Guest Post by Anne Wagner, Principal Director
It’s a Thursday in August – I would surmise that the majority of young Canadians, and our Stand members, are trying to make the most of their summers today, be it by working to earn money to get through the year, relaxing with friends and family while they can, traveling to see the world…all things we need to do rejuvenate ourselves and keep ourselves sane and functioning throughout the next year.
Summer is a relatively quiet time for Stand, at least outwardly so. We don’t put on major events, our chapters aren’t making splashes in the local and national news, our members aren’t hosting and speaking at rallies…but the organization hums along quietly and with building momentum in the background. Summer is the time when here at National we take a step back and review our year, to try to gauge the impact of what we have done, and plan for the upcoming year. We toss around ideas, formulate plans and agree on a vision.
But that vision needs to be shared by all of Stand, which is why we hold a National conference, where we invite our members from all of our teams and chapters to attend and plan and learn to advocate even better together. This year we’re changing our pattern – we used to have our conference in May so that we could have meetings with Members of Parliament in Ottawa before the House of Commons rose for the summer. This year, we will be having our conference in very early October to strengthen our chapters and team at the beginning of the year, once they have recruited new members. And this year, our action item won’t focus on advocacy meetings, it will focus on activism in another context and on the focus for the year – growth. Now is the time to focus on growing the grassroots support for the anti-genocide movement, to give strength to our policy recommendations. Our conference will have a large component focusing on growth, and on capturing the attention of your community and new supporters. Check back at www.standcanada.org and here for further details about conference applications in the coming weeks.
I used to feel like we weren’t doing enough in the summers, that I personally could have been doing more that would tangibly make a difference for the people of Darfur. But I’ve come to realize that the work of planning, of getting ourselves organized, inspired and pulling in the same direction, actually elicits better results in the long run. We are able to execute bigger campaigns, have stronger teams and see more impact and change when we take a step back over the summer and figure out our next moves. So Standers, enjoy your summers, take a break and rejuvenate, and spend a little time planning your next move. We’ll speak to you in a few weeks.