Last week, I received the incredible opportunity to participate in the New Organizing Institute’s (NOI) 2nd ever campaign training bootcamp. It was a competitive program, so my flight, accomodation, and food was all paid for, in return that meant suffering through a real campaign atmosphere with 16 hour days, hard work, and tight deadlines.

It was an incredible week. Imagine a room filled with 64 of the most brilliant young minds in progressive politics, from all corners of America (including four from the center, 4 Kansas Citians!), all dedicated to working to make our country better. And imagine, every day, 8-10 presenters, leaders in their field, from Organizing with Marshall Ganz, to YouTube blogging with staff from Jon Tester’s campaign. While on the side, running a campaign for President, our candidate, Stewie Griffin (web site expires at end of the July).

With my five pound binder of notes, my indispensable laptop, and my trustworthy brain, I woke up everyday at 8:00 to get breakfast and sit through 4 hours of lectures, followed by lunch for an hour then 6 more hours of lectures, before spending 1-2 hours working on a group assignment then running the Stewie Griffin for America campaign.

I imagined where we would all be in a year. Already, two people from the bootcamp are working for Obama’s campaign in South Carolina, one for Edwards, one working in Montana to take the last statewide office for the Democrats, a few on Iraq Summer, a campaign to put pressure on members of Congress in their own districts and ending the war now. Some of us are going to school, about 13 are living or moving to DC. Basically, we’re taking over the Progressive movement and forcing change. Yeah!

And me? Well, in a week I will be finished with my French class, and then finally free to move wherever I want to. I’m waiting to hear from Obama’s campaign in Nevada and also seeing if Iraq Summer will have a position available when I finish with my classes. the adventure to election day 2008 continues soon. Photos from NOI in the next post tomorrow!

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