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North America Leadership Jam 2015

North America Jam - Save the Date-01[2]

YES!’s 25th Anniversary




SEPTEMBER 6-13, 2015

Have you ever asked yourself:

“How can I better use my time, my relationships and my resources to do my part in transforming our world?

How can I find the support to sustain myself and grow my contributions?

How can I really ‘be the change’ I want to see?”


If YES!, then you are invited to apply to YES!’s 2015 North America Jam – a transformational gathering for change-makers to unite and drive individual, interpersonal, and systemic change.


The Jam was a time to question, pull off masks, center myself, be inspired, and love…. I have never been surrounded by so many incredible young people … I felt gently and safely yet firmly and fiercely moved through an experience of reconnection with myself and a community of social change makers for justice. The Jam brought me into focus for myself and the work I am doing in the world.”

– Lisl Schoepflin, 26, Panta Rhea Foundation, Oakland, CA



For the past 25 years, YES! has organized 120+ weeklong camps and Jams with people from 85 countries, and continues to curate spaces where inspiring young and intergenerational change-makers can build community, forge alliances, and become equipped with tools for personal, interpersonal and systemic progress.


If you are active in organizations or movements working toward a just, sustainable and thriving future; willing to ask big questions and hold paradox with an open, loving heart, you are invited to apply. Partial scholarships are available.  



Priority deadline: June 30, 2015

Final deadline: July 31, 2015



We call our gatherings Jams because we are inspired by music jam sessions. YES! Jams bring together the same creativity, co-learning, and fun for social change. When musicians get together to “jam,” they get to share their unique skills and knowledge, as well as learn from the other musicians. They get to hear and experience other styles of music while expanding their own horizons. They are also able to have fun, build community, and use their individual talent, inspiration and skills to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. When musicians improvise, they create music that no one has ever heard before. YES! Jams do the same for people changing the world.


Jams have a unique, co-creative facilitation team, and the engine of the jam will be your questions, your wisdom, your challenges and your curiosity. We will co-create. We will jam!




Are you:

  • Hungry to build bridges across divides within yourself and across relationships and communities?
  • Committed to using your resources and leveraging your privileges in alignment with your values?
  • Overwhelmed with options and not sure exactly how to stand by a cause?
  • Wondering how to deepen your understanding of what positive impact even is?
  • Interested in shedding guilt and paralysis and ready to rethink what power means for you?
  • Seeking a healthy relationship to your gifts, skills and resources?



We’re in a unique and powerful moment. There is a call for ideological and political interventions to bring justice and equity to situations that are thoroughly unjust – from #BlackLivesMatter to Marriage Equality to the largest climate change march in the world.


The Jam is an opportunity to explore new pathways, internally, interpersonally and systemically, to meet this moment.  It’s a chance for us to come together, learn, draw from our commonalities and heal across our divides to be able to bring all of who we are to the table to create a vision of the world in which we want to live.  Why?  Because we are at a Tipping Point.  Because the time for holding back is gone.  Because in order to rise to the challenges we’re facing, it’s going to take all of us.



Jams focus on three interdependent levels of awareness:


The Jam is a place to share and reflect on your life journey and your work in the world. It is also an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge.  


We come together to deepen in our understanding of each other and of ourselves in the intention of building trust and friendship in a meaningful way. We feel that the more authentic our relationships are, the stronger the foundations on which new collaborations and synergies within our movements and communities are built. Cultivating a deeper understanding of our many-layered identities is a key part of how we can build a more resilient, interconnected web of transformation.


The Jam gives us time to become clearer about our vision and our work in the world; we get a chance to link issues that aren’t commonly linked, to notice crucial intersection points in a manner that will aid us in reimagining what we believe to be possible and reengineering how we intend to get there.  We hope it will enable each participant to deepen their capacity to effect change and carry their dreams forward.


Who Is Putting the North America Jam together?

Meet the Organizing and Facilitation Team!

Photo on 7-4-13 at 11.46 AM #3Lillian 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.


Austin WillacyAustin 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.

305278_10150359822245140_747470139_10190432_242988494_nShilpa 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.



Photo on 3-26-14 at 3.32 PM #2Will Grant was the co-founder and Executive Director for 10 years of BLAST, a multicultural organization that developed networks of leaders from marginalized communities to democratize education and social service systems in New Mexico. He was the national trainer for VALUE, developing democratic education systems in 10 states. He just left a gig on the other side of the class divide, working at a progressive High School to teach the children of privilege how to use their social position to design a world that integrates environmental regeneration, multiculturalism and participatory democracy. His current project is the Community Pungwe, a yearly gathering of change makers to integrate our work in ecology, the arts, law, education, spirituality, healing, and body-mind consciousness. The Pungwe develops networks to generate a new culture and the systems to make the world just, beautiful and a lot more fun.



_MG_4656Daniela Plattner is an instigator, facilitator, and experience designer whose passion is to help individuals and groups unlock their creativity, clarity and confidence. Her mentorship has helped young adults in transition identify and fortify their professional purpose, and she has worked extensively with nonprofits, social enterprises, universities, business leaders, and Fortune 100 companies to drive their missions forward. Initiatives close to her heart include Facebook’s first climate summit, Nexus Summits at the United Nations and the US Congress, One Billion Rising, Global Water Dances, Stanford’s Design for Dance, Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute, and the Omega Institute. She holds a BA in Psychology, an MA in Expressive Arts Consulting & Coaching, and is certified in Integrative Health Coaching and 5Rhythms, a movement meditation practice she’s been studying for fifteen years. Her mission is to catalyze uninhibited creative expression, body-mind synthesis, purposeful business ventures, and compassionate collaboration.



5516Ashoka Finley works on issues concerning energy, food, and sustainability community scale. He works both locally and internationally in an effort to find shared best practices. In his life and projects, he seeks to connect diverse groups of people along common lines with dialogue and inclusiveness. His dedication to the empowerment and liberation of all people makes him determined to develop greater capacity within himself to be open and caring in every endeavor in his life.




Priority deadline: June 30, 2015

Final deadline: July 31, 2015

Any questions?  Write to yesnorthamericajam@gmail.com




What a gift, through, not just to talk about sustainability and community care but to get to live it for a week, to actually feel it in my bones and in my soul. Without that lived experience, a lot of conversations I’ve been having on the issue of helping movement builders remain healthy and joy-filled would remain in the realm of speculation.  I have met people – both younger and older – where wisdom will shape both the pace and very fabric of the work I am doing. I am so grateful to have them now as a permanent part of my accountability and support network…. I am so grateful.”

– Sandhya Jha, 37, Oakland Peace Center, Oakland, CA


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, and President of The Patchwork School Board of Directors, Boulder, CO


I have never felt this loved, supported, & most importantly, seen. This Jam was one of the most important things I have done for myself in my 20-year life. Thank you is not enough.”

– Maggie MacLean, 20, student/artist, Portland, OR


I have done activism work, and I have done beloved community. Never before have I experienced a beloved community of activists. Thank you for believing and trusting so deeply in human beings.”

– Laura Paskell-Brown, 35, doula, San Francisco, CA

Something happens from the very beginning of a Jam that allows invisible barriers to melt away. Individuals who were strangers days or only hours before feel comfortable exchanging in ways that normally require years to foster. Relationships cultivated through this magic are imprinted with trust and respect and authenticity seldom found in public, professional and even social circles. YES! inspires the intellect, body and creative spirit. This is a space of refuge, rejuvenation, refinement and mobilization. I have received innumerable blessings in sharing this space with 30 members of my new Jamily. The network of people established this week and amongst all Jam alumni harbors an unparalleled potential for leveraging change in the world.”

– Seth Lennon Weiner, 23, Law and Restorative Justice student, Canyon Country, CA


I’ve met wonderful, eclectic co-conspirators working to rethink and reshape our relationships and our communities. I feel very blessed by the entire nourishing week.”

– Amanda Gibbon, 33, Seneca Center Family of Agencies, Berkeley, CA


I feel loved, seen, heard in a way. I haven’t felt in a long time. I feel a sense of being liberated from a lot of internal anxiety, holding + pressure. I feel this liberation not only in my thoughts but also deeply in my body. I feel like I now know what spirit is and I never knew before. I love my own spirit + I love the spirits of all the amazingly juicy wonderful humans here.”

– Maya Weir, 25, Community Yoga Project, Oakland, CA


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

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


Because of the different styles and diversity within the leadership team, I felt a sense of safety and trust was built in a way that allowed many different types of expressions and identity- All being welcomed…I felt affirmed and came away with a renewed sense of joy and commitment to way work and life as a cultural change maker and advocate for regenerative healing work in my community. So much love!”

– Angela Sevin, 50, The Green Life, Oakland, CA


I learned about love and embodiment and healing and vulnerability. I learned about magic and redwood forest and eye contact. I have never felt so fully seen in my entire life.”

– Giselle Castaño, 28, educator/teacher, New York City, NY

Apply Now

(partial scholarships available)

Any questions?  Write to yesnorthamericajam@gmail.com