Ready, set, apply! Applications for 2012-13 now open

Next Up is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 program for all cities! For more information and to apply for programs in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan, follow this link.

The Moonbow Connection

by Katie Rasmussen, NUCalgary2

“Someday we’ll find it, the Moonbow Connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.”

Hello out there. I am writing to you after an inspiring weekend on a central Alberta ranch with a crew of some of the most dedicated, passionate, and sincere people I have the pleasure to know.  The crew? The Next Up Alberta alumni, advisory committee members, staff and guests.  We convened on a family ranch for 2 days to connect with one another, share ideas, make plans and to re-charge our hearts and souls. We were greeted by a beautiful gently rolling landscape of parkland stands wrapped in patches of prairie grass,  serenaded by the songs of colourful birds & invisible frogs, and, on our last night of camping under the stars, were greeted by a passing Moonbow that briefly graced us with its powerful yet gentle presence.

To see a Moonbow is a rare and precious occurrence.  A quick survey of friends, family, and a few internet search engines tells me that very few people have seen or even heard of a Moonbow; certainly for all of us at the Alberta Gathering it was a first time experience.  Moonbows are uncommon because their appearance depends on the coming together of many specific variables at the exact same time, if even one of which is missing, the Moonbow will not occur.  This seems to be a perfect omen for a gathering of progressive people who are pushing on reality for a paradigm shift that will lead to social change and environmental justice.

There is no doubt we are facing a critical moment in time. More often than not, it feels like we are fighting formidable odds in a losing battle that is leading us down a path of ecological disaster and violations of human rights and freedoms. Almost daily we are hearing of more atrocities being committed in our country: adoption of archaic and misguided social policy, blatant undermining of democracy, and unfathomable de-regulation of environmental policy. On the provincial scale, in Alberta, we recently experienced an election that brought us to the brink of having an even more conservative government than we have had for the past 4 decades.

Despite the overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable challenges facing us, our Gathering was filled with energy, hope, laughter and determination.  I did not see one person who had given in to despair. I did not hear one cynical comment.  This group takes the blows that come with living in a conservative climate and fights back harder, all the while maintaining high moral principles, respect for dignity and a pure joy of being alive. We heard creative & ingenious ideas, impassioned & innovative proposals, shared in the joy of the heartwarming successes of others, and brainstormed on how to create more such good news stories.  For this, I am grateful beyond words.

I had the privilege to spend my first vacation of the summer sharing ideas, hopes, dreams, music and laughter with an amazing group of people. The energy of all of those souls coming together is impossible to explain; it has left me feeling strong, inspired and moved to action.  If the message of a Rainbow is a message of hope, possibility and a different life on the other side (I am sure we all remember Kermit the Frog singing to the sky, knowing there must be more to life, hoping he would find it), perhaps the message of the Moonbow is that of hope and possibility in a dark time and under daunting circumstances. I have been star gazing for as long as my memory takes me back and this is the first Moonbow I have ever seen.  The message that I take from this is to keep fighting the good fight, keep living with all your heart, and keep your eyes on the sky.  Eventually, all the pieces will finally fall into place and a Moonbow (or a revolution?) will appear.

“What’s so amazing that keeps us star gazing and what do we think we might see? Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers and me.”

 

#BLKMRK #BLACKOUTSPEAKOUT

Yesterday, Genius and Next Up took part in the Black Out Campaign. For June 4, 2012, we joined hundreds of other organizations who are speaking out and taking a stand for the land, water and climate, which are being threatened by the latest federal budget bill.

If you visited yesterday, our site would have given you this:

Learn more:
http://blackoutspeakout.ca

http://blackmark.leadnow.ca