Whoop! The 2020 Advocate Academy Graduates


The academy is an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of how decisions shaping your community happen and how best to impact them positively. At the end of the program, graduates are ready to tackle that needed sidewalk extension, safer crosswalk, protected bike lane, or neighborhood park in need of some love. Graduates also build lasting connections to other citizen advocates – natural allies for future campaigns.

Norte started the Advocate Academy in 2018 and has seen 39 participants in three springtime sessions. The curriculum empowers participants to find and apply their voice. Graduates end the program as knowledgeable, confident, and capable leaders. These are the leaders building stronger, better connected, and enjoyable neighborhoods and communities in the Grand Traverse region.


  • Problem Identification – Harnessing observation skills to identify and document issues constructively.
  • Connecting Decisions – Connecting the impact of policy, budgets, and planning on our communities are shaped.
  • Compelling Narratives – Honing one’s own story and the story of a group for persuasive messaging.
  • Real-World Application – Participants choose an opportunity in the community, form a project team, then develop a plan for positive change. 

Classwork is a combination of project-based teamwork, individual reading, and writing. We might even have a quiz or two – but don’t worry, no one’s keeping score!


The annual Advocate Academy begins in February and meets weekly for six 90-minute sessions. Check back at the end of the year for updates on registration for 2021. You can also sign up for Norte’s Advocacy’s Monthly newsletter for up to date announcements.  

Advocacy Bootcamp – We can bring the Advocate Academy to your community as a Norte Advocacy Bootcamp These training sessions are customized for an organization or community. If interested in hosting an Advocacy Bootcamp, please email gary@elgrupnorte.org

The 2020 Advocate Academy was offered in partnership with Groundwork Center’s Mobility Lab. Norte’s Advocacy Director, Gary Howe, teamed up with Groundwork Center’s Deputy Director, James Bruckbauer, as facilitators. 

The 2020 Advocate Academy was made possible through the generous financial support by the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.