The weekend’s already over?!

I encountered many highlights, along with some downfalls throughout my experience with What’s the Story? this weekend. The thing I found most enjoyable about it was meeting new people from different backgrounds and locations, and making friends with them. I also liked the fact that as much as the weekend was scheduled and processed, we had independent time as well. This created a sense of organization and freedom, as we had time set aside for us to do whatever we felt would strengthen us at the time. For example, before going to bed and after dinner and a quick debrief, I got a chance to simply walk around and talk with new people I don’t know. Another highlight from this retreat was getting the opportunity to work with young people who are just as engaged, motivated, and interested in social change as I am, along with older professionals who could guide us in the right direction and help us stay on track. One struggle I faced was narrowing down the broad topic of climate change into a single topic. Climate change consists of many ideas and concepts, and therefore it was difficult to select a single aspect of it to study. Another difficulty was choosing the groups. Many people were interested in climate change, so we decided to split it up into two sub-topics. It took a long time for us to decide on two groups that would function well together, but I was pleased with the outcome, as I was placed with two people who live close to me, and who I know I already work well with. I also sometimes struggled staying focused during extended periods of time, such as a long presentation or being a part of a group discussion that lasted a while. However, the movement breaks and food breaks helped me significantly when I was having trouble.

The food was a tremendous highlight as well. I loved having access to all the amazing food and snacks provided to us. I must have gained 5 pounds or so!

The topic our group ended up choosing was “climate and culture”, which was going to shed light on the cultural and economic changes Vermont would see from the results of climate change, and put a more relatable view on it. However, we ended up shifting to a new topic, focusing on environmental sustainability in a rural area. This is an interesting topic to me, as I am interested in climate change and strive to live a lifestyle in which I can help the earth as much as possible. We intend to answer the question: What is the most sustainable way to live, and what choices and people make to live more sustainably? It was also fascinating to get to brainstorm this topic and our ideas with Kate, our mentor, since she has been involved in filmmaking before and can provide a professional’s perspective and advice for techniques to make our documentary the best it can be. Also, I am in a group with people I knew prior to the retreat, and that are accepting and make me feel comfortable sharing my personal ideas and opinions. Although it was difficult to find a place to start our journey, we came up with a couple things with will progress on in the next couple of weeks.

We will begin by figuring out methods of obtaining credible and useful information that we will use in our film. For example, I have personal ties to people who work with Sustainable Woodstock, and Mateo will talk to the facilitator of the non-profit organization Change the World Kids. Both of which would be helpful sources for our topic. Also, we will meet weekly and discuss ideas to move further with our topic in the process of eventually story boarding the film. We will also discuss the best way to reach the audience we are targeting, and what choices we should make to do so. 

I am grateful for this eye-opening opportunity, and already looking forward to the next retreat!

Sam Leggett

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