“I Am Part of a Movement”

BRIDGES Camp logoA couple of months ago, I walked into a strange room not knowing what I would encounter. I saw strange but friendly faces, a “melting pot” of a variety of people. They were different ethnicities, different religions and different cultures.

After the first 15 minutes went by, a new vibe dispersed over us. Everyone was talking as if they had known each other for years. I was impressed to learn that we were all similar in many ways. We all had faced, witnessed or had been directly affected by discrimination or injustice at some point in our lives. We were facing similar struggles, and fighting similar battles. We were a group of young people with the same ambition, the ambition to make this world a better world. The BRIDGES Youth Organizing Camp was a perfect way of bringing young leaders together to create meaningful change in our schools. Overall, it was an amazing experience, life changing.le of months ago, I walked into a strange room not knowing what I would encounter. I saw strange but friendly faces, a “melting pot” of a variety of people. They were different ethnicities, different religions and different cultures.

There were many things I did not comprehend or was not aware of before I attended the camp. Before the camp, I said that I wanted to learn to be a good leader because everyone puts so much emphasis on the “leader” but now I realize that you can become much more than a leader, you can become an organizer. A leader leads the way but an organizer gets behind you and pushes you, empowers you and gives you a voice when you can’t find your own. I learned many valuable skills that I hope to put to use at my school, in my community and my life. The camp both motivated and inspired me. I felt renewed, with a new sense of confidence because I now know I am part of something greater than just a club at school, I am part of a movement. I will use the skills I learned at BRIDGES Youth Organizing Camp to help construct the kind of environment that my peers created in those first 15 minutes at the camp, where no one is too shy or too afraid to speak their mind. An environment where everyone feels safe and knows they won’t be judged or frowned upon because they are “different”.

The BRIDGES Youth Organizing Camp marked the beginning, the beginning of a lifelong goal I’d like to pursue. I am extremely thankful I was given the opportunity to attend this camp.

Thank you all for your contributions and for making this possible.

– Gaby G., Newport Harbor High School BRIDGES Program