A Summer of Stories: Day 1 of Uptown Summer 2016

Freedom Square artist Isaiah Zagar with our Uptown Summer 2016 team


Today was a story of beginning. Our 2016 Uptown Summer youth employees began their summer of Environmental Stewardship and Neighborhood Storytelling with an introduction to The Sanctuary for Independent Media and a tour of Collard City Growers. In doing so, we also shared the stories of ourselves. In our introductions to each other, we started to piece together the roles we will play in the whirlwind of Uptown Summer.


Today was a story of merging. We walked through the gardens together, human creatures mingling with plants and honey bees. We began to beautify pathways through the garden, pulling out weeds and learning about what grows around us.


Today was a story of sharing. We shared our first meal as a group, realizing more fully the ways sharing food together builds community. We share our space and food with others, mingling in and out of conversations, bumping knees across long tables and scooting chairs for walkers-by.


Today was a story of learning. We learned the ways that others tell their stories, analyzing film shots and musical score choices. We learned from those that have gone before us and are left with a sense of purpose, of moving forward and of letting our own voices be heard.


Today was a story of remembering. This morning we received a surprise visit from Isaiah Zagar, the Philadelphia-based artist who created the Freedom Square mosaic in 2013 with the help of the Sanctuary and hundreds of people from the community around us.  As we shared laughter, stories, and photo opportunities, we witnessed the Sanctuary past mingling with the Sanctuary future, manifested in the our new Uptown Summer youth employees. Ours is a beginning wrapped in the care of the past 10 years of the Sanctuary and the past 6 years of Uptown Summer. We don’t know yet how this summer will unfold, but it will be one grounded in the past and shaped by the hands of those gathered in North Troy and beyond, connected by light of the Sanctuary.


Today, we begin a summer of stories.


This post was written by Sanctuary intern Jenna Kersten.