News & Events
A message from former Board Member Andrea Rabinowitz:
I have chosen the Encampment for Citizenship to be a recipient of memorial gifts that celebrate the life of my husband, Alan Rabinowitz.
Alan supported so many wonderful people and their causes; he believed deeply in all of them and that together we can keep our world on course somehow. To pick only one, together we chose a group that touched on all of his concerns: grassroots activism, peace, political involvement, environment, young people, inner healing, and group cooperation.
The Encampment is a summer gathering which teaches Civics and civility, self-empowerment and compassion in the context of a larger whole, intercultural understanding and deep appreciation, and once you have been to the Encampment you are part of a lifelong group of activists and healers.
The Encampment was founded right after World War II and the founders were from deep in my childhood and community. Alan and I were on the board together in the mid-1950s; it was one of the first progressive activities that I brought Alan into as we began our journey together. The Encampment has been revived in the last 5 years and we have worked with Margot Gibney, who found it transformative as a teenager, to continue to offer this life-changing experience to teens from all parts of this wonderful country.
The Encampment is a small tightly run organization and your donation will make a difference to it and to the young people that it inspires.
Lastly, we hope this provides an impetus to get to know this group: it may enrich your life as it has ours, perhaps you will keep an eye on it in the future, or know a teen who might benefit from a summer in their program.
Thank you deeply for any gift you make to them in honor of my beloved Alan. Visit the Make a Donation page to make a gift.
Isaac Ben Ezra, Member of the First Encampment in 1946, and Lifelong Social Justice Advocate
Taken at the summer program July 2017 (photo credit KC O’Hara, EFC alum 2014 Chicago).
It is with sadness, that we report the death of Isaac Ben Ezra on October 4, 2017. This interview was conducted before and after the 2017 Encampment at Hampshire College. Isaac visited this year’s summer program where he shared his life story—a one-person record of the great movements for human rights in the 20th and 21st centuries. He also participated in the 2017 InterGen(erational) Weekend at the culmination of the summer program. Read more »
EFC Alum and Staff Member Bob Young
We are saddened by the recent death of Bob Young, EFC alum and staff member. This interview, conducted in the week before his death, was sent to us by his “EFC brother” Ed Peeples.
A memorial for Bob will take place on Saturday March 17, 2018, from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Wilson Center at the Friends School of Virginia Beach (1537 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA). See more information.
70th Anniversary Celebration Returns to EFC's Roots to Celebrate and Support 21st-century Encampment
The New York Society for Ethical Culture hosted the Encampment’s 70th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, with day-long interactive activities and an evening presentation by EFC alums from the early decades of the program through 2016 Encampers.
Announcing the new Youth Advisory Council
On November 18, 2016, the Encampment ran a youth board training for recent Encampers. At the training the Encampers identified key issues they wished to address, learned about how a non-profit organization runs, and set goals for their new Youth Advisory Council to accomplish within the next 12 months. The Youth Advisory Council creates a new mechanism for young people to be involved with the Encampment on an ongoing basis.
This council will meet monthly to discuss ideas, support summer programming initiatives, devise new program opportunities and represent youth issues to the Board of Directors. Contact the Youth Advisory Council.
Second-annual benefit to support the participation of Pomfret scholarship students in the Encampment.
Sunday, May 14, 2017, 8:30 - 10 AM
Pomfret School Blodgett Tennis Center, Pomfret, CT
Suggested Donation $50 per person
Play or watch, and enjoy the company of friends! Light refreshments will be available.
Please let us know you're coming by May 9, 2017. RSVP to Deb Thurston, 860.963.6129
If you can't attend please consider supporting Pomfret students' participation in the Encampment through the Pomfret Fund or donate to the Encampment.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 5 PM
44 North Prospect Street, Amherst, MA
This event, sponsored by the Peace Development Fund, will highlight the Encampment for Citizenship's upcoming 2017 summer program for youth, a life-changing experience in participatory democracy. Come and enjoy refreshments & inspiration.
Youth Board Launches as Part of EFC's 70th Celebration
We have a committed group of 2015 and 2016 alums who want to take the EFC to the next level by forming a Youth Board, and we’re fundraising to get them trained to do that!
Help Us Get to $4,000!
Through a generous donation from the TomKat Fund of the San Francisco Foundation, our accommodation expenses are covered. We still need your help to cover airfares for Encampers from South Dakota and California, food and drink, training facilitators and materials.
Check out the Generosity campaign they helped to create and give what you can.
70th Anniversary Celebration Returns to EFC's Roots to Celebrate and Support 21st-century Encampments
The New York Society for Ethical Culture will host the Encampment’s 70th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, with day-long interactive activities and an evening presentation by EFC alums from the early decades of the program through 2016 Encampers.
Saturday November 19, 2016, 10:15 am - 9pm
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street New York, New York (directions)
The evening speakers program includes American Indian activist Ada Deer; Miles Rapoport, former president of Common Cause and Demos; U.S. Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal; Peter Neufeld, founder of the Innocence Project; and Charles Trimble, former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians; Jason Warwin, co-founder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. The evening's emcee will be David Rothenberg, founder of the Fortune Society. They will be
gathering with many other alums from the first 70 years.
Buy your tickets today! »
Registration deadline is November 12, 2016
Cost of registration is on a sliding scale: standard $125, youth rate $25, Help another alum participate $250, Sustainer $500 (or more!) — help the EFC grow! Let us know if you need financial assistance to attend.
Questions? Contact us!
This day honors EFC founders Algernon D. Black and Alice K. Pollitzer, along with EFC leaders and participants over the years. There will be a slideshow, singing, refreshments and opportunities to bid in a silent auction.
Can't join us that day but want to participate?
Contribute so that the Encampment will be here for future generations of social justice leaders! Donate online, mail a check to Encampment, P.O. Box 1210, Aptos, CA 95001, or call us (831) 515-6775.
Eleanor Roosevelt, Alice K. Pollitzer, Algernon D. Black at an earlier EFC fundraiser.
Eleanor Roosevelt, early EFC supporter, and EFC founder Al Black with Encampers.
EFC'S ORIGINS: FROM DREAM TO REALITY
Al Black's sons, David and Jonathan, and nephew Elliott, will host a reception at 5 p.m. on November 19 for participants in the 70th Anniversary Celebration. This is an opportunity to hear (and share) stories about the founding of the EFC, the co-founders, and the early years. Please join us for this rare opportunity!
Highlights of Encampment 2016
“It’s important to look at the Encampment as what this country is really about — the whole promise of America — as the Great Experiment. Our country dared to bring different people from all over the world together under the promise that we could not just live together but grow together and become something that’s a little bit bigger than ourselves individually. The Encampment gives you an opportunity to do that. The Encampers come together with different perspectives and values, and grapple with putting together their own government for the time that they are going to live here, how they are going to govern themselves, what rules they are going to abide by — that’s a powerful lesson for life.” Steve Davis, EFC board member
Back to our roots — Celebration/Fundraiser at New York Society for Ethical Culture
On November 20, 2015, EFC alums, parents and supporters gathered in camaraderie and to give support for the Encampment’s work with young leaders. Speakers David Rothenberg (EFC 1953, founder of the Fortune Society), Jason Warwin (EFC 1989, co-founder of the Brotherhood/Sista Sol), and Anne Klaeysen (EFC board member, leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture) inspired us all by recounting their EFC experiences. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (EFC 1968) made a surprise visit.
The enthusiastic testimony of recent Encampers and parents emphasized the transformative aspects of the Encampment’s work in these young lives. The EFC’s long history was well represented in the gathering, and youth hopeful to be 2016 Encampers attended, helping us look toward the future. The event was deemed a success by all standards. It provided a place for young and older alums and supporters to meet and be inspired, and for the EFC to raise much-needed funds. Special thanks to alums Nancy Marr (1950) and Jason Neal (1991) for their tireless efforts to organize this event and ongoing recruitment from the New York City area.
Margot Gibney, EFC Executive Director, Ada Deer, and Mabel Picotte, EFC alum and staff.
Ada with Gary Goyke, a former state legislator who is the legislative director for the WI Council of the Blind and a member of the Board of Directors for the environmental group Clean Wisconsin.
Almost 100 friends came to the Goodman Community Center in Madison, WI on Saturday, October 3, to celebrate Ada Deer's 80th birthday and raise awareness and funds for the Encampment for Citizenship.
The program began with a slideshow featuring pictures of Ada and her friends and family, and a video about the EFC. American Indian author, scholar, and documentarian Dr. Patty Loew was the vibrant emcee, introducing speakers, including Dan Nevers from the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work; Larry Nesper from the American Indian Studies Program; Ferial Deer Skye who shared anecdotes about growing up with "the best sister in the world"; and EFC Director Margot Gibney, who shared a list of Ada-isms that resonated with the audience.
Guests ended the event with birthday cake and a toast to Ada proclaiming, "Never Fear, the Deer is Still Here!"
Read more at Isthmus.
The Encampment for Citizenship is saddened by the loss of a beloved community member, William G. Shannon. We send our sincere sympathy to his family and friends. Bill was a courageous advocate for educational opportunities for all; the Executive Director of the Encampment for Citizenship from 1952-58; and a stalwart Encampment supporter throughout the years.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Bill Shannon, please visit our Donation page. After you make your donation, please contact us and let us know that your donation was made in memory of Mr. Shannon.
A celebration of the life of former EFC Executive Director Bill Shannon was held on September 12 in Kensington, MD. Bill died in June at age 93. The upbeat event was attended by more than 100 people from all around the country and featured numerous stories from Bill’s life as told by family and friends. There was live Arabic music (in keeping with his heritage), an extensive slide show and many photos that prompted fond memories. Most importantly, the gathering showed how Bill’s life, love and professional accomplishments continue to affect so many people.
EFC executive director Margot Gibney remarked on Bill's role as mentor and supporter. “ Bill Shannon exemplified a type of leadership that was about lifting others up. By virtue of his hard work, he was creating integration in a time of segregation. His legacy lives on in today’s Encampments.”
In solidarity with the Charleston Emanuel AME Church community
We are appalled and deeply saddened by this latest incidence of domestic terrorism against the African-American community. Our hearts go out to the families and greater community of the shooting victims in Charleston, South Carolina.
Board Chair Ada Deer reflected on this tragedy: “When I first heard about the Charleston Massacre I couldn't believe it—not again! I am heartsick and filled with fury. I vow to turn that fury into action. The Encampment for Citizenship is a powerful force in the fight against racial hatred and oppression.”
EFC board member, Dyanne London, echoed that sentiment, remarking on some of the intense frustration, anger and sense of helplessness we feel over this act of domestic terrorism – shooting black people in a church – and she reminds us all that the Encampment is a beacon of hope—not just for alums but in ever-widening circles of community.
The heinous act of racial terrorism at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston shows how much we need experiences that transform and challenge how we see each other and how we live and work together. As part of the Encampment we have experienced the power of a multicultural community working for social justice.
We ask you to help us to continue to build that community that is a powerful force for love, hope and justice.
Calling all EFC Alums!
Be part of the Encampment movement! Catch up with old friends! Join us in building transformational social justice experiences for today's youth! Fill out the Encampment Alumni Survey today!
Margot Gibney named Encampment Executive Director
The Encampment for Citizenship Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Margot Gibney has been named Executive Director. Ms. Gibney has a long history with the Encampment: as a youth, as summer staff, and as Executive Director (1986-1995). Ms. Gibney has over 25 years of nonprofit management experience. Her experience includes program design and implementation, training and supervision, fundraising, financial management, community outreach, cross-sector collaboration, and all aspects of start-up, operation, and evaluation. Since 2010, Ms. Gibney has been working with a group of committede Encampment alums to re-establish the Encampment for today's youth.
The EFC Board of Directors extends congratulations to Margot Gibney and anticipates a continued strong working relationship as the Encampment moves forward.
Top 5 reasons to support the Encampment
We need your support! Why? Here are some good reasons:
5) Because it’s a good idea.
4) Because it’s the best return-on-your-investment.
3) Because young people are the future and the present.
2) Because it creates community.
1) Because your commitment to supporting the Encampment makes a difference!
Read more »
Jean Somerville Kotkin Memorial Fund
We are honored to announce that the Jean Somerville Kotkin Memorial Fund has been established at the American Ethical Union. This fund will provide support to young people with financial need who wish to attend the Encampment in 2014 or later years. Jon Kerner (EFC '65) and Beth Kotkin (EFC '69) initiated this fund to both honor their mother and support the Encampment. Jean Somerville Kotkin was the first president of the American Ethical Union and an ardent supporter of the EFC. To donate, send a check (made out to AEU with notation "for EFC-JSK Fund") to 2 West 64th Street, Suite 406, New York, NY 10023.