You can organize an activist training camp in your community to provide women with the skills they need to become unstoppable activists during the upcoming election season and beyond. The training can be as small as 10 women learning skills in someone's living room or as large as 100 women who've traveled from all different parts of the state just to participate in the training camp. Below are basic tips for organizing an activist training. For additional help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Activist Training Camp Recipe
A home-grown favorite for local activists! Creating a savory, exciting, fulfilling activist training camp is easy and fun! You could plan a 3 hour gathering, a day-long retreat, or a weekend overnight with an action! CODEPINK national organizers are here to help you every step of the way. For help getting started, contact email@example.com.
- CODEPINK activists
- Time on International Women's Day
- A friendly space
- Big helpings of ideas and imagination
- Large bowl of practical details
- Spicy pink sauce of humor and fun
- Mix together thoroughly a team of 3 time-tested local activists who are committed to the local chapter and the causes of CODEPINK!
- Enthusiastically form a plan for the Activist Training Camp: goals, outline of training (welcome, workshops, art/talent show, etc.) and admin details.
- Select a space (home, community center, YMCA or YWCA) and a time (an afternoon, the day of March 8, or the whole weekend of March 8-9).(Optional)
- Fold in trainers or presenters from allied non-profit organizations, such as League of Young Voters, Veterans for Peace, the National Lawyers Guild, or the American Friends Service Committee.
- Cook up some tasty workshops on topics of interest to your group such as media, war tax resistance, outreach to new members, creating visuals, voter education, US-Iran relations, Women for Peace in History ~ the possibilities are many!
Ideas for Training Sessions/Workshops
- Voter registration and education
- Public speaking
- How to get the media's attention
- Community organizing and campaign strategy 101
- Incorporating art and culture into your activism
- Translating the news into creative actions
- Anti-racist organizing/anti-oppression training
- Whatever other skills people in your group or community really need (facilitating meetings, youth and student organizing, lobbying, fundraising, nonviolent direct action, using the Internet and WWW, etc.)
Sample Schedule For Day-Long Camp
- 8:30 AM: Registration
- 9 - 10 AM: Opening session - Speech by an inspiring woman (or women) on the importance of women's activism, history of women's activism or successful women's activist struggles
- 10 AM - Noon: Voter Registration and Education Training
- Noon - 1 PM: Lunch Break (or you could serve lunch and have people participate in a brainstorming session about women's issues and activism in your community or invite a musician to perform uplifting, political music)
- 1 PM - 2:45 PM: Community Organizing and Campaign Strategy 101
(More ambitious groups could schedule another workshop at the same time, such as anti-racist organizing/anti-oppression training)
- 3 PM - 4:45 PM: How to Get the Media's Attention
(More ambitious groups could schedule another workshop at the same time, such as incorporating art and culture into your activism)
- 5 PM - 6 PM: The Power of Pink: Translating the News Into Creative Actions
- 6 PM Dinner or party or cultural event or just go home and cal it a day!
How To Find Trainers
There are dozens of amazing trainers in every single community. They work at nonprofits and community-based organizations, doing fundraising, PR and other types of work. Just call your favorite nonprofits and activist groups and ask who would be the best person from their organization to do a training on the specific topic you want covered. If that person isn't available on the day of your training camp, ask her/him to suggest other trainers.
You can also find out about local trainers from the following organizations, or call the CODEPINK national office for help:
Ruckus Society, www.ruckus.org
League of Pissed Off Voters, www.indyvoter.org (voter education and registration) RANT (Root Activist Network of Trainers), www.rantcollective.net/
Training for Change, www.trainingforchange.org/
How To Find A Location For The Training
A training camp can be as small as 10 people who are being trained in someone's living room or as big as 100 people who are split into 4 different workshops being offered simultaneously. Depending on the number of people you expect, you can either use someone's house or backyard or rent an affordable space at a community center, library, school or church. Some nonprofits are also willing to rent out their conference rooms for a very low rate, especially if their staff people are allowed to attend the workshops.
How To Spread The Word
Once you've decided on the date and location, you can start to spread the word! See Outreach Ideas. Here are a few more ideas:
- Collaborate! Co-sponsor the activist camp with other local groups (youth groups, women's groups, etc.) and ask them to promote the camp with their members (on email lists, in newsletters, etc.)
- Distribute flyers. Create a basic half-page flyer for the camp (sample text below and a template is available from the CODEPINK national office) and hand it out at every community event you can think of - from political protests to movies to street festivals. Also post flyers - on college campuses, at bus stops, and anywhere else in town where people might read them.
- Flood the email lists. Post an email alert (sample text below) to progressive email lists and websites. Ask the trainers to also send an email to their lists.
- Get listed in newspaper calendar listings. Send a basic listing to the calendar editors of your local newspapers. The listing usually needs to be sent in at least 2 weeks in advance.
- Record a public service announcement. If you have a community radio station in town, find out if they accept written or recorded PSAs (public service announcements). Send them a PSA in the appropriate format and length. The same goes for local NPR stations and even commercial radio stations. Again, this needs to be sent way in advance of the training camp.
- Call other community groups. Call organizations that might be interested in telling their members about the trainings - other activist groups, nonprofits, progressive churches, youth groups, etc.
The CODEPINK offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles can help you with finding trainers in your area or, if you have funds to fly someone in, trainers from other parts of the country. We can also send you more sample material and help with any other support you need. Don't hesitate to contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.