Opportunities for Year-Round Engagement
Year-round programming creates a vibrant EFC community that supports and sustains its members as they work for economic, political, environmental and social justice.
The summer program is the heart of the Encampment. It is a true experience in democracy where young people from a wide variety of backgrounds gather for three weeks in a supportive multicultural Encampment community to explore issues of concern to them and our society.
Throughout the year, we provide support for recent and older alums and the larger EFC community through several strategies.
2021 Virtual InterGen.
Encampers participate with Encampment alums, staff, parents and supporters in the InterGen(erational) program ...
— a reunion, discussion and celebration of what the Encampers learned during the summer intensive. This annual event is also an opportunity for recent Encampers to network with other alums as they put their experiences to work in local projects. The event gives them access to a community of adults with a variety of knowledge, skills, careers and experience who attended Encampments in past decades.
“Thank you, organizers — as a parent, I am so glad about the work the Encampment does with the young people and the intergenerational knowledge and skills-sharing that occurs.” – Demetria Shabazz, 2020 parent
“It is the most immediate way to know what youth are dealing with in their school & community; It comes out in their reporting, words, song & art.” — Roni King, 71MT alum (2021 InterGen)
“People in my [InterGen] breakout group encouraged me to make my action plan work – to go in ready to make a change. It’s inspiring and helpful that people believe that I can make this plan work and make a difference in my community.” – Nicholas, 2020 Encamper
“I’m inspired by the social construct of authentic learning. As an educator, this is the way we need to allow youth to learn. Find their passion, what is important in their community, learning and connecting to see various perspectives and creating an action plan to improve their communities …” — Veronica Rauschenberger, EFC organizational partner and supporter
Follow-up Six-Month Action Planning Program
Six month calendar slide.
As part of the EFC’s ongoing vision to provide more follow-up support for the Encampers’ action plans, the young people now have an option to extend their EFC experience through November.
This takes the form of large-group Zoom meetings, smaller-group meetings with Program Director Jesus Salcido Chavarria, and individual support for specific challenges in implementing their action plans.
While the program emphasizes taking action, there is no expectation that action plans will be complete by November — only that they will be underway.
The group has an orientation in June, with the summer intensive following in July. They meet again in August to learn the basics of the follow-up program and for reorientation on the structure, content, and scheduling meetings.
From September through November, the whole group meets with the program director every two weeks to focus on elements of the action plan process, including specific strategies for communication, community engagement, and time management. Encampers are encouraged to reflect on their ideas in an open discussion setting. Everyone participates and offers support to their peers, so relationships continue to develop. The whole-group meeting is also an opportunity for young people to talk about what is on their minds in regard to current events or issues at the forefront of their lives.
In addition to the whole-group meetings, each young person meets individually with the program director to discuss their plan’s details, their struggles, and any adjustments they feel need to be made.
In addition, we will introduce our organizational partners, such as Peace First and The Changemaker Project, which assist with the implementation of young people’s projects, including funding opportunities.
An example of an action plan that was created during the follow-up program arose from a question from an Encamper who wants to address the climate crisis in her community. She asked, “What can I do in my community to make it more sustainable?” The group helped this Encamper brainstorm ideas, including organizing to start a composting system at her school. Later, she asked about how to figure out “Who else in my community cares about sustainability?” These questions resulted in a week-long educational series and composting workshop organized by the Encamper. Teachers, students, and business and restaurant owners participated in her “Week of Sustainability” series at her school. Her peers were so engaged that a permanent student-led composting system is now in place.
2021 Encampers worked on projects addressing systemic racism in primarily White institutions that they attend by bringing awareness to the lack of educators of color employed in boarding schools and higher education; starting a Black student alliance; and putting on a pop-up arts festival exploring themes of love and resilience.
Young people in previous years have started social justice clubs, advocated for Dreamer legislation, helped to organize Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and participated in Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns.
A 2021 Encamper said this about the follow-up program:
“It was one week before the week of [sustainability] lectures began, and I wasn’t feeling really confident about it. I was not that sure, and ready to give up because I didn’t think people would engage with the project. I discussed that with Jesus (Salcido Chavarria, program director) and he encouraged me and answered a few questions. He said that ‘having this anxiety before starting things is normal; it’s OK.’ It was really nice to have someone who understood that and could help me through the whole process. When everything was happening, it happened a bit fast, but I would send pictures to Jesus and the Encampers, and they were really supportive. It was another bonding moment where we could share our concerns and the happy moments and all of it.”
Pesticide-Free Soil Project
PFSP project featured at the 2021 Santa Barbara Virtual Earth Day.
The Pesticide-Free Soil Project Internship is part of our Ventura County Environmental Justice Learning and Action Project (EJLAP).
It offers next-step education, leadership development and community organizing experiences for recent local EFC alums. This program provides stipends for young people who are often working 2 or 3 jobs in addition to attending high school or college.
In 2019, the Ventura County Pesticide-Free Soil Project (PFSP) evolved from a collaboration with EFC alums, local schools and community-based organizations shining a light on the issue of pesticide-use at school sites and its impact on people in the surrounding neighborhoods. Under the leadership of Project Director Florencia Ramirez and Intern Director Juna Rosales Muller, we are focusing on building leadership among youth in Ventura County, including some from farmworker families, to address pesticide use and other issues.
A core of local EFC alums plus 2020 Encampers are engaged in more training and organizing experience in conjunction with our organizational partners: Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Abundant Table, El Rio School District, Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), the Public Health Institute, and the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE).
Current projects include a social media project documenting what they are learning; a 15-minute video giving an overview of the PFSP project that featured at the 2021 Santa Barbara Virtual Earth Day; and The Other Strawberry Festival: Stories of People, Land and Resistance, a virtual gathering about food system justice, held on Sunday, May 23, 2021 and hosted by the Pesticide-Free Soil Project and the MICOP Tequio Youth Group. This event includes an Art and Poetry Contest for young people 22 and under.
Social Justice in Action
SJIA Zoom Series
The Social Justice in Action Zoom Series engages alums and supporters of all ages in learning and discussion about current social justice issues and will provide more opportunities for networking.
The first in the series, First Nations: Rising Voices focused on the effects of COVID-19 on First Nations communities. The second is PFSP’s upcoming The Other Strawberry Festival on May 23. Sign up here.
EFC Community Workshops
The EFC’s community workshops are collaborative events that use arts, community-building and a critical-thinking approach to inspire action in schools and community organizations.
In 2020, interns for the Youth Advisory Council facilitated with EFC’s education director a workshop focused on voting for the PACE University Black Student Union. In previous years, nearly 700 youth in locales as diverse as the Calhoun School (New York) and Tiospa Zina Tribal School (South Dakota) participated in workshops focusing on issues of concern to that student body or organization.
“We were able to discuss topics that we normally don’t discuss as a group. Gave me great ideas and solutions for problems at school.” — Wight Foundation Scholar
“The Encampment for Citizenship … is an inspiration for those involved in progressive ideals and helps the younger generation understand the challenges they, too, will need to face so the world can always have hope for the future.” — Mirta, Upper School Spanish teacher, Calhoun School
Community Workshop at Calhoun School.
Both the Encampment program and working at the farm have been such unique experiences.
Not only have these programs inspired me to be better for my community, but they have shown me ways that I can. Through Zoom and hands-on learning, they give me tools that I didn’t realize I needed, to make an impact larger than myself.