Camp Wellstone

Practical skills for progressive political action

Camp Wellstone is our flagship training program. Started in early 2003, Camp Wellstone (CW) is for those looking to gain practical skills in progressive political action. We train candidates, campaign workers, and organizers how to win progressive change. Camp Wellstones have been held in several states across the country and there are over 80,000 Camp Wellstone alumni in all 50 states!

During CW, we provide focus areas based on your role in progressive organizing, each with a distinctive curriculum taught by some of the nation's leading experts in grassroots politics and organizing. We draw from Paul and Sheila Wellstone's innovative approach to politics - something we call the Wellstone Triangle. The three elements of the triangle are: progressive public policy, which lays out an agenda for action; grassroots community organizing, which builds a constituency to fight for change; and grassroots electoral politics, which provides tools for changing what leadership looks like and how to influence policymakers.

Our trainings at Wellstone are guided by our values: to change the choices for who’s in charge, to lead with intention and commitment to race, gender, and economic justice, and to provide rich and interactive training experiences that maximize participants’ learning and maintain the high quality of content we’re counted on to deliver.

Camp Wellstone always takes place over the weekend. The schedule is: 2pm - 9pm Friday; 9am - 6:30pm Saturday; and 9am - 3:30pm Sunday.

Candidate Track: Are you currently running for public office or interested in running in the future?

We teach candidates the nuts and bolts of running—and winning—a progressive campaign. Topics of focus include: Message; budgeting and fundraising; writing and delivering a stump speech; fundraising; and canvassing. 

Campaign Track: Are you managing, working on, or volunteering for an electoral campaign?

We teach campaign workers and staff the skills it takes to manage a successful progressive campaign. Topics of focus include: message development and delivery; earned and paid media; targeting; and direct voter contact.  

Grassroots Organizing Track: Are you organizing within your community, coalition, or nonprofit? Are you working on a ballot initiative?

We teach organizers the nuts and bolts of winning progressive change on community-based issues. We believe that the only way to build power is in partnership with others—not by ourselves. If you are connected to a group or organization that wants to make real change on a particular issue in your community, this is the right place for you. 

Intro to Movement Technology Track 

*This track will be piloted at 2 camps in 2017 and may be added permanently in 2018

In the era of hashtags, member databases, and email list-building, the possibilities are growing for organizations, both large and small, to use technology to boost the capacity of their campaign work and community organizing. This track introduces the fundamentals of data, digital organizing and analytics to support base-building and policy organizing campaigns. It does not require previous experience or skills in movement tech and is for anyone who wants to get started or expand their skillset. 

 

Not sure which one is for you?

Read about the sessions offered in each track.

How do I attend a Camp Wellstone?

Already this year, we have seen the interest and demand for our Camp Wellstone training skyrocket. This is an important moment for people to get the training and skills they need to make change in our country and in our communities, and Wellstone is seeking to meet this need in as many ways as possible.

The demand for Camp Wellstone means we’re not always able to accommodate everyone who wants to attend. Class sizes are limited to 45-50 people per track, and we’re committed to living into our values to make sure our trainings are accessible to a broad range of people and organizations, and to provide rich and interactive training experiences that maximize participants’ learning and maintain the high quality of content we’re counted on to deliver.

Wellstone prioritizes developing leaders who are reflective of and deeply connected to communities who our underrepresented in our democracy. We also prioritize training those who have a demonstrated commitment to racial, gender, and economic justice.

In 2017, we’ve created a new application process for Camp Wellstone where we will ask you to describe how this training will contribute to your work to win progressive change. There is a separate application process for each camp location, and the link is available on the camp-specific page once the time and location of the camp are confirmed. Only individuals may apply for Camp Wellstone. We do not accept group applications or reserve spots for organizations in advance. If you want to attend Camp Wellstone, please be sure to apply by the deadline listed on your camp page.

What does it cost to attend Camp Wellstone?

The cost to attend is $450 per person. This fee pays for three days of training, all your training materials, plus three meals (dinner Friday, and lunch on Saturday and Sunday). We believe in training everyone, regardless of income – so while the true cost of Camp Wellstone is actually greater than $450 per person, we strive to keep our training affordable for progressive leaders at all income levels.  We also offer a limited number of scholarship spots at each camp for a reduced cost of either $250 or $150. You can indicate in the application if you would also like to be considered for a scholarship. 

Where will Camp Wellstone be held this year?

We hold six Camp Wellstones each year, in different parts of the country. Each CW begins on a Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday afternoon. Generally, the Camp Wellstone "season" is February - September, taking time at the end of the year to focus on elections.

Dates and locations for Camp Wellstone 2018 will be confirmed and added to our training calendar on a rolling basis. 

Make sure you're on our email list, because we'll send out an announcement for each CW as soon as registration opens. Click here to sign up!

Traveling to attend Camp Wellstone?

We welcome folks to apply for any Camp Wellstone location if there will not be one in your state. Please note that Wellstone is not able to offer lodging, travel or transportation assistance or recommendations. We'll tell you where to be and when, and provide you with the materials you'll need to get the most out of our training, but the rest is up to you!

Questions? Talk to us.

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