By Desiree Collins, Public Achievement Team Lead, Graduate School of Social Work
The Public Achievement (PA) team embarked on a weekend-long learning and bonding experience during the first week of October. PA is a program in which University of Denver (DU) students work with local schools to create change in their communities. PA Team Leads and Coaches got to know each other and prepare for the year ahead with a series of interactive trainings followed by some outdoor bonding time at Mount Evans Cabin.
The weekend kicked off on Friday with the Community Organizing Institute keynoted by anti-oppression activist, Regan Byrd, who helped facilitate dialogue around anti-oppressive practices in civic engagement. The following morning, PA students participated in a collaboration training which was hosted with PeaceJam Rocky Mountain and Colorado Center for Civic Learning and Engagement (C3LE). This year’s PeaceJam Nobel Laureate, Riboberta Menchu Tum from Guatemala was a central focus of the collaboration. Evan Weissman from Warm Cookies for the Revolution, also offered an engaging keynote focused on using events as a route to engage community members in exercising their civic health. Warm Cookies of the Revolution explores a wide range of issues, engaging community members in innovative programs centered around everything from racial justice and immigration to tax reform and housing development. They work on these issues by taking the typically dry subjects such as finances, zoning and taxes and then finding engaging activities through which to learn about them.
After a lovely lunch provided by La Cantina Grill, a locally-owned catering company, the collaboration broke into workshops on cultural humility and civil discourse. The workshops provided time to engage with other participants and share ideas. While the morning was full of exciting learning and networking opportunities, the day had just begun.
Following the training, the PA team headed into the clouds to the Mount Evans cabins for food, learning, and more bonding. After claiming bunks and getting settled in, the team gathered around for dinner, discussion, and relaxation from the long day. The evening activities truly provided an opportunity to better get to know other Coaches and Team Leads while preparing for the year ahead. The retreat ended on Sunday with a beautiful hike up to Echo Lake Trail.
The Public Achievement team returned to DU Sunday evening feeling refreshed and ready to take on the year!