Climate Leadership Fellow Shannon Farmer reflects on her fellowship experience
When I started working as a Climate Leadership Fellow with YECA in August 2016, I didn’t realize how much I would discover about myself and all the ways I can praise God while advocating for His creation. YECA taught me that I’m a visionary and I can have a bigger impact than I realized. They taught me how to ignite change in the world and encourage others to do the same--that it’s possible to actively glorify God by caring for the environment.
I have gained confidence through the support of my fellow Climate Leadership Fellows and the Steering Committee, who are always giving me encouragement and ideas. I’ve stood by my brothers and sisters in Christ, advocating to help care for our neighbors near and far. I have stood in solidarity with Standing Rock, and stood in silent prayer for our nation at Hofstra. I have been shocked and saddened by some of the events that have happened this year, as well as ecstatic and delighted at others. I am thankful to have been able to come together with YECA to actively and prayerfully act on climate.
To the Steering Committee, I appreciate all of you believing, supporting, and encouraging me this past year. There were honestly a lot of doubts in the beginning (and throughout). You’ve come to me with open arms, taking on my fears, my doubts, and frustrations. You’ve always been honest and kept the conversation authentic, with love and respect. You always had wisdom and experience to help me plan, organize, and energize my events to the best of my ability. I appreciate how you all constantly strive to be better and support us as effectively as possible; you take our constructive comments and actively use them in your planning to try to tailor the program best to our needs. You don’t shy from the big or hard questions, you welcome them and answer them to the best of your ability, ensuring that we understand every aspect of whatever lies in front of us. You have been awesome, active role models in Christ-like climate activism.
To my Fellows, you all have been a wonderful encouragement to me. Many of the times where I doubted myself or doubted my ability to do much good, you were quick to encourage and support me. I can’t express how much it has meant to me to have a group of God-loving folks who care deeply for creation and work through the ups and downs of climate action to be on my team this year. Each of you have always come with creative ideas and constructive comments to constantly help me find a better angle, a better approach, or a more creative outcome. You’ve been there to offer light-hearted jokes and prayers for my school, myself, and my family. I enjoyed our time together, whether it was the bi-weekly video calls or that lovely training time in Michigan hanging out on the beach, by the bonfire, biking to Au Sable, or going on a huge shopping spree. The late night talks, the social media shares, the victories and the losses--I cherish all of them and hope to keep speaking with you all after this fellowship, either as prayer partners or just to check up and see what you’re doing after college.
Through this program, I have gained not only confidence in myself but also encouragement that the good work of the Lord is not done. As long as He has set organizations like YECA in place to be the hands, feet, and heart of God to shine light on our neighbors in creation, there is still hope. I now have knowledge and experience under my belt about how to be an effective activist, and if I had to do this year over again, I would always choose to be a YECA Climate Leadership Fellow.
YECA is currently accepting applications for our 2017-18 Fellows cohort. Deadline for applications is March 24.