This month, the two volunteers we’re highlighting are Ann Hesse and Stayce Camparo, both of whom volunteer with the Global Women’s Caucus - Ann as the Chair, and Stayce as the Communications Co-Chair. Both women moved abroad to Germany in order to pursue a career in the arts - Stayce as a professional ballet dancer, Ann as an opera singer - and ended up settling down in the country and becoming involved with Democrats Abroad.
For Stayce, the decision to volunteer came about during the lead up to the 2020 election. “I wanted to do something to help Democrats in the 2020 election, but felt really stymied with the pandemic and my work schedule. When I saw that they were looking for volunteers to write and help out with social media, I thought that that would be something I could really do. It allowed me to use my expertise as a writer while also fitting my schedule as a working mother.”
Ann’s journey towards volunteering with Democrats Abroad started after her daughters went off to college. “As soon as my daughters got out of the house, I thought, ‘oh my god, I can do some other things too!’ The first part of my life I spent all on me - my education, my career. The second part of my life was about my family and my daughters. And now, this is the third part and I feel like, I can give back to the community!”
While her daughters were still at home, Ann had a difficult time attending her local DA meetings, as they were on Friday nights - however, she started attending meetings as soon as she could, which very quickly led to her starting a women’s caucus in Stuttgart. “I noticed there were women there, but they always seemed to be listening to the men, so I just invited all the women over to my house!” Through this local chapter she was connected to the Global Women’s Caucus, and ended up volunteering for a Co-Chair position quite early on.
The work Ann and Stayce do with Democrats Abroad is wide and varied. Ann, who is the current Chair of the Global Women’s Caucus, drew on her opera background to describe her role, saying “I think of myself as conductor of an opera. The conductor doesn’t know how to play the violin very well, the conductor can’t play the trumpet, but without the conductor, it all falls apart. I see my role as gathering up people who are good at what they do - they’re the woodwinds, the horns, the string instruments - and those are my teams, and my job is to provide my teams with what they need.”
“The GWC in general has 2 alternating goals. During election years, we’re all about our women candidates and getting our people out to vote. The off years are about tending to ourselves and expanding our team, and focusing on issues like women in climate, reproductive justice, violence against women, and so on.” Understandably, the GWC hasn’t been able to focus on those other topics much during the ‘off years’ since the 2016 election, and Ann is “really looking forward to being able to focus on our women, and expanding our membership.”
Stayce started out at Democrats Abroad over the past summer, writing articles for the newsletter and posting on the Global Women’s Caucus Facebook page. One article that she’s particularly proud of is an article that she wrote on misinformation, as she knows that “women, especially women of color, were specifically targeted with misinformation campaigns in the 2016 and 2020 elections.” That role very quickly expanded, and not very long after she started volunteering, she ended up landing a role as the Communications Co-Chair, where she is “more involved in the creative process of content development for these platforms.”
But, with hundreds of volunteer opportunities out there, why choose to volunteer with Democrats Abroad specifically? Stayce, as a more recent volunteer, was motivated by the current political climate and the impacts of the Trump administration on both the present, and the future of the world.
“Volunteering with Democrats Abroad made me feel like I could do something for my children's future. . .I wanted to have an answer for my children if they ever asked me what I did during this time. I want my children to know that I volunteered to try and change the things I have not liked the last four years in the hopes that they will have a better future.”
Now that the 2020 election is behind us, some may feel as if they can return to the sidelines, content that the fight has been won. However, the volunteers at Democrats Abroad won’t be slowing down - in fact, Ann expects that the need for volunteers may become even greater.
“We thrive on volunteers. I know from experience that after a big exciting election there’s a huge drop off in volunteers, everybody wants to get back to their normal life, but I’m expecting that we’re going to need some more people stepping up,” she said. “And you don’t have to have a PhD in political science to be a useful member of this group! You just have to be somebody with interest and a little bit of time.”
Stayce shared a similar sentiment about the ongoing need for volunteers at Democrats Abroad. “I believe that we are at a place where we've seen what it's like to sit on the sidelines and let things happen. We have learned a really important lesson from the last four years, and one of those lessons is that we must all be activists in some way, shape, or form,” she said. “While many may feel like things are over now that Biden and Harris are our President and VP elect, I feel like the important work is just getting started. Now more than ever volunteers are needed to keep the momentum going and make sure that a Trump never happens again.”
We’d like to thank Ann and Stayce for all of the amazing work that they do! If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Democrats Abroad, join our January 23rd event, or visit our website.