When I signed up for Sprog – the Sierra Student Coalition’s Summer Program, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Soon after joining the environmental organization at Florida International University, Students for Environmental Action, I was told by several members of the club to sign up for the program; that this leadership program’s skills would be beneficial and I would use them for life as a climate organizer.
After a 12 hour car ride from Florida to Jacksonville, Alabama, I arrived at Camp Cottaquilla and very quickly realized that the tedious ride had been worth it. A Sprog day at Camp Cottaquilla would start with some breakfast in the main cabin, followed by an energizer to wake us all up, and then lectures and trainings on leadership and organizing. Some of my favorites were: Campaign Planning 101, with tools such as the Theory of Change, and how to distinguish between an awareness based campaign or a change based campaign, or the Anti Oppression lecture, which teaches us how to actively confront with racism, sexism, classism, and other oppressive power structures in the past and present. All lectures would have vegan and vegetarian lunches and dinners in between. Along with the lectures, our Sprog was full of other fun and comprehensive activities, including a pool day, bonding with other Sproggers after hard days of learning, a bonfire event, and most importantly SIM, a simulated activity which drew us into the city of Arreis (Sierra backwards), a city full of political and environmental issues which needed to be solved by the organizations within the districts of the city and its officials.
Sprog was very unique in its methods of teaching the material, and I could not have asked for better trainers. The experience was like no other, and the people I met were wonderful, some of which I hope to never forget.
I am hoping to take these newly learned skills and put them into the organizations I work with at Florida International University, including the International Rescue Committee, Students for Environmental Action and Alternative Breaks. I am counting on becoming more inspired because of this experience and I also hope to inspire others to get involved in today’s issues and serve. This is an experience that I absolutely recommend; an experience that I sometimes wish would not have ended. Sign up for Sprog next summer, y’all!!