Encampment for Citizenship to Hold National Reunion on May 16 in New York City

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The Encampment for Citizenship (EFC) seeks participants in all EFC events for a reunion in New York City on Saturday, May 16.

The Encampment for Citizenship (EFC) will hold a reunion for "Encampers" of all ages and all event years from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (NYSEC), 2 West 64th Street in New York City.

The EFC was founded in 1944 by NYSEC Leader Algernon Black as an innovative youth-leadership program to teach the principles and techniques of citizenship in a liberal democracy through lived experience. The program began as a summer camp that brought together young adults of various religious, racial, social and international backgrounds and became a nationwide program that conducted citizen workshops. High-school juniors and seniors spent six weeks of a summer in hands-on and academic experiences aimed at learning how to achieve social change through volunteerism and community action. The EFC educated participants about civic responsibility, participation in government, and tolerance of diversity.

"The EFC was a major character-forming experience," said Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, who attended the 1970 event in White Plains, NY. "It was an amazing opportunity to learn how to communicate and work with kids from different economic and ethnic backgrounds, and to find out how even a few young people could have an impact on the world. I made lifelong friendships at the 1970 Encampment, and the EFC inspired many of us to launch careers in public service."

Over the years, Encampments were held near New York City and in Washington, DC, and Kentucky, Montana, Colorado, Arizona and California. Eleanor Roosevelt was an early supporter of the EFC and, in its first years, routinely invited program participants to workshops at Hyde Park. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a later supporter, recruiting students and participating as a speaker. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was an Encamper.

The May 16 reunion is an opportunity for those who participated in EFC to reconnect and reminisce about this life-changing experience with others who shared it. There is no charge for the reunion but RSVPs are required. RSVP to NYSEC Leader Anne Klaeysen at aklaeysen(at)nysec.org; by phone at 212-874-5210 ext.118.

The reunion will be followed by an NYSEC Founders Day program on Sunday, May 17, featuring a platform address at 11:15 a.m. on "Long Live the Encampment for Citizenship," which will be followed by a luncheon.

For ongoing information about the 2009 EFC reunion and related events, visit the EFC Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2381986793&ref=ts).

About the New York Society tor Ethical Culture (NYSEC)
NYSEC is the cornerstone of a humanist and ethical movement that was founded in 1876 to advance social justice for all. The organization has been part of the fabric of life in New York City for more than a century, and its impact can be felt nationwide. NYSEC founded or helped establish important civil rights, social service and educational organizations, including the Legal Aid Society, NAACP, ACLU, Visiting Nurse Service, Ethical Culture Fieldston Schools, first U.S. Settlement House and Encampment for Citizenship. The Society is housed in a landmark building on Central Park West that will celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2010 and is home to hundreds of community programs a year, including panel discussions on key social issues; concerts; theatrical events; town meetings; and writing, music and art programs. NYSEC's Social Service Board runs a women's shelter onsite; operates a supervised visitation program for children and families; and sponsors workshop exhibitions for homeless artists and writers. For more information, visit http://www.nysec.org.

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Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

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