Apply to Start a Summer of Solutions Program in Your Community!

Cross-posted from www.solutionaries.net by Ruby Levine.

The Summer of Solutions is a program for young people who want to build just, sustainable economies in their communities.

We want to invite YOU to be one of those young people building those solutions. Apply here by October 22 to start a program in your community or to join an existing program leader team.

Running a program gives you the opportunity to create and support green economy projects that build power for people who currently don’t have as much access AND to empower young people from your community and beyond with the skills and strategies they need to do the same thing wherever they go next.

Past Summer of Solutions programs have:

  • Built community gardens and farms on vacant lots
  • Taught neighbors how to use bikes as an effective form of transit
  • Run summer camps for children to help them learn about healthy eating and growing their own food
  • Founded and partnered with energy businesses to create a community-based clean energy system
  • Created community spaces, from mini-golf courses in the coal fields of West Virginia to a playground in Detroit, MI
  • Designed and organized for green manufacturing at a closing car factory in Saint Paul, MN

You can read more about these and other stories at the Summer of Solutions blog. To learn more about the values, principles, and strategies of the program, check out the statement on our website.

Leading a program is a challenging, broadening experience that will help you grow your skills in organizing communities, innovating new solutions, planning with flexibility, telling your story, and raising the resources to support it all. Past program leaders have said about the experience:

  • “Our program was a transformative and sometimes overwhelming experience that made several leaders and participants challenge their own destiny. The gratitude expressed by the groups we were working with, the fun we had together, and the bonds we formed will last a lifetime.” – Summer of Solutions/Build It Up West Virginia program leader team
  • “This work fits my beliefs and passions so perfectly. I have learned so much from trying and failing and retrying to grow into this role and this movement. The people I’ve befriended through Grand Aspirations and activism are an incredible source of strength. Hey, we’re family.”– Jen Roach, Hartford Summer of Solutions
  • “Leading a Summer of Solutions program was one of the most challenging and yet exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who has ever wanted to start their own organization to create positive change—this summer certainly had as much excitement as any start-up I’ve ever worked with.” — Lisa Curtis, Oakland Summer of Solutions
  • “Participating in and then leading a Summer of Solutions program has been the literally the most transformational experience of my life. It has helped me to grow into becoming the person I want to be. This summer I felt like I was learning so quickly that I felt confident doing things that just the week before would have been totally beyond my skill-set.” — Elana Bulman, Twin Cities Summer of Solutions

If you want to start a new program, you can start something totally from scratch or partner with an existing organization (or something in between). Programs can be hosted either within Grand Aspirations, which runs Summer of Solutions nationally, or as part of a local organization. You can use the summer to start new projects or expand existing ones. You can bring together young people in your community and from outside your community to work together towards common goals. To see all the things program leaders accomplish, please check out the 2012 Program Guidelines.

If you want to join an existing program in Hartford, CT; the Twin Cities, MN; Oakland, CA; or Portland, OR, you can check out what those teams are looking for in new program leaders on their pages. These teams have more experience and direction already but are open to new ideas and innovation as well.

The deadline to apply is October 22.

However you choose to engage as a program leader, Grand Aspirations will support you! Each planning team has a Program Supporter who is an experienced program leader. Your Program Supporter will talk through challenges and connect you with the resources from the rest of the organization like the Media Team, the Resources Team, and the Leadership Development Team. You will have opportunities to connect and brainstorm with your peers at other programs through confluence calls and regional training events during the winter.

If you have any questions about what being a program leader entails, please get in touch with Ruby Levine (802-272-4140, ruby.levine@gmail.com) or Timothy DenHerder-Thomas (646-670-1682, timothydht@gmail.com) to talk through what being a program leader could look like for you!


About Timothy


Timothy is a youth climate leader based in St. Paul. He's all about people power, and being the changes we actually want to see. I've been heavily involved in community development and using climate solutions as incredible opportunities for local economic activity, collective empowerment, and self-determination. Timothy is a recent graduate of Macalester College, where he did exciting work on revolving funds, carbon neutrality, and cross-campus sustainability leadership development. He now helps run a community energy efficiency and community-based energy cooperative and is core driver of Grand Aspirations and the Summer of Solutions. He does lots of network building with buddies in the youth movement as well as labor, faith, agricultural, small business, and neighborhood groups.

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