The weather is getting warmer and the school year is winding down. Time for summer camp!
There are summer camps for children who enjoy skateboarding or drama. There are camps for kids who want to lose weight. But what about a camp that equips kids with the tools they need to make a difference in their community?
Enter Youth Empowered Action Camp or YEA Camp for short. YEA Camp offers an innovative and unique summer camp for socially aware kids aged between 12 and 17. Whether a child is a vigilant recycler, a passionate vegetarian, or a young anti-racist, YEA helps kids get inspired and take action on the social issues that are most important to them.
The talented YEA staff are experienced change-makers who have helped pass laws, organized large nonprofit events, or used art to raise awareness about important issues, and YEA’s curriculum trains campers to develop skills, knowledge, and self-confidence in young people, so that they learn how to take action effectively and make a difference to the issues that matter to them the most. During the year, campers continue to get support through reunions, conference calls, and mentorship from staff.
“YEA Camp challenges the pressure some may feel toward apathy or hopelessness and seeks to make it ‘cool to care’ in encouraging campers to stand up for and speak out about what they believe in,” says camp director and founder Nora Kramer.
YEA Camp has three week-long sessions in 2011. The first two are held in Ben Lomond (just outside Santa Cruz), California:
- July 23 to 29, 2011
- July 30 to August 5, 2011
In Corbett (near Portland), Oregon, one session is held:
- August 7 to 14, 2011
Each session costs $925. Sliding scale scholarships may be available for some campers.
Now in its third year, the YEA team is proud of what many of their young alumni go on to achieve. Having
experienced a supportive community of peers and staff mentors, and leaving with a new sense of confidence and purpose, many campers have started school clubs, organized fundraisers for local non-profits or to pay next year’s camp tuition, done beach clean-ups, spoken at community hearings, and even introduced vegetarian food options into school cafeterias.
But the overwhelming message from campers is their recognition that they can really have an impact. “This camp has truly changed my life,” said Bianca Verlangieri, a 15 year old from San Bernardino County, California. “You have inspired me to believe in myself and to not just say ‘I’m just a kid, what can I do?’ Because of you, I have been able to actually make a difference.”
The positive feedback from parents shows the impact a week at YEA camp can have. “I want you to know how vital YEA Camp was for our daughter. She came back with a sense that she can make a difference in the world. I amconfident that she will be able to draw from this experience for years to come,” said Mike Boss, parent of 13-year-old Jesse.
YEA campers are the future heads of their high school or college environmental club; community and civic leaders; and social entrepreneurs. YEA offers young people a launching pad for a future of being informed and feeling free to speak out. Not a bad way to spend a summer vacation.