A little over two months ago I showed up in Colorado after a 1,800 mile drive from the east coast. Beyond being a beautiful place to be, Colorado is a swing state and will be important in 2012. I was heading there to become a summer organizer, yet when asked by friends and family what I was going to be doing, I only had a vague idea of what it took to get more people involved in the campaign.
Along with dozens of other volunteers, I set out on my summer voyage. We experienced both clear and cloudy skies along the way, but we kept moving forward. Some days, I would leave work frustrated because I couldn’t reach another person on the phones, or scheduling one-on-ones was fruitless. But when the good days came, as they inevitably would, they would make the hard days worthwhile.
My “light bulb moment” came after a President’s birthday house party I attended. My volunteer, Bev (below), who only five weeks prior had become involved in the campaign, was holding court in her home and feeling proud to be part of the campaign. She asked if I wanted to say anything at the beginning, but I took our value of empowerment to heart and told her that she knew what to say and that she’d do great. And she did: She ran the entire show. I left the party confident that Bev and volunteers just like her are the people who will now be leading us into 2012.
Driving home that evening, I thought back to a meeting I had with a Foreign Service Officer. In our meeting he told me how you judge success when you are in one place only for a short time. “If you can implement two or three small positive changes when you are in a country, then you had a good tour.” The people I worked with and trained are my legacy from the Summer Organizer program. I am proud of my time in Colorado, but I am most proud of those who are carrying on what we built as Summer Organizers.
Ready for your “light bulb moment” as an organizer? Apply to be a Fall Fellow here.