“The North America Jam has been a deeply moving and transformative experience for me. The Jam provided me the space to explore my internal capacities while providing me the tools needed to expand my interpersonal capacities. This process was made possible by being held in a loving community, which empowers and has equipped me to take these skills out in the world and my work.”
– Isaac Graves, 24, International Coordinator, IDEC 2013, Cleveland, OH
North America Jam
July 7-14, 2013
Ben Lomond, CA, USA
Contact: Katie Greenman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is our honor to invite you to apply to participate in the second annual North America Jam! This Jam will connect 30 diverse, engaged and committed leaders from around the continent, for a week of deep listening, sharing, self-discovery, systemic inquiry and community building. It will take place from Sunday, July 7, to Sunday, July 14, 2013, at a retreat site outside of Santa Cruz, California.
What is the intention of the Jam?
The North America Jam is a gathering for three different levels of change: the internal (self), the interpersonal (relationships) and the systemic (the whole). The Jam is not a conference, seminar or a typical meeting.
On the internal level, it is a place for participants to share and reflect on our life journeys and what makes us who we are today. It is an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge, to ask meaningful questions, to unlearn our fears and blocks, access our hearts, and open our minds to move more boldly in the world. It is a time to recharge and renew and to experience self-care and personal sustainability.
On the interpersonal level, we come together to share our cultures, our stories and our struggles, to deepen in our understanding of each other and of ourselves. The Jam values diversity and seeks to bring together as diverse a group of people as possible. During the week, we hope to discover our commonalities and celebrate our differences. We take an honest, courageous and loving look at the identities that define and often separate us – race, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, etc., – and seek to have authentic conversations to heal these divides. We know such conversations are rare in our societies, but we believe that the way to move forward with them is to shine a light, slow down, and take time for vulnerability, truth-telling, risk-taking, and deep listening. The Jam provides a unique container, where continuous inquiry and intimacy create the alchemy to have these conversations in a focused, safe and loving way — on levels we don't 'normally' engage in.
On the systemic level, through the Jam, we become clearer about our vision and work in the world. We get a chance to link issues that aren’t commonly linked, to notice crucial intersection points, and get a clearer picture of the whole. We come together to learn from each other: about what is working, about what mistakes we have made, about where we need help. We have a chance to share tools and ideas to support one another. In turn, we hope this helps us to generate a body of collective wisdom for activism in the region and a collective vision for the world we want. We also hope it will enable each participant to feel deepened in their capacity to affect meaningful positive change and carry their dreams forward.
“Blessed to witness such a powerful example of people coming together and cultivation enough love to hold the hard conversations and interactions necessary for change. The Jam has given me renewed energy and a deeper sense of my own strength and vision moving forward. I have witnessed sweet expressions of love and concrete examples of the work it takes to be in community working towards justice with one another. I am so excited to carry back all the love and learning from the Jam to my loved ones, friends and family, the young people who I spend my days with and my community as a whole. I am honoured to be part of the Jamily.”
– Jessie Workman, 28, Youth Shelters Santa Fe, NM
"The North America Jam has filled me up, inspired me, cared for me, and connected me deeper with my heart. I can unequivocally say that the world needs more of YES! The world needs more safe spaces to process trauma and pain, and more circles of understanding, dancing and celebrating. The Jam experience showed me what is possible, the magic that can happen when a group comes together, with intention and purpose and allows each group member to be fully seen and cared for, getting what they need: Love.”
– Dan Jubelier, 19, Generation Waking Up intern and Tufts University student, Boston, MA
Who is being invited to the North America Jam?
As mentioned above, we seek to bring together as diverse a group of people as possible. This means we are looking for a range in:
- leadership (from ‘person on the ground’ to ‘director and founder’);
- years of experience (from ‘just starting out’ to ‘been at it for a while’);
- methods and venues of social engagement (entrepreneurs, NGOs, communities, families, neighborhoods, healers, philanthropists, government, etc.);
- issue- or work-focus (for example, community media, local economies and globalization, indigenous issues, education, food security, cultural regeneration, cultural exchange, interfaith, health and physical well-being, ecology, spiritual healing and recovering from trauma, arts, sustainable living tools and practices, political participation, socially- and ecologically-conscious building and architecture, upholding and honoring diverse forms of human dignity, etc.);
- identity and world-view (class, ethnicity, race, religion, sexuality, age, etc.)
Who is putting on the North America Jam?
The Jam is being organized and facilitated by a dynamic team:
Julian Caspari is the co-founder of Schools Without Borders (SWB), empowering a global network of organizations to deliver essential learning opportunities for young people outside the classroom. Julian has a decade of leadership experience working with communities as a facilitator, organizer and mentor. He has led initiatives ranging from corporate and community engagement, to youth employment and health and wellness projects across the Toronto Region and around the world. Julian brings collective leadership, organizational design, and multi-sectoral partnership expertise to his work. An Associate at Making Good, 2011 DiverseCity Fellow, Board Member at SWB and YES and consultant to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Julian is committed to establishing partnerships between corporate, government and community sectors in an effort to build “equity” for people, communities and society at large.
Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years working as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India. Shilpa has researched, written numerous books and articles, facilitated workshops and hosted gatherings on topics ranging from globalization, creative expressions, ecology, democratic living, innovative learning and unlearning. She had been the main coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network for five years. She is passionate about dance and music, organic and natural farming, upcycling and zero waste living, asking appreciative questions and being in community. All of her work seeks to uncover ways for people to free themselves from dominating, soul-crushing institutions and to live in greater alignment with their hearts and deepest values, their local communities, and with nature.
Katie Greenman has been involved with YES! since 2007 when she attended her first jam at age seventeen. After traveling for four months at age thirteen, Katie tapped into a new level of self-awareness and a strong sense of social responsibility that continues to fuel her passion for supporting and connecting with others. Currently in a PhD program on Child Development and Peace Studies at Tufts University, she is a passionate advocate for being socially responsible and acknowledging the importance of our own emotional well-being in all that we do. For over seven years she has worked with Challenge Day, an organization that provides experiential workshops that promote a world where all people feel safe, loved and celebrated, which is what introduced her to the work and wonder of YES!.
Austin Willacy is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter who has toured extensively throughout the U.S and Europe as a member of The House Jacks, a multi-award winning a cappella rock band featured on The Sing-Off on NBC and on Monday Night Football on ESPN. He is the director of ‘Til Dawn, Youth in Arts’ award-winning teen a cappella group and has facilitated over 35 youth retreats. Austin has also co-facilitated four Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jams for YES! and served on the board of Rainforest Action Network for four years and is in his sixth year of service on the board of the Freight & Salvage. He donates his musical talent to a wide range of educational, social and environmental organizations.
Lillian Hanan Al-Bilali has been inspired to deepen her understanding of how diverse communities can become more interconnected and, particularly, how shared experiences create space for dialogue — ever since she participated in the 2010 Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam. Since her college years, one of her most consistent passions has been issues of youth empowerment. Her student activism at Hampton University focused on societal inequalities especially in regards to substandard education and high incarceration rates for youth of color. Following graduation, Hanan became an administrator at Children’s Arts and Science Workshops (CASW), a non-profit agency in New York City. Here, she mentored young people from the Washington Heights and Harlem communities by preparing them for college and for the work force. Currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hanan has recently received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan. Her concentration in Social Policy and Evaluations allows her to focus on strengthening services offered through the non-profit sector at the state and local levels. She continues to make people her priority as a committed collaborator with organizations and initiatives that support underrepresented communities throughout the Ann Arbor area.
You are invited!
Our team would like to welcome you to apply for the Jam. Feel free to share this info with other young leaders you know in the region. And do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
With best wishes and love,
Austin, Katie, Hanan, Julian and Shilpa
”Each session was so relevant to my life as a North American, a youth, a mother and an activist. I have learned skills to better my life significantly with my relationships to myself, my loved ones, co-workers and fellow community members. I am leaving feeling inspired, loved, reconnected, pushed and pulled in all the best ways possible.”
– Amber Buchanan, 26, Gaelic Activist, Nova Scotia, Canada
“Living in such a crazy world, we all carry so much unnecessary baggage that the Jam unpacks. Healing and growing hurts but it is so necessary, and it is great to be able to go through it in such a loving community.”
– Kazu Haga, 31, Positive Peace Warrior Network, Oakland, CA