The groups somewhat intimidating message indicates that it plans to foster a grassroots program that aims to put boots on the ground and help foster a new generation of leaders-not just to help win elections but to strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.
Perhaps what makes the message so disconcerting is the knowledge that Organizing for America has been a major facilitator of the protests in Wisconsin against Governor Scott Walkers proposed budget plans.
Organizing for America sent out a mass email last night to begin the recruiting process and invited workers of all ages to volunteer for the training process. It reads:
If you apply and are selected, youll be trained in the basic organizing principles that have helped to build and power this movement, and youll be assigned to a specific community where youll get to work organizing supporters.
Movements are built and sustained by ordinary people taking responsibility for organizing their fellow citizens to make their voices heard. Were looking for individuals who are prepared to work to help support the Presidents agenda-and lay the groundwork that will help us win a new set of elections.
The LA Times explains, Their job will involve recruiting additional Obama workers, running Obama-related events, knocking on doors to talk to Obama and lay new groundwork to carry this movement forward for years to come.
The email concludes that the work of the new organizers will take our grassroots power to an impressive new level.
Camp Obama, as it has been dubbed, first got its start in 2007 in preparing of the 2008 elections. The camp involved four-day training sessions, with approximately 50 volunteers in each session, at no cost to the volunteers, who were only responsible for their own transportation and lodging.
At the time of its inception, Hans Riemer, the national youth vote director for the Obama campaign, explained that the premise of the camps was to specifically target the youth movement:
Barack Obama is inspiring a new generation of people to come in, and a lot of people have not been involved in the political process before. We are training them, teaching them how to be effective, showing them what their role is in our strategy to win the electionWere taking people from raw enthusiasm to capable organizers. Historically, campaigns have looked at young people as the hardest demographics to mobilize. In reality, if you know what youre doing, they can be one of the easiest to mobilize. The most important thing is that they understand they are an important part of our strategy to win the election. This is not for show, this is not to feel good, this is to get trained and help us to win this election. Its not rocket science. What we have to do is give them the tools to create a plan and just keep in touch with them as they create their plan and execute it. Winning an election is just a matter of breaking it down into manageable pieces, so we show them what those pieces are, and then turn them loose. As long as we can do that, theres no problem. They can make it happen.
As history shows, the youth organization camps had a remarkable impact on the 2008 elections.
In fact, last nights recruitment email mentions the names of Obamas community organizers that got their start from the organizing camps, including Nikki Giancola, a middle school teacher who eventually resigned from her teaching position to pursue a position as a regional Obama field director after undergoing the training. Giancola describes her experience as satisfying helping millions of people.
It also cites Paras Patel, whose community organizing eventually led him to meet the President face to face. Patel describes the encounter: He shook my hand and told me that he was proud of me.
Photo: In this Aug. 20, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during the Organizing for America National Health Care Forum in Washington.: AP Images