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ENVIRONMENTal Education Association of Illinois

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  • Strategic Storytelling for Social Change

Strategic Storytelling for Social Change

  • 21 Sep 2021
  • 23 Sep 2021
  • 2 sessions
  • 21 Sep 2021, 4:00 PM 6:30 PM (CDT)
  • 23 Sep 2021, 4:00 PM 6:30 PM (CDT)
  • Online

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Strategic Storytelling for Social Change

A Rethink Outside narrative workshop

Encompassing both storytelling theory and practical application, this hands-on workshop will build the capacity of environmental education practitioners to craft compelling stories using the frame of the Rethink Outside shared narrative developed in collaboration by Blue Sky Funders Forum members and partners. Participants will build, share and reflect on a story that communicates how their work contributes to healthy communities for all. Participants will work in small groups to refine their stories and the opportunity to present their final stories to the entire class.

Because our workshops are based on discovery through group interaction, we ask all participants to commit to the full workshop experience (start to finish).

Who should attend

This workshop is open to anyone in the environmental education field who would like to learn the power of storytelling for communicating with funders, partners, volunteers and other stakeholders. No prior communications or storytelling experience is required, but each student will need access to a laptop or tablet, a reliable internet connection, and curiosity about storytelling. Access to a printer in advance of the workshop is recommended but not required.


Course Content

  • Session One: Values-based storytelling and the Rethink Outside narrative. Audiences and story structure. The Hero’s Journey, part one.

  • Session Two: Ethical storytelling and stories well told.  The Hero’s Journey, part two. Sharing our stories.


Course Details

  • Two, 2.5 hour sessions of live, virtual instruction over the course of one week

  • Breakout sessions for workshopping your story with peers

  • Invitation to a course-specific listserv for sharing content, soliciting feedback and accessing lesson recordings

  • Opportunities to practice and refine your story

  • Customized workbook for crafting and using your story


Course Materials and Homework

All students will receive a course workbook and have access to online content via a class-specific email listserv. Between classes, students will be asked to complete a small amount of homework, reflecting on the classwork to build out the structure and elements of their individual stories.


Your Instructors

Susan Pierson-Brown of Seven November, Inc. is a communications strategist and advisor to philanthropists and social change organizations, helping them generate awareness and support for their ideas through persuasive communications.  Susan was the lead consultant for the Rethink Outside shared narrative development.


Stephanie Ellis-Smith is a leader with 20 years of experience in the philanthropic sector and is the founder of Phila Engaged Giving, a values-driven philanthropic advisory firm. She has held every seat at the social sector’s table: non-profit CEO, social enterprise COO, trustee, mentor, and civic activist.


Registration information

Enrollment is limited to 50 participants. Zoom Video Conferencing software will be used to facilitate the workshop. Further details will be sent to confirmed registrants. 


About Rethink Outside

Rethink Outside is a call to action for all who believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy time outdoors, because when people connect with nature we all benefit. Together, we can unify and amplify the growing movement to lift up the benefits of time spent outdoors as a basic human right. In doing so, we can reshape the prevailing public narratives around time spent in nature and engage new partners and allies. Coordinated by Blue Sky Funders Forum and informed by the voices of hundreds of stakeholders and allies, the new shared narrative leverages and shares communications research, tools, and strategies to tell a new story and engage new partners to bring the promise of healthy communities to all. Together, we aspire to create a future where everyone has positive experiences outdoors and shares the joy, health, growth, and sense of community that come with it.

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