World’s Best Father’s Day Gift

July 23, 2013

There are normal Father’s Day gifts: a nice tie, tickets to a baseball game, or a night out to a fancy restaurant. And then there’s an awesome Father’s Day gift: Camp Wellstone.

Joe Decker, of Worthington Ohio, has always been deeply dedicated to his family and his community. From PTA, local commissions, and nonprofit boards, serving his community is a passion, and a responsibility, for Joe. Luckily, his family’s got his back, “My family has always been really sweet about supporting me, even if I had to leave dinner early.”

A few weeks back, Camp Wellstone was set to happen in Columbus, Ohio, around the same time as Father’s Day. Instead of tickets to the game, Joe’s wife, Kristi, and their two daughters registered Joe for Camp Wellstone.

Joe has often considered running for office, so he decided to attend the candidate track, where one of his most valuable experiences was the campaign timeline exercise:

"It was really amazing to see what running for office would be like, just laid out in front of me like that. Seeing it all put together gave me an appreciation for the commitment and organization that’s necessary for a campaign."

Our sessions on canvassing as a candidate were also particularly helpful to Joe:

"I’ve been canvassing a lot as a volunteer, but the Wellstone approach that focused on the quality of contacts – not the length – was important for us all to hear. You might only end up talking to a voter once, so the quality of the contact really matters."

At the heart of Camp Wellstone are our experienced trainers, who have deep, personal experience in the sessions they lead. Joe agrees, “Wellstone trainers’ ability to speak from personal experience makes the presentation so much more powerful. The personal delivery, without getting lost in the weeds of storytime, showed how theory applied to the real world.”

Now, Joe is helping his friend Sam, also a Camp Wellstone alumnus, run for school board in Worthington. What’s next for Joe? “I’m not sure, but for now I am making connections in my community, and Sam and I are putting into practice what we learned at Camp Wellstone.”

We couldn’t have said it better than Joe’s wife, Kristi, who tells us that investing in Joe’s passion was a powerful illustration of their mutual love and commitment for their kids and their community:

"We feel it's important for our girls to understand that we have responsibility outside of ourselves; that the world is a big place and we all have shared accountability for all aspects of its condition.

Giving Joe the opportunity to take part in Camp Wellstone exemplifies this idea.  Getting involved in the community, turning belief into action, joining others interested in progressive politics, recognizing that apathy is a choice, these are all core values we want our girls to have.  Giving this Wellstone weekend as a Father's Day gift allowed us to provide the girls with a great example of carrying out the principles by which we live our lives."

So for families trying to come up with the perfect gift for the perfect family member, we’ve got you covered. Send them to a Camp Wellstone. The gift of becoming a more effective progressive changemaker just might trump another goofy tie.