About RootsCamp

Since 2006, when they began as an initiative of the New Organizing Institute, RootsCamps have created a unique space and opportunity for the progressive community to come together, employing a simple and participatory “unconference” model that allows organizers to meet and debrief in a way that promotes shared learning and engagement.

RootsCamp is an incubator for best practices, fresh ideas, lively discussion and, most importantly, action-driven learning among diverse groups of passionate progressive activists.

Share innovations, failures, old wisdom and new discoveries.

RootsCamps are fundamentally grassroots: meant to bring together citizen activists, grassroots community organizers, campaign staff, issue advocates, new media techies, etc., to share perspectives and insights about the work they have done.

RootsCamps are participant driven, using an "open space" format that is borne from the desire for activists, organizers, leaders and politicians to share and learn in a productive, fast-paced, and open environment.

The model is simple: we create the space and opportunity, and everyone comes together to shape and lead the conversation.

RootsCamp fosters an active participants.  The content of discussions and workshops is created and organized by participants and coordinated by facilitators.  Everyone is expected to play an active role in sessions.  This allows creative open exchanges that are geared toward action.

This open format never fails to yield an astounding exchange of information, spin-off projects, and cross-pollination among unexpected collaborators.

Rather than traditional panels or powerpoints, participants set the agenda and have real live conversations about valuable organizing lessons taken from the field, both online and offline.

Organizers not only share and take away lessons to apply to their own work; they establish lasting new partnerships with organizers from all over the state.

RootsCamp is an intense event, with discussions, demos, and constant interaction from participants.

RootsCamp provides an opportunity to strategize and build organization and sustainability in Massachusetts’ progressive movement.  (A struggle, as everyone involved in the election this year knows.)

Discuss the successes and challenges facing progressive organizers. Help us to bring together diverse voices and perspectives from across the state and create a powerful, inclusive, and productive event.  Join us, and help drive the progressive movement forward.

(Also check out How Sessions Work.)


What is a RootsCamp debrief?

A retreat in your city, where you set the agenda. A fast-paced and fun unconference (like BarCamp), RootsCamp has one rule: No tourists. Come prepared to give a demo, lead a session, or help with one.

Today, innovations in organizing, tech, and media happen at all levels of a campaign. It just doesn’t make sense to have a post-election debrief without inviting the precinct captain, the local blogger, the guerilla ad maker, and the community leader as well as field organizers, communications directors, and state party leaders.

Why have local debriefs?

Because so many people at all levels are discovering amazing innovations in organizing, using technology to make a difference, adapting to new media habits — or just getting really good at stuff every campaign knows it needs to do well (but does poorly). Sure, “high-level” debriefs take place in Washington, DC. But who’s invited? NOT the precinct captain, the blogger, the guerilla ad maker, or even the head of the state party or local org who doing great things in a bold new way.

How does it work?

RootsCamps are participant driven, using the “unconference” or “open space” format that is born from the desire to share and learn in a productive, fast-paced, open environment. Based on the phenomenally successful BarCamp model, RootsCamps are self-organized. This open format never fails to yield an astounding exchange of information, spin-off projects, and cross-pollination among unexpected partners.

One of many reflections on what RootsCamp is about:

Color of Change