Notes from the Field

Grab your clipboards! Let’s get to work.

June 19, 2019

One of the things we love most about Forward Montana is working with young people to change our local communities for the better. We know that the combo of passion + conversation + clipboards is unstoppable in creating local and statewide change, and as organizers we’ve seen that change first-hand over the years.

Like when, young people at Forward Montana made phone calls and knocked doors that resulted in the final votes that passed school bonds in Missoula and Yellowstone counties — and when young leaders turned out their friends over and over to pass non-discrimination ordinances in Bozeman and Missoula — and when MSU students demanded voting accessibility and moved a polling location to campus. There are so many local wins because young Montanans turn out time and time again for each other.

But WTF do we do about those really BIG problems like climate change and nationwide student debt? It can feel hella overwhelming to think about how a group in Montana is supposed to impact the country or even the entire globe.

The truth is, sometimes we feel overwhelmed too. But after we re-charge with a little help from our friends via inner tube water polo or belting our favorite karaoke classics we’re ready to shake off those big problem blues through some good old fashioned organizing.

Just last week we had two cool opportunities to make sure young Montanans are taking action now AND looking ahead at the big picture.

With Vice President Mike Pence showing up in Billings and Yellowstone, I joined some friends at Planned Parenthood to stand in protest against the administration’s moves to de-fund Planned Parenthood, break down protections for LGBTQ+ people, and devastate our National Parks and public lands. Chanting, cheering, and gathering with my fellow organizers recharges my spirit and inspires me to take more action at the federal level! — Michael

Leaders from the Alliance for Youth Action, a network of young person-led organizations from all across the country, met in Missoula last week to connect, share lessons, and plan ahead for 2020. How can we make sure our values and needs as a generation are front and center on the national stage as 2020 approaches? How do we grow a movement that uplifts young people from Milwaukee to Montana? I was so excited for Forward Montana to host this amazing group of people in Missoula that will help us build towards greater young person-led power in 2020. — Rachel

We’re not sure what the future holds but we do know that to tackle problems as big as climate change, affordable healthcare, wages, and electoral reform, we need a large network of invested young people in communities all over the globe with fire in their bellies and clipboards in their hands to lead the way.

Are you ready? Now’s the time to:

  1. Sign up to volunteer
  2. Become a monthly Rockstar donor
  3. Apply for our internship

Rachel Huff-Doria is Forward Montana’s Executive Director.

Inside the office, Rachel leads our board and staff in planning efforts by asking heady questions like, “How can we ensure young Montanans’ values are better represented in our government?” and “How do we make sure the coffee pot is turned off when we leave?”. Outside the office, Rachel LOVES frequenting Montana hot spots–hot springs, saunas, bubble baths, sunny spots on the floor.

 

 

Michael Nelson is Forward Montana’s Billings Field Manager.

Inside the Office: Michael can be found ugly crying every time our volunteers and interns change the world (even by a little bit). Outside the Office: Michael loves drinking dry cabernets to “improve his French”.