Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

Telling Your Story: The Impact of Militarism

Workshop Number: 
Peter Lems, Molly McQueen
Who may register?: 
High School and AYF Only
Experiential Activities: 
full-time attenders only

The amount of money our government invests each year on the military is staggering. The impact is part of the air we breathe and the lives we lead; often unnoticed. Interactive activities, discussion and video will help participants tell their own story about the impact of militarism and what the alternatives are.

Workshop Description

This workshop provides an opportunity for Quaker youth to develop skills to better advocate about the effect of war and militarism on our economy and in our communities. With daily worship sharing, skills training, discussion and experiential activities, participants will explore the political, social and spiritual aspects of the economic cost of war and will gain new confidence in their abilities to use art as an activist practice.

Outline of the week’s activities.

Each day will begin with silent worship and reflection on the day’s query. Workshop sessions will be predominantly focused on activities to promote community in the group and discussion to encourage deep sharing. Some skills training will rely heavily on lecture, but with involvement from the group to help process what we are learning.

Day One – What motivates my activism? Where do I fit into the narrative of nonviolent movements? Through group activities and discussion on the principles of nonviolence, and an interactive historical timeline of art and activism participants will reflect upon their place in the history of social movements.

Day Two – What are needs that I see in my community? Participants will take part in a series of activities to build an understanding of the economic cost of war in communities across the country and the way our federal budget priorities do or don’t reflect our values.

Day Three – What are the ways I can be a voice for my community? What tools do I have to “Speak truth to power? On this day we will focus on creative actions for public exchange of ideas about the economic cost of war.

Day Four – How can I tell a compelling story about the cost of war? This day will focus on how to craft a narrative about the needs of our communities through video. Participants will learn the basics of video making from storyboarding, setting up shoots, conducting interviews and basic editing.

Day Five – What would I do with a trillion dollars? What are my values? How do my values match up against the spending and revenue priorities of the federal government? This day will be used for overall evaluation of what we’ve explored through our activities and discussion. We will discuss how to submit a video for the “If I had a Trillion Dollars” Youth Film Festival.

Participants may prepare for the workshop by viewing previous video submission at

INTD is the annual If I Had a Trillion Dollar national youth film festival, sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project. We ask youth ages 10 – 23, “If YOU had the power to choose, how would you spend 1 Trillion dollars? What could that money do for your family, for your community, for your nation, or for the world?” Videos are selected by a committee as ‘Official Selections’ of the Film Festival and the filmmakers are invited to participate in a leadership training, lobby day and the world premiere of the festival in Washington DC on Tax Day. For more information, visit

Leader Experience

The team leading this workshop are experienced workshop leaders and staff at the American Friends Service Committee. They have extensive experience working with youth, particularly in the context of the “If I Had a Trillion Dollars’ Youth Video Festival and the arts to support advocacy.