Pro Walk/Pro Bike Advocate Academy Now Open To All Grand Traverse Residents

After a successful first year, we’re excited to expand the Advocate Academy county-wide in 2019.

The Grand Traverse Advocate Academy is a community-driven program that empowers ordinary people to be effective leaders for policies and infrastructure that encourage walking, biking, transit use, and other forms active transportation.

The end result is an ever-growing coalition of citizen advocates engaged in community decisions in support of building stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities by empowering the young and young at heart.

Highlights of the five-week curriculum include:

  • Developing and telling your own story
  • Understanding how policy, budgets, and planning impact community
  • Honing observation skills to identify and document how spaces are used and opportunities for change
  • Choosing an issue and setting obtainable goals
  • Learning the ins-and-outs of effective communication with decision-makers, the media, and the community
  • Refining leadership skills and working as a team

The Grand Traverse Advocate Academy is an engaging, hands-on, classroom setting facilitated by experienced advocates. Sessions require active participation by participants as we explore the topics of effective community advocacy. A combination of reading, individual and team projects as well as guest speakers to connect “classroom” learning to real, current efforts occurring throughout our community.

The Grand Traverse Advocate Academy curriculum is designed to help develop both hard and soft advocate skills:

Hard skills include:
  • The science behind the public benefits of walking, biking, transit, and other public transportation
  • Ability to evaluate the built environment and current conditions related to public policy
  • Knowledge in specific policies and campaign areas, such as Complete Streets, access to transit and “Vision Zero”

Soft skills include:

  • Communications, relationships, and building trust
  • Fostering a local advocacy movement with diverse stakeholders
  • Engaging effectively with decision-makers


  • 6pm Thursday evenings
  • The Academy features five, 90-minute, mostly weekly sessions, starting February 21. 



  • You bet. Thank you, League of Michigan Bicyclists and Groundwork Center.

2019 Advocate Academy Timeline:

  • Application process opens: January 14th. Closes February 1st
  • Notification of acceptance: February 8th
  • Five sessions: late February – April

Criteria to apply:

  • Must be a Grand Traverse County resident
  • Commitment to attend all five sessions is recommended (We need your input!)
  • By the end of the academy, be prepared to help lead an effort for positive change in your neighborhood or community