1. Update

The Future Needs an Advocate

(Hint: It’s you.)

By Sarah Holtsclaw, February 21, 2019


Spring Lobby Weekend (SLW) changed the course of my life. I hope you’ll give it the same chance for yours.

Mine is a long story full of magnetisms and opportunities that brought me to Quakerism and advocacy work, but it all started with SLW. You can hear more about it here.

I learned of SLW and FCNL at my first college visit as a sophomore in high school. A professor at Wilmington College told me about a four-day conference in Washington, D.C. where hundreds of young people advocated together for social justice with a Quaker lobby group.

My future needed an advocate; I decided right then that it would be me. I enrolled in Wilmington College and attended the 2015 SLW for environmental justice.

2015 SLW attendees in front of the Capitol. My alma mater is representing in blue shirts.

2015 SLW attendees in front of the Capitol. My alma mater is representing in blue shirts.

Lighting a Spark

SLW was the most empowering and inspirational experience of my college career. FCNL helped me find my confidence and voice to advocate for change. The valuable skills that I learned and practiced that weekend I continue to use today, community organizing, sharing my personal story, lobbying elected officials, and more.

Wilmington College Students

SLW 2016 was especially awesome because Wilmington College alumna Ellen Short organized it as a Young Fellow. Many of our Kappa Delta sorority sisters came to support her and unlock justice.

I should warn you, lobbying on Capitol Hill lights a spark within you never goes out. After one taste, you might find yourself traveling to Washington, D.C. a dozen times to do it again and again.

There’s something about putting on your best blazer, carrying a crisp FCNL legislative ask, and marching through the echoing marble hallways of Congress to your representative's door—knowing that hundreds of your peers are doing the same thing at that very moment—that makes you feel like you’re capable of changing the world. I loved it so much that I attended in 2016, 2017, 2018 as well.

Every spring I returned home to Ohio hungry for more opportunities to make change. SLW helped open doors for new experiences. I interned for my Representative’s in-district office; I traveled to D.C. to lobby Congress with agricultural organizations: I served in FCNL’s Advocacy Corps—organizing my community around climate change solutions; and ultimately came to work as an FCNL Young Fellow.

Every subsequent employer and mentor I encountered was impressed by the SLW skills and experience on my resume.

Wilmington College Students at SLW 2017

Every year my college hosts a dinner during SLW with local alumni. It’s a great networking opportunity for students interested working in DC. At this dinner in 2017 I shared my dream of working for FCNL one day.

The future needs an advocate: You. Let FCNL inspire and prepare you to change the world this March in Washington D.C. I guarantee you’ll walk away changed as well.

Event Spring Lobby Weekend 2020 

Saturday March 28 - Tuesday March 31 in Washington, DC

At Spring Lobby Weekend 2020, hundreds of students, recent grads, Quakers, and young adults will come to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on one critical issue—climate change.

Sarah Holtsclaw

  • Program Assistant, Quaker Outreach

Sarah Holtsclaw served as Quaker Outreach Young Fellow for 2018-2019, working alongside Quaker Field Secretary Christine Ashley, to build and deepen Quaker engagement and advocacy from a spirit-led perspective. She empowers constituents to share their stories and build relationships with their Members of Congress through faith-based lobbying.