Since you are an EFC supporter, we know that you care about lifting every voice — that you understand the crucial need for that in a true participatory democracy.

We are in the midst of a fierce struggle over the fundamental question of who gets to have a say in the decisions that affect all of our lives. Not only has there been an attempt at a coup against our democracy, but many people do not believe their voices are being heard by our government. Young people, people of color, people with lower education and lower income are under-represented in our political process and that affects their quality of life: “… they are known as “low propensity voters.” They vote at much lower levels than richer, Whiter, older, and more highly educated people and so their voices are not heard in the same way.”— Miles Rapoport, 1966 Encamper and co-author of 100% Democracy

Add to that the reproductive rights of women, the lack of representation of LGBTQIA+ people and immigrants, and that’s a lot of people who don’t feel heard in our country. Since you are an EFC supporter, we know that you care about lifting every voice — that you understand the crucial need for that in a true participatory democracy.

We are two EFC alums writing to ask you to help us lift every voice in our country, starting with this summer’s program: “In my experience, years of being silenced/disregarded challenges the human psyche and can make you feel completely isolated. That is why programs like the EFC are crucial. The EFC’s diversity and immersive approach are vital in lifting our voices. When I arrived at the Encampment, the sight of a rich tapestry of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural, and gender representation among both youth and staff assured me that I would be accepted and heard.” — Ola, 2023 Encamper

How does the Encampment create this diversity? By making sure every applicant who is accepted can participate, regardless of their family’s income level. It’s people like you who make this possible. This is your opportunity to invest in creating the level playing field for participatory democracy where every voice is heard at the Encampment — and beyond.

As both our lives demonstrate, lifting diverse voices translates into action. Wherever the Encampment is located, we go out into the community to learn. Miles’s Encampment, based in rural Appalachia, went door-to-door as part of a War on Poverty program, offering to paint mailboxes or do other labor, and talking and often staying with the people who lived there, giving them a lived experience of grassroots organizing. He did that as part of a multicultural group “… hashing over those issues of the day in a cauldron of emotion, identity, and ideology. It changed me from a liberal into someone who has dedicated my life to social justice, economic justice and racial equality.” Based on his EFC experience, Miles went on to be a community organizer; served in public office; was president of Demos and then Common Cause; and is now executive director of 100%Democracy, an organization that advocates for universal voting — another way to lift voices that are currently silent.

At the 2023 Encampment, based in Ventura County, California, Ola — an Iraqi-American born in Egypt  — met a farmworker who shared his family’s story. She reflects: “I am a refugee born on the other side of the ocean. Our story is similar to theirs, except we were documented. It reminded me, ‘This could have been you.’ I arrived on a plane; he walked eight hours to cross the border with only what he could carry on his back.” Like Miles, Ola arrived as an activist and her experiences at the Encampment deepened her commitment and gave her new skills that she took home to her community. She helped overhaul the mentor selection process at her school to ensure a more diverse set of students was involved. Now, students who don’t speak English or just migrated to the U.S. are supported by people who share their experiences and speak their native language.

In 2024, we are holding the summer program at one of the epicenters of civil and voting rights activism: Montgomery, Alabama. Activists there have enthusiastically embraced the Encampment approach and are collaborating on the curriculum that will, once again, be an immersion in the community and its work for justice.

Civil and voting rights affect us all and the young people who participate in the Encampment want to make sure that all voices are lifted, strengthening our democracy and our country.

Join us by donating today to our sponsorship fund to guarantee that every applicant who is accepted can attend, regardless of family income level. Every gift makes a difference! Click to donate online or send a check to Encampment, PO Box 1210, Aptos, CA 95001. Our Federal EIN is 30-0694938.

Ola and Miles

2023 Encampment with community organizer Andi Garcia in Santa Barbara’s Ortega Park. Ola is in middle standing to the left of Ms.Garcia who is pointing to her right. Click to view Ola’s recruitment pitch video. Click to learn more about the 2024 Encampment and apply.


Miles has co-authored 100% Democracy with E.J. Dionne. He is the Executive Director of 100%Democracy, an initiative for universal voting.

Click to view an interview with Bob Herbert ( on universal voting.