What are the dates of the program?
Climate Summer 2016 will run from June 13th-August 13th. Team Leaders will need to arrive to training on June 11th.
Who can apply?
Climate Summer applicants should be between the ages of 18 and 25. You do NOT need to be a student in order to participate. Consideration will be given to those not yet 18 who will have graduated from high school and/or have lived independently away from home for some time. Full-time students who are older than 25 may be considered, as well.
Does it cost money to participate?
No, there are no direct fees associated with participating. Once you arrive at the training site, your food and housing are covered. You are asked to provide your own bicycle and other required gear (unless you make arrangements with us in advance to borrow a bike or some gear). We expect riders to transport themselves to and from the starting and ending locations (with some assistance available for those who need help getting to the training site from Boston). We do also encourage riders to fundraise to help support the program.
Is financial assistance available?
Yes! But in limited quantities. We know that in order to commit to a program like Climate Summer, many young adults need financial support. If you need assistance and are admitted, our staff will follow up with you regarding the process of requesting financial aid. If we cannot provide the funding you require directly, we will work with you to identify other possible funding sources. Please do not apply for financial assistance unless you sincerely need the support.
Will I be required to fundraise if I participate?
While fundraising is not required, it is strongly encouraged. We hope that you will feel that your work and ours are worth funding, and we will encourage you to approach family and friends for small donations so you can help us build out a stronger grassroots funding base. In the past, most riders who have committed to fundraising to support a summer program have been able to raise between $500 and $1,000. And don’t worry, we have materials to support your fundraising efforts and staff mentors to coach and cheer you on.
What is a typical day like as a Climate Summer Rider?
There really is no “typical day” for a rider. Projects and tasks throughout the summer are incredibly varied, as the program is designed to give riders a wide range of experiences and skills, and to help develop flexibility and adaptability to unknown situations. However, riders can expect the following during their summer:
- Bicycling a significant distance (30-60 miles) one day per week from one community to the next, and six days working in each community
- Hosting educational presentations, community meetings, potlucks, and events to plug people into the climate movement
- Planning and executing direct actions and other creative events against fossil fuel infrastructure
- Attending community meetings, potlucks, and other events that are important to the community
- Meeting with legislators, community leaders, religious leaders, local organizers and activists, and other stakeholders
- Volunteering in communities and canvassing/tabling at farmers markets
- Speaking on radio and television news shows
- Planning for weeks ahead in your role as Team Leader, Outreach Coordinator, Traditional Media Coordinator, Digital Coordinator, or Video Coordinator
- Playing games, cooking delicious meals, sleeping on floors in sleeping bags, being silly, and living simply with your teammates
Do I need my own bicycle?
Yes, you are expected to provide your own bicycle. If you do not already have a durable bicycle that can carry you and your gear up to 1000 miles (and if you cannot afford to purchase one), please let us know. If you are accepted to the program and commit to riding this summer, we will make sure that an appropriate bicycle for your physical frame and the demands of the program is available for you to borrow for the summer. If you DO borrow a bicycle, we request (but do not require) a $75 donation to cover a tune-up and parts for the loaner bicycle.
What other equipment, besides a bicycle, do I need?
Check out the packing list from a previous Climate Summer year. An updated list will be provided to this year’s confirmed riders.
Do I need to be an experienced cyclist?
Riders of all levels are welcome – we’ve even had riders who specifically learned how to ride a bike for the program! While advance preparation to build endurance is recommended, it is by no means required.
What skills will I need to participate in the program?
You MUST be physically able to travel by bicycle. Climate Summer is not a race, but it is a test of endurance. Each summer, we welcome brand new riders who learned to bike in order to participate in the program; inexperienced riders who need some help understanding how to shift; casual riders who are comfortable on their bikes but have never ridden very far; strong riders who – from the start – have no trouble carrying their own gear and pulling a trailer; and sometimes we encounter a rider who defies gravity and never seems to struggle. Physical preparation is important, and the more comfortable you are on your bike, the safer you’ll be. But, if you can stay upright on your bike, you can do this.
While we have no other formal skill requirements, the following are strongly recommended:
- A strong commitment to a better future free from fossil fuels;
- A willingness to talk to many different people in order to learn from them and to share your message;
- An understanding of the importance of movement-building (or a desire to learn it); and
- A flexible attitude and the desire to work closely with a team of your peers for the summer.
A formal training in organizing skills, media, relationship-building, bike safety and maintenance, and other skills will take place at the beginning of the program.
Where do we sleep at night? And what do we eat?
Food and housing are provided by the program. Most nights, you will sleep in houses of worship (often a church) or other community center. Occasionally, you may sleep in the home of a community partner. Each team has a modest food budget that allows them to cook their own food for their meals, though many community partners will also donate food to the teams or host potlucks for/with them. During the training, riders learn some tasty, quick, easy, inexpensive, and wholesome recipes from one another and from staff.
Can I receive internship credit at my school for this?
Policies vary by school, but we are happy to work with you and with your faculty advisor or other staff from your school. About 1/4 of the riders each summer are able to fulfill a degree requirement or to create a plan with faculty to qualify for some academic credit. Some schools even provide funding for unpaid internships – check with your Community Service center, your Career Services office, and your advisor to find what resources and opportunities may be open to you.
How is this different from other internships?
This is not a traditional internship. This is a leadership development program that is also designed to support and enhance the work already underway in communities. You will have a basic job description and responsibilities. Staff will provide training and ongoing support and coaching, but we will not dictate tasks. Rather, you will be working with a group of peers to develop a team agenda to work with community leaders, setting the team’s schedule with minimal direction from staff, organizing local events and workshops, conducting volunteer work and other activities and meetings at the team’s discretion. Staff will support your work with contacts for community partners and some pre-scheduled events and meetings, but what you accomplish during this program is up to you and your team.