9 years ago, I headed to Washington D.C. for the very first New Organizing Institute bootcamp in the winter of 2006. That was the start of amazing things for me, I went on to be Internet Communications Director for Senator Stabenow’s re-election campaign later that year, and many other great digital campaign jobs around the country through the years. I even went back and served as the Interim Executive Director of the New Organizing Institute in 2008, when Judith headed to the Obama campaign.
Going to the New Organizing Institute changed the course of my work and my life. Before I had worked professionally in the tech industry in Ann Arbor and volunteered in politics – after, I was able to find a way to meld politics and technology together for a rewarding career. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work for campaigns and non-profits across the country, won some fights and lost others, but every day has been worthwhile. NOI is awesome! The knowledge I gained, and the friendships I made are irreplaceable.
Right now, the 9th class of bootcampers is in the midst of their training. They are running simulated campaigns for Mayor. To follow along, search on the hashtag #bootcamp9 on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for the email seedlist to get mass emails from the budding campaigns. Don’t forget to vote on July 31st for your favorite. If you can, take a few minutes out of your day to give them feedback and (constructive) criticism. Remember that they are learning, be kind.
And thank you again to Zack Exley, Judith Freeman, Becky Bond, who made NOI happen in the first place, all the fantastic trainers who have given time and support to bootcampers, and the bootcampers themselves for taking a leap into the unknown. If you can, please drop some change into their bucket, because the infrastructure-building work NOI does is fundamental to the progressive movement.