When Earl Pike of the
Cleveland Leadership Center
helped design the new Civic Engagement Boot Camp, he tapped the popular national trend of half marathon benefits as a wellspring of inspiration.
"People want to be challenged," he says. "We didn't want to do the typical thing of getting a bunch of young people in a room to listen to an old person pontificate. We wanted to ask people to do something really hard and put their hearts and souls into it."
The result? A one-day civic engagement half marathon, if you will. The Boot Camp starts at 6:30 a.m. and runs until 9 p.m.
"At the end, you'll be exhausted and probably smell bad and be a little frayed," says Pike. "But you'll see every major sector of Cleveland and you'll be engaged in a way that changes you, challenges you."
In June, participants held a behind-the-scenes meeting with the editorial board of the Plain Dealer
, worked out with an 82-year-old woman, dug in the dirt at Ohio City Farm, went on a bike tour of Cleveland, and honed their improv skills at Cleveland Public Theatre. And that was just part of the day. It concluded with a meeting of area foundation leaders at the Terminal Tower Observation Deck.
The next installment of Boot Camp, titled "Cleveland from dawn to dusk -- like you've never seen it before," will take place Thursday, October 4th. The cost is $500.
"It doesn't really matter what people do: We love seeing people inspired and getting active in whatever domain they choose," says Pike, who says the long-term goal is combining civic engagement with personal growth. "Now we're beginning to look at the coaching that might come after the experience."
Source: Earl Pike
Writer: Lee Chilcote