By Cara Cooper
To be honest, four months later and I am still processing what I’ve learned and how I feel about my transition out of KSEC. One thing I know for sure is that I will always remember those years as some of the best years of my life.
What we have accomplished together is more than I could have ever dreamed. Together we grew KSEC from a loose coalition of students on a handful of campuses to a thriving statewide organization with national recognition. And while the overall growth of the organization is exciting, it is not what I think about as the most important work that we’ve done.
Because when I think about what I’ve learned through organizing with KSEC, it is the individual relationships, friendships and mentorships that are what is really important. And I cherish those relationships more than you know. It is through our deep ways of being together and being in community that we are going to really change the world.
Sure there are impressive numbers. Together over the past six years we raised over $250,000, trained 1,200 young people in grassroots organizing, mobilized 2,000+ people to take action, won 6 campus campaigns, tripled our staff size, etc, etc. And I’m damn proud of that, too. But mostly…. Mostly I’m proud of each of you.
It is so much easier to stay jaded, to (falsely) assume that there is nothing we can do to fix the problems that we see around us and to just exist in our bubbles. But you have risen to the call for more. You have seen the vision that we’ve dreamed together of a Kentucky where we can not only stay but thrive, where we have a liveable planet and justice for all. You are the reason that this hard work has all been worth it. I am eternally thankful for you believing in me, believing in us and believing in KSEC.
I thought I would be nervous to leave. I worried that I would worry about the organization that I poured so much of my heart, sweat and tears into. But the truth is I am not worried. I am proud, I am excited and I 100% believe that our KSEC community will continue to kick ass long into the future. I’m so sure in fact, that I am pledging to increase my monthly donation to KSEC this Spring Fund Drive. We all know money isn’t everything but it does help make this work possible. If you believe in KSEC and the power of young Kentuckians, pledge a few bucks each month and show it!
I’ll leave you with a couple of things that I have distilled from my time in the youth environmental movement.