Last weekend, 35 of our top supporters from across the nation pack their bags and hop a plane, train, bus, or car and meet us in San Diego for our Fourth Estate Retreat. Collectively, these supporters raised over $300,000 during the #zeroLRA campaign. Impressive? We think so too.

This event was not only an opportunity for our #zeroLRA superstars to learn from us but for us to learn from them. These are amazing, impressive guys and gals from all walks of life; their ages spanned from 15 to 32, and they came from Canada, New York, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between.

We were so impressed by their wisdom, commitment, and insights that we had to share with the world. Here are the top 5 lessons we learned at our #FourthEstateRetreat.


1. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

These 35 participants know what it means to stand up for what they believe, even in the face of overwhelming criticism. We often say that #zeroLRA was one of the hardest campaigns we’ve run. But these supporters faced the challenges and succeeded; they are a model of perseverance and what a person can do when fully committed to justice.

2. The Fourth Estate is a community.

We are a group of people who believe that all people have inherent value and that where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live. This idea binds us to each other; it causes us to care not only about others an ocean away, but also about the person sitting next to us in class. The Fourth Estate is a mindset, a sense of belonging, and a community of people willing to rely on one another for support.

3. We are all Roadies at heart.

You do not need to be hired by Invisible Children to share your story and your passion for ending LRA atrocities. People will listen to you — people want to listen. And we are right here behind you, to support you, to motivate you, and to help you when you need it most. You are the Fourth Estate, you are a Roadie.

4. Great things start in a garage.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon. These are just a few of the corporations and organizations that began in a garage — similar to our Fourth Estate Retreat (s/o to Carl Stevens).  We spent the last day of the retreat piled in the garage of the Roadie house, sharing our experience and final thoughts on the weekend. While we may have ended our session in a garage, we believe this is the start of something big. We are the youth that will change the world — in our communities and abroad.

5. Our generation is the one to beat.

We are so powerful. At 15, 16, and 17 years old, our supporters (read: you) are already making a difference in our world and taking a stand for international justice. We often say we have the best supporters, and we mean it (and ok, we may be a little biased). But our stories don’t lie: Danielle, a 16-year-old from Canada raised over $12,000 last year. Ellen, a 20-year-old from Texas raised $24,000 last fall. Their fundraising allowed us to continue our programs in northern Uganda and central Africa. And just like you, they are making a difference for the thousands of people still affected by LRA violence.


Photo credit: Amy Van Drunen