Christoph Zepeda, NEN Kiosk Editor
Neighborhood organizers get a real energy boost when they come together. In fact, it’s essential to community work. That why, on Saturday August 14th, we at the NEN were so excited to be part of theÂ 2010 Craigslist Foundation Bootcamp, an event that focused on capacity building within communities in the Bay Area and across the nation. The event united hundreds of activists, together with dozens of speakers, workshops, resources, and more. It was quite a day.
Although this was my first experience working with the NEN in the public sphere, I found myself fueled by high energy as everyone worked hard to elevate, educate, and celebrate the work of local community members and stakeholders.
By the end of the day, not only did I come away from the event feeling empowered, but also ready to take action, equipped with a different lens of imagination.
What was the element of this event that I found to be most remarkable? It was the synergism I witnessed by organizations coming together. Whether or not someone was involved in community gardens or literacy programs for underprivileged youths, anyone could see the purpose of bringing together so many individuals and organizations and letting them share their knowledge and resources. While I have been to some â€œcompetitiveâ€ conferences, what made this experience different was that the air was friendly and team-work oriented.
Authors John McKnight and Peter Block address a breakout group
What touched me was that every organization advocated civic engagement, was open to possibilities, and was ready to exchange ideas. I was reminded of the capabilities that can emerge when seemingly different organizations join forces.
Take, for instance, a moment I had with Kary Schulman, the director ofÂ San Francisco Grants for the Arts, who was open to finding a project that combined civic engagement with the Arts; or Mike Rocco, the program director ofÂ San Francisco City Hall Fellows, who was open to working withÂ NENu.
Thanks again to the Craigslist Foundation for giving the NEN a chance to help steward the event to success, as well as to all of you who joined us at the event. Great things happen when we come together.
Christoph Zepeda is earning his Masters degree in English Literature with a certificate in teaching post-secondary reading. In his spare time, he enjoys bicycling, yoga, movies, and creative writing. He hopes to one day publish a novel, memoir, and collection of poems.