Local students to get activist skills training
–The Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club and North County Watch are funding tuition and travel costs for two recent local high school graduates who have enrolled in a grassroots organizing training at the Sierra Club’s Harwood Lodge in the foothills north of Los Angeles, July 8-15.
Mason Seden-Hansen and Carmen Bouquin will be attending the Sierra Student Coalition’s Summer Program (SPROG), designed and run by youth activists and held annually at locations across the country to teach the organizing skills necessary to jump start and manage campaigns in their communities.
The week-long summer camp style leadership training, designed for ages 14-28, is described by many alumni as “the best week of my life” because it was the moment when they became bonded to a broader movement and community of peers committed to making change in the world.
Until his graduation in June, Seden-Hansen was president of the Paso Robles High School Progressive Club. He will begin attending UCLA this fall. Bouquin, a Youth Board Member of Must! Charities, was a mainstay of the Templeton High School Environmental Club and will enroll in Cuesta College in the fall.
“We are so pleased that Mason and Carmen have elected to take on the most meaningful kind of post-graduate studies,” said Sue Harvey, President of the watchdog group North County Watch. “We can’t think of a better use of our funds than preparing talented and committed young people to take on the world.”
“The SPROG training stands alone when it comes to providing a comprehensive activist skillset,” said Chuck Tribbey, Chair of the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Carmen and Mason are already impressive activists; this is the best graduation gift we could give them.”
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to convene with young like-minded young people in an effort to better the environment and increase youth activism,” said Bouquin.
“I am excited to be able to broaden my perspective and to be able to better help protect the environment and learn how to help organize the community to protect our future,” said Seden-Hansen.
“SPROG is an amazing program,” said West Coast SPROG Trainer Hannah Freedman. “The people that come to SPROG have consistently become the next generation of activists that are confronting the challenges humanity faces in day-to-day life. I attended SPROG in 2012, and the skills I learned and relationships I built have proved to be so important to me in my movement work since. I’m coming back to work as a trainer this summer because I know firsthand how impactful and important this training is.”
The Sierra Student Coalition’s mission is to train, empower, and organize youth to run effective campaigns that result in tangible environmental victories and develop leaders for the environmental movement. The SSC was founded in 1991 as the Sierra Club’s youth chapter and has functioned as a by-youth, for-youth entity with young volunteers and staff leading all programming