Last weekend, the campaign kicked off the summer with two days of intense Summer Organizer training. Twenty-four organizers from South Bend to New Albany descended upon Indianapolis to learn the skills and strategies needed for effective organizing. The diversity of our class of Summer Organizers extends beyond where they call “home”; they are students, parents, working professionals, retirees, young, mature, campaign novices, and seasoned veterans.
Volunteer leader Anne G. shared her personal story of why she’s involved with the campaign with the Summer Organizers to illustrate the power of a fine-tuned story in connecting with potential volunteers. The Summer Organizers were challenged to craft their personal stories and share them in small groups. Brenda F., a Summer Organizer, volunteered to share her personal story with the whole group and moved many people in the room to tears. When Brenda’s son was in fourth grade, she was unable to help him with his homework. This motivated Brenda to go back to school and, eleven years later, she earned a master’s degree in social work. Brenda said she is in for 2012 because of the President’s strong education agenda.
State staff and volunteer leaders taught the Summer Organizers our model for team building, how to plan events, the importance of digital strategies, the agenda of a one-on-one meeting, and much more. The Summer Organizers know the importance of their role in building the grassroots organization in Indiana and now have the tools they need to carry out their goals.
Although they spent much of the weekend learning organizing skills from Indiana’s staff and volunteer leaders, the Summer Organizers also had to practice their new skills. On the second day of training, the Summer Organizers practiced phone banking, and after just an hour, they had scheduled 33 one-on-one meetings!
Indiana’s Summer Organizers are all in for 2012 and want to turn Indiana blue again. After a great weekend of training, these organizers are ready to protect our progress and change their communities for years to come. As Hugh B. said, “If I want to see change, I have to help initiate it.” Indiana’s Summer Organizers’ vision for change is clear—now they are ready to initiate it.