Grand Traverse Advocate Academy

In the first two years, Norte’s Advocate Academy has graduated 24 citizens advocates and had an impact on the Grand Traverse region. First year and Second year particpants focused their passions and sought productive change. The results could be summed up best with 2018 graduate, William White’s sentiment, “Now that I know that, I am going to do something about it!”

The Pro Walk/Pro Bike Advocate Academy will be once again offered in the spring of 2020. If you’re interested, be sure to sign up to the Advocacy Newsletter for the next session’s announcement.


The Advocate Academy empowers citizens to find their voice. Gradates end the course as knowledgeable, confident, and effective leaders.

The end result is an ever-growing coalition of citizen advocates. These are people who are ready to support the building stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities.


  • Developing persuasive narrative for change
  • Connecting the dots of the impact of policy and budget decisions
  • Harnessing observation skills to document issues in a constructive way
  • Hands on training on real world concerns
  • Building a team that will go the distance
  • Develop real tools for effective communication with decision-makers, the media, and the community
  • Refining leadership and finding roles to play

Learning happens in an engaging, hands-on, classroom setting facilitated by experienced advocates. Sessions need active participation who will do their homework. Class work is a combination of project based team work, individual reading and writing, and even a quiz or two– don’t worry, no one’s keeping score!


  • 6 PM Thursday evenings (Start date TBD for 2020)
  • The Academy features six, 90-minute sessions


  • Groundwork Center
  • conference room. In the third floor of 148 E Front St. Traverse City.


Criteria to apply:

  • Commitment to attend all six 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.