What unites us is a spirit of transformation and struggle…We aspire to a better world, a more just world, a more human world, a world where real equality and social justice exist” -La Via Campesina
His stiff arm pushed through the circle of young campers protecting the delicate life form standing just a few inches tall. For every shovel he confiscated, another seemingly came out of nowhere, taunting him as he frantically sought to disrupt this guerilla action. Realizing his efforts were futile, the officer gave up and let the guerrilla action proceed as planned.
It was July 31st, 2020, the middle of a global pandemic. Yet, two dozen young campers, driven by a deep sense of urgency and love, led an incredible action at the steps of the state capitol in Montpelier, Vermont. As the governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, spoke to reporters next door, the campers at UPRISE began to plunge their shovels into the lawn of the state house. Every few steps another plunge and scoop. Behind each camper with a shovel, was one holding a seed or small vegetable to plant. This was guerilla gardening; this was youth taking the future into their own dirt-covered hands. This day of action was the culmination of what was a week-long camp of bonding, strategizing, and knowledge sharing that takes place at the Grassroots center in Marshfield, VT.
Welcome to Marshfield, Vermont where the Uprise youth led non-violent direct-action camp is just getting underway. It is such a gift to be here. To get to experience the unique threads and intentions of this camp that are rooted in long histories of global social change. These are the kinds of spaces that renew and energize my hope and love for this world and I believe open up a thousand new roads of possibilities for our collective futures. This is my first year here coming out from Oregon and it is a gift to get to work alongside a BIPOC- majority cohort engaged in a rare chance for a multi-generational, multi-racial experience in Vermont, rooted in justice and strategies for resilient futures for everyone.
The Uprise! Youth Activism Camp has a rich history of fostering space, community, and hands-on education for 13-19 year-old Youth in the wild spaces of the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont. It’s truly inspiring to see youth empowered to become the change-makers needed for a just and liveable future. The remarkable programming is student-led and supported by adults with hands-on experience in NonViolent Direct Action, Arts Action, Wilderness Skills, Ecological Agriculture, and Heartwork.
Uprise Youth Activism Camp began in 2017 at The Green Mountain Popular Education Center (AKA Wheelock Mt Farm) in Northern Vermont. A small but powerful group of teens and adults from around the country gathered for an amazing week in August to share skills of organizing, direct action, political arts and performance, ecological agriculture, decolonization, anti-racism, collective liberation and more.
This is all taking place on hundreds of acres of wilderness and farmland, where campers spend lots of quality time building a cooperative and compassionate camp culture rooted in the values of mutual aid, autonomy, justice and love.
Uprise Camp is an amazing opportunity for youth of color this year. We’re trying to close our budget gap to make camp possible.
With a majority bipoc youth, and an amazing crew of mentors of color, this is a rare chance for a multigenerational multi racial experience in Vermont.
We only need to raise $3,000 to host 30 13-19 year olds, many of whom are already amazing social justice organizers in their own right.
$600 is the how much it costs to host a camper for 8 days and nights.
$1,000 is what we pay our mentors of color for the week. Please consider sponsoring a camper or a bipoc mentor, or contribute any amount to our fund.
Click the link below and select “Uprise” in the drop down menu.
More information at uprisecampvt.org
This piece is written in collaboration with George Ygarza ~ A 1st generation Latinx of mixed Andean heritage, George remains grounded in place and community, living and organizing in Lenapehoking territory (North Jersey). Currently a graduate student researching Andean cosmology as practices of autonomy and resistance, George dwells along the hyphen of activist-scholarship, working with youth in various spaces for transformative change. George continues to navigate spaces within and beyond the institution, guided by ancestral and grassroots knowledge.