Empower.Me, Empower.MT

Empower.Me, Empower.MT

“I never want to be a stagnant person. I think you begin to fester when you stop growing — and I do not want to be the human equivalent of moldy Tupperware.” -Chloe Dittloff
This month at Empower Montana has reminded us all of the power of leaders who are younger than us. One of our highest held values is to honor, validate, and empower young people to create the change they want to see…right now! Here’s a bit about our month doing some of our favorite work with some of our favorite leaders.

Top 5 Favorite Moments of EmpowerMT’s High School Leadership Camp!

The last weekend of July EmpowerMT hosted our favorite event of the year. We traveled to Camp Paxson on Seeley Lake to train high school students from Montana in our curriculum to build safer and more inclusive schools. Camp is known for it’s bonding, silly theatrics, tears of empathy, and new friendships. Here are some of our favorite moments from this years camp (in no particular order).1. The Faux Fire Camp Ceremony

For the first year in ten years of camp we couldn’t have our traditional fire ceremony but we made do with a lot of flashlights, lanterns, bike lights, and LED candles (thanks Warren Michelson, Mija, and others!).

2. Extraordinary Cabin Songs (and dances)

Every year the camp songs amaze us and this year was no different! Special shout outs to the boys of cabins five and six for a choreographed dance to Thriller! Another shout out to the folks of cabin eight for a transformative take on the story of Peter Pan with extra props to Mija’s rendition of Captain Hook!

3. Small Group Time

For introverts and extroverts alike, small group time is one of the best times to delve deeper into conversation about oppression and allyship. This year we got to spend even more time in our cozy groups and explore experiences of oppression of different groups (people of color, incarcerated people, non-binary people, and more!).

4. Connecting Over Stories of Mistreatment 

We place some of our strongest hope in the power of personal story sharing. Whether through speak-outs, small group time, or at our campfire ceremony, the stories we share and witness at camp often impact us for a lifetime. This year two brave teens shared incredibly difficult and inspiring stories of mistreatment to the large group. Sharing and hearing such emotionally charged stories is certainly difficult, yet it is a powerful tool to bring people together and better understand the effects of oppression and mistreatment of other groups. We are so grateful to all of our story tellers this year!

5. Violence Barometer and Privilege Line 

These two fan favorite activities were a hit again this year. We explored our different views of violence with the Violence Barometer and witnessed the intersectionality of privilege and how it effects us with the Privilege Line.

Thanks to all who contributed to another fantastic year of camp!

Jessica Beers Featured in National Youth Organizing Campaign! 

We met the incredible Jessica Beers during her freshman year of high school and now we get to witness her going into her first year of college! Jessica, being the power-house she is, was chosen to be featured by our friends at The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing – FCYO as part of their #YOGoesFurther campaign.

The Youth Organizing Goes Further Campaign is a series of feature stories centered on top change-makers from across the country as a way to share the importance and impact of youth organizing. We couldn’t be more proud of this amazing leader! Read Jessica’s feature story here! 


Upcoming Events

EmpowerMT’s Advanced Leadership Training

EmpowerMT is excited to announce that we will be holding an Advanced Leadership Training September 8th & 9th from 9am to 4pm each day at the Missoula Federal Credit Union’s Training Center (3600 Brooks St., Missoula, MT).

The Advanced Leadership Training is an intensive workshop that teaches participants skills necessary for providing influential leadership in ending discrimination, reducing inter­group conflict, and building inclusive communities and organizations. This training is an excellent professional development opportunity as well as being the first step in becoming an official EmpowerMT volunteer trainer. For more information visit our website.
EPIC After School Clubs Starting September!

EmpowerMT staff is gearing up for one of our favorite youth programs- Empowering People Inspiring Change aka EPIC. In EPIC, students have a place to be themselves without judgement and grow as leaders. In EPIC, students will learn, teach, and problem solve around issues of mistreatment in our schools and community.EPIC is offered after school starting September 26th at Hawthorne and Lowell Elementary as well as Washington, C.S. Porter, and Meadow Hill Middle Schools. For more information visit our website or contact Claire Michelson at claire@empowermt.org.

News of Interest

Eight Year Old Boy has Passion for Drag

An eight-year-old drag queen is taking the scene by storm after discovering the practice at the age of seven.

Montreal mini queen Nemis Quinn Mélançon Golden has been catching the eyes of drag artists across the globe since his alter-ego Lactatia appeared onstage with Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Bianca del Rio on her Werq the World drag tour earlier this summer.

In a new video for Elle.com, Nemis reveals that he has been ‘wearing my sister’s tutus since I was like three or four.’ (Read full article here)

Worker Accused of Profiling Native Couple No Longer Employed by Fresh Market

Missoula Fresh Market said an employee accused of discriminating against a Native American couple in a video viewed more than 100,000 times no longer works for the company.

Shawn Madman and his girlfriend, Tenisha Oldman, went to the store on West Broadway Saturday and noticed a man staring at them as soon as they walked in the door, he said.

Madman confronted the man, who was a Fresh Market employee, and captured the exchange in two cell phone videos, both containing graphic language. (Read full article here)

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