by Craig Juntunen
Despite the fact that I made the rookie mistake of scheduling the screening in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, we still had a wonderful turnout to share in the STUCK experience. The surprisingly strong turnout demonstrates that the movement is gaining traction and momentum.
One of our guest riders, Ross Merrin, shared a great quote with me the other night: “If the people will lead, the leaders will follow.” Which, in this case is precisely what has to happen to disrupt the status quo and start looking for a better way for children living outside of parental care to join a family.
For all that have been part of this journey, the consensus is, this is working and real movement is being create. When I originally came up with the idea of tying the distribution of STUCK to an old-fashioned barnstorming tour to form a grass roots movement, most thought I was crazy. I heard countless reasons why this tour would never work. While conservative thinking tried to influence us to follow a more traditional approach to distribute the film, the tour gave us a chance to make the greatest impact in the shortest period of time for the children we are advocating for.
The reason the tour is working and the movement is growing is the energy and support of the volunteers in each city. Today the STUCK tour has over 535 dedicated individuals who have raised their hand with a can-do attitude to create very meaningful experiences in each of the communities we are visiting.
Last night was a wonderful example of a great outcome produced by a dedicated team of people on the ground. Typically, the volunteers show up for a gathering on the bus around 5 pm so I can say ” thank you” and give them an insider’s view of the tour. After our conversation, which is always fun, the team then goes to work to set up the venue with our road manager, Samar. I always make sure the team is in the theater before we start the film. After the screening and the Q&A, the team jumps in as a turnkey retail outlet to sell STUCK merchandise and make sure the conversation stays alive as we all spend more time getting acquainted after the Q&A. These informal after-parties are the highlight for me as it offer an opportunity to meet many wonderful and interesting people.
The volunteer team is growing, which is great news because the volunteers have proven to be the secret sauce of the tour. In recognition of the importance of these teams we have dedicated a full-time employee to coordinate and support the efforts of the critical members of the STUCK team. If you are interested in joining our team, please complete the volunteer application here.
It is real simple: it comes down to people. Social movements have life cycles. They are created and they either succeed or fail. Historically they have been the force that has made the world a better place.
And as we head out of the Bay Area and all that it has meant for this tour, the truth of “If the people will lead, the leaders will follow” will be the guiding light to Sacramento.