As with all prestigious and somewhat secret societies before us (Order of the Phoenix, Anonymous, the Ancient Order of Hibernians), Break Away is quietly launching a world power: the Society of Active Citizens.
We of the Society consider ourselves Active Citizens, catalyzed by our involvement in alternative breaks. We want to continue to build the Movement and to develop our own practice of active citizenship. This is not an easy task to do alone. So,
- Expect a year of rigorous support from and connection with BA HQ and other active citizens, people who have long since or very recently graduated, and are now in communities all across the United States. No current students. Sorry breakers, talk to us after that great reflection we call commencement exercises.
- The aim is to network you with a small, committed, powerful group – while helping you mobilize social change in your communities and stay more connected to the alternative break Movement.
- There will be some skin in the game: $25/month through the end of 2016. This will allow us the staff power to support the program, generate funds for collective initiatives, and ensure that members are all-in.
- And for the sake of keeping this special and unique, we’ll only be taking 50 people into the Society of Active Citizens each year. If this goes well, we’ll add another class of 50 in 2017 and you’ll still have the opportunity to renew. Consider yourself a donor, philanthropist, and an investor.
BENEFITS to MONTHLY SOAC MEMBERSHIP
- COLLECTIVE CHALLENGES
- SHARP ISSUE SPECIFIC EDUCATION
- WELL TIMED AIRDROPS
- ACCESS TO THE VAULTS OF SHARED RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY
COLLECTIVE CHALLENGES: You are familiar with Anonymous, the devastating international network of hacktivists. That’s not us. But we do want to work together to make things happen. These challenges may be presented by SOAC members or BA staff, but could take the form of, for example:
- 30 day challenge pledge cards
- A collective click campaign, bolstering a cause we can get behind into a win
- A tirade of thank you letters to other, unsuspecting active citizens doing great work in the world
SHARP ISSUE SPECIFIC EDUCATION: The triangle of quality community service reminds us that there is no strong direct service without education and reflection. We’ve got to prime our minds for this work. In order to build a body that can co-educate and reflect together, SOAC will do things like:
- The SOAC Reader – every so often (we like to keep the timing a surprise), Break Away staff will cumulate compelling issue-specific reads submitted by members of the Society and culled from literary think tanks like the Economist, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, etc. Consider it your chance to peruse the work that's influencing our minds at HQ.
- Active Citizen Speaker Series: Society members will also have guaranteed spots on the seasonal conference call series turned Hangout on Air, where we are pursuing bright and compelling minds in the work of citizenship. Past Active Citizen Speakers have included Sheryl WuDunn, Edwidge Danticat, Ai-jen Poo, and David Lubell.
- Knowing that retention and action are both more likely when information is moved out from hearing and reading into sharing, Society members will have the platform to transfer education to the broader movement with regular posts on the Break Away blog that are sent out to the broader alternative break alumni network. You'll also get the blog sent to your Inbox weekly when they're posted to our website.
SOCIETY OF ACTIVE CITIZEN AIRDROPS: Airdrops are the term used for the organized delivery (often via air) to resupply otherwise inaccessible people. You know, those padded bundles or packages with a parachute seen drifting down from the sky for humanitarian operations. Some people call them care packages, but the Society is more sophisticated than that. Airdrops can be expected annually, on a day you'll least expect or expect it the most. You'll see. The contents, which are designed to support you in the sometimes lonely efforts of active citizenship, might include:
- Books, like our staff favorite, Working Side by Side
- The newest Break Away SWAG
- Treats that sustain*
- Tools to support your work *
*Now, none of these examples are guarantees, but just examples of the joy that you’d feel upon opening an airdrop – grand enough to support you once a year for active citizen work.
ACCESS TO THE VAULTS OF SHARED RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY: The greatest power from the Society is as we form into a “small group of thoughtful committed citizens” and then replicate that in our own communities. It’s hard, hard work and we know it. So, the Society has forums to encourage, challenge, collect best practices, and hold each other accountable:
- A private Facebook page. Members only, as they say.
- Prioritized and discounted (or free) invitations to Break Away in-person gatherings - like alumni trainings, dinners when staff are in town, and Community Dinners at the ABCs.
- A Google Group that will serve as a private listserv and shared Google folder that will contain Olde Readers, audio files of past calls, organizing models, workshop outlines, contacts sheets, active citizen centric job postings, etc.
It’s time to make a choice about how you want active citizenship to be in your life. Be bold and take part in building a vibrant, optimistic, smart, action-oriented, (semi-secret) group of leaders who are going to really go after it in 2016.
Join the Society
Make a recurring donation online now using PayPal—it’s secure and easy. PayPal accepts all major credit cards.
Thank you! Your joining the Society of Active Citizens is a boost that brings a "huzzah" cry from our staff. We'll be sending an encoded welcome letter in the following days.
Break Away is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.