and actions.

1Sky’s Liz Butler led one of the first sessions discussing how progressive groups and movements can work together to pressure President Obama to champion our causes. Together, session participants brought up a number of reasons why we must push together for change we all worked so hard to achieve back in 2008, including the need to lead the national conversation and to push back on those who want to keep the status quo. 1Sky supporters certainly know that pressing President Obama’s administration for climate leadership has been a big part of our 2010 actions. From what we heard in session, many other groups are doing the same and will continue to do so over the next two years.

Most organizers took the theme seriously (as evidence by this great conference word cloud from NRDC’s Apollo Gonzales). The phrase I heard a lot was “FTW” (“for the win” in text-speak). “The win” means many things to many different groups; in working with you, it means creating a movement that open the eyes of our leaders in Washington to possibilities we have right now to fighting climate change and changing our economy.

NOI held a great conference, and like all good organizers, they want feedback. You can tell NOI what we did well in 2010, and what you need more of in 2011? And if you’re not familiar with their work, check out their Organizing Toolbox for some fantastic resources to help you lead your community.

PS - 1Sky’s table at the RootsCamp Career Fair was a hit as well, thanks to the many folks who came by our table to talk with us about the climate movement and what we have planned for 2011. Interested in joining us? View our job postings online.

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