Every year, Generation Waking Up hosts a seven-day training where young leaders ages 16 to 30 come together from all corners of North America and beyond to dive deep into a personal and collective exploration of how we can bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.

Many Backgrounds Sharing a Common Dream

This year’s GenUp Summer Leadership Training, also known as “Seven Days of Transformation,” took place from July 28 – Aug 4 at the EarthRise Retreat Center at IONS – a beautiful venue located 45 minutes north of San Francisco.

Participants attended from Toronto, Canada; Boston, Massachusetts, Brooklyn, New York; Frostburg, Maryland; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; from many parts of California; and from from Auckland, New Zealand. It was an incredibly diverse group of young people with many background and interests, and everyone brought their gifts, perspectives, and passions into the heart of the training.

Transforming Through Heartfelt Engagement

Throughout our time together, we engaged in a wide number of small and large group experiential activities exploring issues of environmental sustainability, social justice, human thriving, and how to go about creating personal and social transformation.

We shared stories, struggles, and dreams, along with spending solo time on the land, and enjoying the EarthRise hot tub under the stars and mysteries of the Universe. Each day began with a short mindfulness meditation and then a morning practice including dance, yoga, meditation, qigong, and physical movement. Our evenings consisted of special activities including Gender Circles, Late Night Art, a dance party, and an open mic. On one special evening we hosted a “Wiser Together” World Cafe and invited guests of many generations to join our training group to explore how we can collaborate across generations to create social change.

It was a deeply inspiring and energizing evening for everyone involved.

Expanding the Ripples of Change

Participants are now back in their home communities and on their campuses preparing to launch new social change projects, lead WakeUps this fall for their peers, and playing their role in “being the change” our world is calling so strongly for. They will continue to stay in touch with the training group that came together through Facebook and peer support group calls, and they will also be expanding the ripples of change by building community and creating circles in the places where they reside.

Thank you to all who helped make this training possible by sharing it with others and contributing to the GenUp Scholarship Fund which allows diverse young people this transformative opportunity.

Next year’s GenUp Summer Leadership Training will be at the Whidbey Institute from August 10 – 17, 2014, so save the dates. If you’d like to explore hosting a GenUp weekend training in your community, contact us at training@generationwakingup.org.

Learn More about Generation Waking Up!

Report from Johsua Gorman: Joshua is the Coordinator of GenUp. He is a lifelong student of human development and transformational education with a focus on providing young people the experiences, knowledge, and skills they need to thrive in the twenty-first century. He is currently at work completing a book titled Generation Waking Up: How A New Generation Of Young People Is Coming Of Age And Changing Our World.