Terry Tempest Williams, SHIFT to Reconvene Emerging Leaders

ShiftJH.org. Day 3, Saturday. CREDIT: David J Swift

Terry Tempest Williams with Emerging Leader Mabari Byrd at SHIFT in October. Williams is working with SHIFT to reconvene the Emerging Leaders at the Teton Science Schools in February.

For her sold-out presentation at this year’s SHIFT, Terry Tempest Williams invited all 34 participants of the Emerging Leaders Program (“ELP”) onto the stage to participate in her eloquent defense of our public lands. The results were, as one audience member wrote, “…unreal. One of the most impactful nights of my life. Ever.” According to another, “That was quite possibly the best speaker event I have ever attended.”

Now, Williams, the Teton Science Schools and SHIFT are working to bring the Emerging Leaders back to Jackson in February as part of an effort to develop their storytelling skills with Narrative4, a global organization that seeks to build a community of empathic global citizens who improve the world through the exchange of personal narratives.

The mid-winter gathering will also develop an organizational structure for ELP that empowers the Emerging Leaders (“ELPers”) to guide its evolution.

The Emerging Leaders Program was the stand-out component of the 2016 SHIFT Festival. The program brought men and women between the ages of 19 and 31 to the Jackson campus of the Teton Science Schools (“TSS”) for three days of preparatory work in advance of SHIFT, and then integrated them into the proceedings of the Festival in substantive and meaningful ways. Emerging Leaders (“ELPers”) represented a cross-section of America in all its diversity, which contributed to the program’s overall strength and impact.

ELP debuted to unanimous acclaim. As Daniel Lucio, the Volunteer Lead of The Sierra Club’s Our Wild America put it, “The Emerging Leaders Program is the best example of leadership development I’ve seen.”


Byrd (R) and Madeline Carey (L) at the Jackson Campus of the Teton Science Schools in October.

The Center for Jackson Hole, SHIFT’s 501c3 governing organization, retained TSS to develop the program in early winter 2016. Their programming was commended by ELPers (“THANK YOU… for creating a culture of trust and building the group to the point where so many people had the courage and support to share. Absolutely incredible and a true reflection of the deliberate and thoughtful facilitation and leadership from… the TSS staff!”). It has since become the foundation for an ongoing partnership between the two organizations, which are collaborating on a curriculum for the mid-winter gathering and developing the structure of the program for 2017.

Costs to reconvene all 34 Emerging Leaders will be ca. $1,500 per person. These costs include a TSS per-person cost of $365/student to cover the following:

  • Meals: 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Lodging: 3 nights at the Jackson Campus of Teton Science Schools
  • Programming: 2 full days and 2 half days

Other costs include transportation (flights to and from Salt Lake City and bus transportation to Jackson, $1,000) and administrative overhead ($135/student).

$10,000 of the estimated $45,000 necessary to execute the mid-winter ELP has already been raised. The Center for Jackson Hole currently seeks additional funding to facilitate this winter program. Those interested in helping to underwrite costs are asked to contact The Center’s Executive Director Christian Beckwith at cb(AT)shiftjh.org.


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