Two generous gifts, now I'm over half way to a lower goal!
I have been given two generous gifts outside this Go Fund Me campaign. I have been blindsided by unexpected support, and I am most thankful.
I have lowered the goal amount to send me to my first-ever sleep over camp,and now I am over halfway there!
My story about wanting to be a first time camper is below. In many ways it is a story still being written. Please share it.
Activist Looking for News Ways to Serve Communities
(You Can Help)
Seven years ago I was minding my own business working for a state rural health advocacy nonprofit when I was invited to a late afternoon meeting because, "This might have something to do with rural health." In the course of about 45 minutes my community, and my life, were changed forever.
None of us knew that one of Georgia's most powerful and wealthy families wanted to build a coal plant on their land that would fuel profits for their short-line railroad for decades. It was a power shift in every sense of the word.
The people who made the announcement said they expected some pushback from groups in Atlanta.
They failed to estimated that some of us in the room would pushback too.
Less than three months later, on a warm spring evening, about 10 people, most of whom didn't know each other, and hadn't known much about coal plants before the announcement, met on a back porch and decided we needed to do something.
We signed on for what we were told could take years to accomplish. After almost seven years we're poised to defeat what should be the last proposed coal plant in our country.
It hasn't been easy for any of us.
We've seen families divided and friendships broken. We've also had strangers behind us at the grocery store whisper, "I'm glad you're doing this. My son (daughter, wife, husband, or I) could lose their job if I say anything."
We've been tested, that's for sure.
Just over four years ago I was told I had to decide between the job where I excelled and standing up for my values and community. When forced to decide between a job I did well, and speaking up for my community on my time and at my own expense, I went with my principles and values. That very hard decision led me to do the rural health advocacy my former employer wasn't willing to do.
I had found my voice and I used it to shout.
I signed on to help lead a project that, if we won, would put me out of a job. That project also required a commitment to a much smaller paycheck, and sometimes no paycheck at all (Donors have been very generous in the past but they are ready to fund and tackle new problems since the outcome of this one is evident). We won't stop fighting Plant Washington until we have grasped the brass ring, but we know now it is within our reach, so I am now able to look ahead.
It is time, after so many years of passionate work, for me to venture into a new unknown that will stretch me while using the skills and scars I have accumulated. It is kind of scary.
I need to figure out which questions I must ask to find a new job that will be challenging to me, while benefitting a community or organization that speaks up for the underserved or marginalized.
Can I find a way to cobble together work that will pay my bills without requiring me to move away from my family? What could that work be? Where do I look and how do I do that with clarity and focus? Who might help me and how do I make the right ask?
At 53 years old, I am ready to go to camp for the first time in my life-a "camp for grown ups." Life is a Verb, a three day camp/workshop/retreat in early November, will challenge me to find the questions I need to ask, and begin to work towards the answers.
Patti Digh wrote this about the camp she is leading, "Camp is a place where people of all walks of life come together to explore what it means to be fully human and what it means to live life fully, as an active and not a passive, verb. To live, and live fully. To love, and love well. To let go, and let go deeply."
As an advocate I'm not used to asking for myself, but I am trying to let go of that stumbling block now. I hope you will help because I simply am not able to cover the costs myself.
My goal is to cover the costs of camp and traveling back and forth. I'll arrive there ready to do the work at hand and maximize every minute. What I learn will help me step into the unknown that is knocking on my door.
My life has truly been an action packed adventure since I stepped into a huge unknown almost seven years ago. Now I have skills and experience I want to share with people and communities who have challenges of their own. What I have learned is meant to benefit others, not be put on a shelf and collect dust.
I'll write about my adventures on my blog as I prepare to leave and when I return (letting go for me also includes less time with electronics).
I hope you'll support my first-ever camp experience with a donation. Any amount will help send a 53 year old advocate/activist to camp for the first time.