In Action at SFT Action Camp

On Thursday, July 1, 2010, in Advocacy, by Todd Stein
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Students for a Free Tibet’s (SFT) Action Camp. This is a retreat where participants receive training in how to be effective activists, including campaigning, media work, grassroots organizing, rope climbing and banner hanging, and other activities. It was set in a pretty and remote woodland site in upstate New York. As ICT’s Director of Government Relations, I led two discussion groups on how to lobby elected officials (especially the U.S. Congress) and provided a government advocacy update. While most of the attendees were from the United States (and many of those had come to DC to participate in Tibet Lobby Day), there were others from Canada, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We discussed how the tools for effective political lobbying can easily translate to other countries and to other layers of government (such as at the state and local levels). It was inspiring for me to meet so many young people becoming engaged and devoted to the Tibet movement. A majority of the participants were Tibetans, which shows that even after 50 years of exile, new generations of Tibetans continue to be motivated to help bring peace and freedom to their homeland. I was also impressed by the SFT staff and trainers for their dedication and professionalism. Besides seeing old friends and meeting new people in the movement, the activity I most enjoyed was the rope climbing – learning how to manipulate ropes and a harness to pull oneself up a tall tree (or building or bridge). It was challenging but well worth the effort. A re-energizing and productive weekend indeed. PHOTO: Participants at SFT's Action Camp -- see more images here.

4 Responses to “In Action at SFT Action Camp”

  1. lobsang tengyie says:

    I certainly hope that SFT matures as an organization and becomes more serious about the image

    I have been critical of the silliness factor of some of it’s actions and have been told in response “Hey, we are students!”

    Sorry, that doesn’t cut it. Tibetan people are suffering and and inanity doesn’t cut it and undermines how serious an issue this really is.

    Of course, with students what else do you expect but immature actions. And perhaps that is their point. Hopefully these kind of training camps will improve their skills and tactics.

  2. Aimee says:

    Action Camp sounds amazing! My passion is in media work. My current project is a documentary about healing with Tibetan medicine. Please take a look at my trailer and share your title ideas:

    Many thanks!

  3. Michael,
    You can contact SFT’s Southeast Regional Coordinator Julia Kimmel:

    Also, you can contact SFT’s Grassroots Coordinator Tenzin Dolkar:

    Hope this helps.

  4. Michael Elsmore says:

    Would like to invite you to North Carolina for your next SFT outing.

    Would like information on how to get a SFT group started at UNC Charlotte.

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