What Boot Campers say

Civic Boot Camp makes an impact 

Civic Boot Camper


"When I registered for Civic Boot Camp, I expected to learn more about the city, rediscover old neighborhoods and meet some new people.

But what I didn’t expect to explore my feelings about the 'American dream.' Is it alive? Who is an American?

As my fellow boot campers and I discovered and talked about throughout the day, the only way various communities can achieve their American dreams is through civic power. Because only when the people work together can the people win. While the current American population looks vastly different compared to 50 years ago, it all boils down to independence and self-sustenance. Only now, access and diversity are thrown into the mix.

As one of our speakers said, 'The dream is still there. But now it’s not the same as the traditional definition.'"


"Three highlights of Civic Boot Camp stand out for me:

1. The entire event reiterated the importance of partnership and collaboration. The involvement of the Olympic Sculpture Park staff, History Link, the Duwamish River Clean Up Coalition, the City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the Social Justice Fund and Pike Place Market representatives throughout the day was truly remarkable. While the representatives did not agree about everything, they both modeled and engaged in truly civil discourse.

2. The diversity of the participants was also outstanding! From retirees residing in the downtown core to representatives from the University of Washington, the Gates Foundation, Safeco and other industries - we all learned from each other and felt empowered to truly engage in dialogue throughout the day.

3. The space to create a Civic Action Plan and reflect on our own involvement as citizens and community members was both appreciated and valued. In my professional life I spend a lot of time encouraging young people to be involved in their communities, but it is rare for me to have the space and time to think about my own personal contributions to community. This tool also made my staff think about how we could incorporate civic action planning more explicitly into our programs.

Put simply, I cannot rave enough about my experiences and those of my staff."


"One of the things that struck me most about my Civic Boot Camp experience was how community and corporate leaders didn’t shy away from speaking strongly about their opinions and their differences.

Yet, despite strong views, there was an overall sense of respect and understanding. Most importantly, there was a chance for boot campers to ask questions.

Staff ensured every boot camper voice had an equal opportunity to be heard throughout the day."