What I Did For My Birthday

September 23, 2013

What better way to celebrate my birthday than with 60 progressives in gorgeous Bozeman, Montana?

Together with the Western Organization of Resource Councils, Western Native Voice, and Forward Montana Foundation, we spent the weekend working to build a movement for progressive change with collective action. We called it Wellstone Base Camp and it was a blast. Three Wellstone trainers, including Erik and Matt, traveled to Bozeman for the weekend, and we found a community ready to get to work for a better future for their communities.

Change is coming to Montana, it’s happening the Wellstone Way and with Big Sky values. We spent a lot of Base Camp talking about incorporating Montana values into our progressive political messaging: a love for Montana’s bountiful natural resources, local communities, and tireless work ethic. We talked about recruiting and supporting volunteers to build a movement that lasts beyond any individual campaign, and we talked about leading with conviction.

My Birthday was on Sunday and it was tough to be away from my husband, Tim, and daughter, Siobhan. But it was all worth it when we got to the end of the training on Sunday: One by one, each of the 60 participants got up, and made a public commitment on a specific way they’d make Montana a better place by working together.

It didn’t hurt that the group brought me a slice of cake with my name on it, and a candle to blow out. It gave me a chance to wish for a brighter progressive future for the region. And then we got to work making that wish a reality.   

From Native leaders to student organizers, retired workers to nonprofit staffers, it was inspiring to see a movement grow over the course of an impactful, exhausting, exhilarating, weekend. It’s good to be home, it’s good to have a belated celebration with my family. And it’s great to know that together we’re building collective power in Big Sky Country, and for me there’s no better way to celebrate my birthday than that.