At the end of the first week in August, we wrapped up Colorado’s Summer Organizer program, and that gave me a chance to reflect on how this campaign works to develop people as community organizers – because I started as a summer organizer back in 2009.
Although my focus as a summer organizer was to support for health insurance reform, my experience paralleled that of the more recent 2011 summer organizers. Both programs created public awareness and built neighborhood support around current issues – and, most importantly got people to take action.
Making the “hard ask” to convert supporters to volunteers was a challenge for our crew of brand new organizers. I met that challenge by regularly training and practicing with them, and then showing them how to do it by joining them on the phones for call time. We can talk about theory all we want, but unless it’s put into practice they can’t see that the theory works.
Throughout the summer, I wanted to inspire my organizers to take this opportunity to make change and run with it, just like I did.
And they did. In 2011, OFA summer organizers and volunteers registered and updated the voter registration information of thousands of Colorado voters everywhere, from summer festivals and farmer’s markets to local libraries and parks. But even more critical to building our grassroots campaign was the summer organizers’ outstanding ability to hold in-person conversations with local supporters. They listened to countless supporters’ ideas about what this campaign should look like in their neighborhood. This summer we created a new group of organizers that from now on will be able to reach into communities and activate the President’s supporters on the ground level.
Organizing is difficult, but my team of organizers was a strong one. I will always value their commitment, and I feel confident that as they move forward in their lives, our work together has made a positive impact on their professional development – and my own. When faced with challenges, we found constructive solutions together. I’m proud to be part of this growing community of organizers.
If you are interested in getting involved with Colorado’s campaign effort, the Fall Fellows Program is the best way to gain hands-on organizing experience while creating a lasting impression on your community. So don’t hesitate, apply today.