Michael Carter (above, far right) has been named EFC’s new program director, replacing Jane Sapp, who is now the education director. Ms. Sapp says, “Michael Carter is the perfect person at this moment in time to move the Encampment forward and continue and grow the work of inspiring and cultivating young social justice activists. He is anchored in the history and culture of community. Michael is a very creative person, teacher and leader who works with people by really listening to and respecting them, framing always in the ‘we‘ versus the ‘I.’ People turn to him because he always has a vision and sees beyond the moment.”
Mr. Carter is passionate about the Encampment and the transformation he has seen in the young people who have participated. “There has never been a more urgent time for programs like the Encampment for Citizenship in my lifetime,” he says. “The country is at a crucial crossroads—will we be a divisive nation, or will we be a nation that stands together to improve, in unity? Children are growing up without empathy, without a love for community, without a sense of the power of community. Still, there is hope. Despite the fact that our country appears to be moving backward, the work to shift this downward trajectory is ongoing with programs like the Encampment for Citizenship.”
He continues, “My vision is to strengthen the organization and expand its reach. The country is depending on the work of organizations like the EFC to turn feelings of despair and division around. I want to engage recent Encampers as part of teams that reach out to more young people and adults in their communities who would introduce many more people to the Encampment.”
The 2017 Encampment will focus on what it means to be an activist global citizen in these divisive times. The first week focuses on the creation of community and sharing of culture, since building community is the foundation of any movement toward equality, the “epicenter for movement,” in Mr. Carter’s words. The Encampers will investigate the communities surrounding the summer program site to understand the different elements of these communities: their challenges, resiliency, leadership and movements for social justice. They will also explore how decisions are made and look at issues of democracy and equality. For instance:
• To what degree is everyone’s voice heard and included?
• How does the community we have created resemble our definition of democracy?
• What adjustments must be made within our community to match our definition of democracy?
These questions will extend into the local community governments, to the state, national and global levels as the Encampers grapple with the meaning, responsibilities and actions of activist global citizenship. They will do this by forming their own governance structure, participating in focused learning in core workshops and sharing within the larger group.
2017 Encampers are passionate about social justice issues, including racial and gender justice, immigration reform, food justice, rights of indigenous peoples, and environmental destruction. Field trips will add hands-on experience in community mapping and opportunities to converse with youth from other organizations about the onsite presentations, discussions and speakers.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN ACTIVIST GLOBAL CITIZEN?
The summer’s theme continues in our fifth Annual InterGen(erational) Weekend, July 21–23, 2017, to be held near the conclusion of the summer program at Hampshire
College, Amherst, MA. Margot Gibney, EFC executive director, promises the usual mix of fun interactive activities—with a few surprises this year. “We are keeping the activities that people have enjoyed the most in past years, while adding more depth where we can,” she says. “The intergenerational aspect is the heart of the weekend. The most recent Encampers are eager to learn from and connect with older alums—they will have
many questions for them! This year, we are inviting people, when they register, to ask the questions they have for this new generation of activists, so it will be a reciprocal process. This process will strengthen our vision of global activism as an organization—we will be looking at strategies for mobilizing EFC’s intergenerational community as a force for change.”
“The weekend had the feeling of a family reunion. Feelings of respect, genuineness and passion were everywhere. The relationships between Encampers and alums were honest and sincere. The workshops were informative and productive. The student performances were heartwarming and heartbreaking as they reflected the issues of the day. I think we all left the weekend a little more thankful, hopeful and ‘woke.’” —Board member Steve Davis on the 2016 InterGen