Wellstone Action: A bootcamp for progressives

If you would like to get involved in progressive politics, you can get the skills you need through Wellstone Action. Wellstone Action, a not-for profit based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, trains progressive citizens—including those who would like to run for public office—in how to win elections, enact legislation, and pass ballot initiatives. Wellstone Action is named after the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota who died in a plane crash along with his wife Sheila on October 25, 2002. Its mission is to honor the legacies of both Paul and Sheila by continuing their work. Wellstone Action’s thousands of alumni are helping to elect progressive candidates around the country and mobilize on issues that matter to their communities.

Training programs are held in Minnesota and various other locations around the country. On the home page of the Wellstone Action website, you will find a handy interactive tool to help you decide which program is right for you. The next general training, Camp Wellstone, will take place January 14-16, 2011 in Madison, WI. Camp Wellstone has three training tracks to choose from:

  • Activist track: For people interested in citizen lobbying, issue advocacy, and community organizing, this track provides skills in how to win on issues.
  • Campaign track: This track focuses on how to be an effective staff or volunteer member of a winning progressive campaign.
  • Candidate track: This is for people who have made the decision to run for office.

The cost of Camp Wellstone is based on a sliding-scale based on ability to pay. Rates are as follows: $200, $100, or $50. This fee covers a copy of one of Wellstone Action’s books, Politics the Wellstone Way (activist track), or Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way (campaign and candidate tracks), training materials, and three meals during the weekend. If you’re interested, you can sign up on the Wellstone Action website

Additional Wellstone Action training programs are:

  • Advanced Campaign Management School. An intensive three-day training designed for those with past electoral experience who want to take their political organizing skills to the next level, and candidates who are currently running for office. The trainers teach the fundamentals of winning campaigns, building the skills of a new generation of campaign managers and developing leaders and professionals for long-term involvement in the progressive movement.
  • Campus Camp Wellstone. This program trains students nationwide and focuses on campus and community organizing and young voter engagement.
  • Voter Engagement Schools. Provides help for non-profit community-based organizations to educate, engage, and mobilize voters across the country. These national trainings are for organizations that want to connect long-term voter engagement work with the issues their constituents care about.
  • Camp Sheila Wellstone. Camp Sheila Wellstone focuses on domestic and sexual violence and provides movement leaders with strategic planning, organizing, communication, and political advocacy skills.
  • Labor Training Program. This program, customized for individual unions, helps build capacity, leadership, and infrastructure in the labor community.
  • Native American Leadership Program In partnership with tribes in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and throughout the country, this program provides leadership and civic engagement skills training, culturally-specific training curricula, highly-skilled Native American trainers, and technical support for the creation of community action plans, for Native leaders who are ready to step into key leadership positions in their communities.
  • Wellstone Organizing Fellows. This one month training program provides leadership training and support for a select group of young leaders of color in Minnesota. After the one month intensive, fellows put their new skills to work in local community-based organizations.