Recent Programs: 2013 Encampment
The July 2013 program was the first Encampment of the 21st century. During this pilot program, Encampers:
- Explored the intersections of history and contemporary social justice issues.
- Lived in an Encampment community with youth and adults from many cultures and backgrounds.
- Developed their leadership potential.
- Presented their perspectives on various issues through the arts and multi-media.
- Participated in discussions with national policy-makers and legislators in Washington, DC.
- Helped govern their Encampment community.
- Shared their vision for the future of the Encampment.
The Virginia Commonwealth University campus provided a welcoming home for the 2013 Encampment. Encampers and staff enjoyed secure dormitory living. The “community room” served as the hub for Encampment activities, from workshops to an Encamper talent show.
Encampers participated in a youth focus group at the Department of Justice.
During the first week, Encampers and staff got to know one another as a community. They explored a number of themes: human rights, ethnic and cultural identity, historical injustices and their legacy today, and government from the community level to federal. Field trips introduced them to Richmond’s history of both racial oppression and civil rights activism. They visited Washington, DC and participated in a focus group on youth issues, hosted by the Office of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention. While in Washington, they also met with U.S. Congressional Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton and toured the National Museum of the American Indian. Guest speakers, role-playing, discussions, and Encamper-designed activities rounded out the curriculum.
U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (1957 Encamper) greeted Bill Shannon (1957 Encampment Director).
During the second week, Encampers investigated current issues of personal interest to them. They worked in small groups to prepare multi-media presentations, coached by staff. Jane Sapp, a nationally known musician, educator and cultural worker, helped the youth write a song to reflect their experiences. The Encampers presented their issues through poetry, music, dance, spoken word, video, and multi-media at a spectacular program on July 13. The audience of alumni, local and national supporters, family, and friends responded enthusiastically. The Encampment wrapped up with a Talking Circle at which Encampers and staff shared their insights and perspectives on their 2-week experience. Encampers returned home with new skills, new insights, and new friends.
Shaping the Future
The 2013 Encampers helped to shape the new Encampment. They worked with staff to envision a program that responds to the interests of young people and aims squarely at what’s important in the world today. They shared their vision with the Encampment board and will continue to be involved in shaping the “Encampment of the future.”