It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today with the news that we are suspending our Climate Summer program.
We have determined that at our current levels of staff capacity, it is not possible for Better Future Project to support both Climate Summer and our 350 Massachusetts network in a way that would allow both programs to truly thrive.
As you may know, Climate Summer launched in 2009 as a program of Students for a Just and Stable Future, and when we founded Better Future Project in 2011, Climate Summer became our first program. Over the last six years, more than 125 young people have graduated from Climate Summer, and many of them are now playing important leadership roles in the climate movement on their campuses and in their communities. As riders, they engaged with thousands of community members and hundreds of faith communities and partner organizations (people like you). They helped host countless events and earned hundreds of media hits.
And as our first program, Climate Summer played an essential role in getting Better Future Project off the ground. I am so very proud of the work of everyone involved in Climate Summer -- staff, riders, partners.
As part of our efforts to further strengthen 350 Massachusetts, Marla Marcum, under whose leadership Climate Summer has grown and matured over the past six years, is now pivoting to support the 350 Massachusetts network full-time as our new Network and Trainings Coordinator. Marla will bring her seasoned organizing experience to help this network continue to prosper and develop.
Thank you for all your work building the movement in Massachusetts and beyond, both through Climate Summer and through your efforts in your communities.
We at Better Future Project look forward to working together to achieve our shared goals, and hope to be able to collaborate with all of you on the road ahead.
Onward and upward,
Craig S. Altemose
Executive Director, Better Future Project
I am writing to let you know that I have decided to move on from Better Future Project (BFP). As a co-founder of the organization, I am deeply invested in the success of this venture, and I intend to remain a strong partner and ally in the work of BFP going forward. I am committed to creating spaces and opportunities for leadership development in the grassroots climate justice movement, and I am feeling called to transition into a new phase of my work.
Building and improving Climate Summer over the past six years has been the most rewarding and meaningful work of my life to date. I want to thank everyone who made Climate Summer possible -- especially the alumni who stepped with me into a challenging experience and gave themselves so completely to one another and to our shared work.
There are too many beautiful, funny, inspiring stories from these six years to include in a letter, but I wanted to share a few of the things that I learned from Climate Summer riders and from our community partners:
- Don’t ever give up on someone. Listen. Seek new ways to support a person who is struggling. Listen. Acknowledge mistakes. Listen.
- Love and joy can carry us through so many difficulties, especially when we share them with our “teams” and with the people we encounter along the way.
- Hope is a thing that we build together, just as we make the road by walking (and pedaling).
- Any movement worth building is one that embraces our whole selves and gives us room to screw up, learn, and try again.
- There are so many people in this world who are delighted to pitch in and support visionary work, but we must be prepared to ask for support, even from unlikely allies.
- People can do so much more than they believe they can do, and at its best, my job is about helping others learn the depth of their own power to remake the world.
While I am uncertain about my next steps, I am excited to announce that BFP has granted me the rights to the Climate Summer program if I am able to secure the resources to restart it. In the coming months, I intend to explore the possibility of re-launching Climate Summer in 2016. If you are excited to join this effort, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org -- I’d love to work with you on a renewed Climate Summer.
Once way or another, whether you want to rebuild Climate Summer or just want to say “hello,” please don't hesitate to get in touch!