Activists train future activists at the Youth Activism Gathering in April.

By Mike Reynolds for Ability Maine

During the weekend of April 16-18, 2011, dozens of activists, almost all in their teens and twenties, gathered in Turner, Maine to skill share, network and learn from each other at the Youth Activist Gathering held at the Turner Grange.  The event was sponsored by Resources Organizing for Social Change and this was the 11th annual gathering. The event wasn’t completely accessible, but the site was the only available location, and after attending the gathering, there is no doubt organizers would have done pretty much anything reasonable to include anyone. Indeed there were a number of people who brought tents to camp in and many sessions were held outside so accessibility was not a huge barrier for folks to participate.

There was a diversity of topics covered by a wide variety of Maine-based activists. Skills such as ‘zine making, Bow Drill Firestarting, a Burlesque workshop that addressed issues of gender andsexuality. And that was only what was available on Saturday! The gathering really drew upon the skill set of local activists and the topics were so varied that the Gathering did offer something for a teen activist to get immersed in the world of social justice, get some great information, and make some some great connections.

The Youth Activism Gathering has become a treasured ritual of Spring in certain circles of Maine Activism with good reason. It is an excellent forum for younger activists to be exposed to great organizers, passionate advocates and some effective initiatives, or seed the skills for one to develop their own voice of advocacy/activism.