Season’s greetings, friends!
As 2014 comes to a close and summer is at its farthest away, we are reflecting back and are so proud of YEA Campers for all they have accomplished this year.
From launching anti-bullying initiatives at school to attending their first protest, starting a school club to having the courage to speak up for a cause they believe in, our campers are doing amazing things. We are honored that so many of them credit YEA Camp with helping them to become more effective activists – or to even getting involved at all for a cause they care about.
To measure the impact of YEA Camp, we ask campers to tell us about activism they have done that — according to them — would not have happened if not for YEA Camp. We asked them to complete the phrase, If Not for YEA Camp… and what they had to say is amazing!
“If not for YEA Camp I wouldn’t have been able to write or speak as persuasively as I did to authority. YEA Camp also taught me how to start a functional school club. If not for YEA Camp I would have given up the first time someone said ‘no’ to my activism plan.” -Sage, 13 from California
“If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t have focused on my issue at all probably. Before YEA Camp I had really lost my passion for my IOI [issue of importance] and was distracted with so many other things. After YEA Camp, I found my love and passion again. I have also gotten back in the habit of not putting up with hate or discrimination from my peers.” -Katlyn, 17, from Oregon
“If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to commit to so many different projects and be such a leader! and I wouldn’t have been as organized with it all.”
-Shelby, 17 from Los Angeles, who was a camper 2 years ago and a Counselor in Training this year. Here she is leading our workshop on school clubs.
“If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with an idea to bring more attention to bullying in my school and actually succeed…. I honestly wouldn’t have done any of these things without YEA Camp.” [See future post about YEA Camp Hero Joyce and this previous post to learn more about the extensive amount of inspiring activism Joyce has done since camp!]
-Joyce, 14, from New Jersey
“YEA Camp has officially changed my activism life and my social life. I have more confidence, I am way more outgoing, and it has given me a better/different view on the well being of other people in society and on my issue of importance(animal cruelty).” -Tanner, 12, from California
“Before I came to camp I was not that into changing the world. I really wanted to, but everyone pushed me down or shunned me. And that made me very self-conscious. When I heard about this camp though, it was like a little light popped up in my head. And then when I came to camp, I met so many people some who had done all these huge amazing things and others who were just so loving and supportive of me and so passionate about their cause and wanting to heal the world of all of its issues. No one has ever been there for me like the people at YEA Camp have. Before camp I’d never danced before, I’d never really wanted to hug, I never wanted to do anything in front of anyone. But at camp I knew I could be myself, and people would be kind and be my friend anyway. Now whenever some critical person comes up to me and criticizes me for being a vegan and wearing fake fur, or doing activist work, I always have a smart thing to say back. And I’m not afraid anymore.” -Alanna, 12, from Massachusetts
We are crying! This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many stories like these!
We’ll stop here, but to highlight more of these inspiring young activists in depth, and as part of our year-end fundraising campaign, we are thrilled to bring you 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes!
Over the next 12 days, instead of golden rings and a partridge in a pear tree, you will meet 12 campers who are taking action to make a difference and how — according to them — YEA Camp helped them do it. Scroll down to see a new inspiring story each weekday.
In recognizing the impact of YEA Camp, we hope you will be inspired to contribute towards sustaining our program. If you’re not sure, here are our Top 3 Reasons to donate to YEA Camp now:
- You get big, world-changing bang for your buck. Most of our campers are at a place in their lives where, without training and encouragement, they simply won’t pursue an activist path. Our society just gives people too many reasons not to. But after YEA Camp, so many of our campers do amazing things – from getting recycling bins at their school to raising funds for an important cause to speaking up when hearing racist or homophobic comments – things they tell us they wouldn’t have done if not for YEA Camp. And they do this for years to come. How much is that worth?
- You are contributing to the expansion of a sorely needed, truly innovative program. We are facing a world
dealing withmostly ignoring climate change, poverty, racism, cruelty to animals, gun violence, and so many other critical issues, yet schools do hardly anything to train youth in how to address these issues. And most public schools certainly don’t actively build youth self-esteem or create a supportive community to encourage them to speak up for what’s important to them. It’s not surprising we have such apathetic adults. We need programs like YEA Camp to expand and be available to millions of students in schools across the country.
- Anyone who wants to make a difference deserves the resources to become an effective activist. It is extremely important to us that our program is diverse and that the skills, training, and confidence building that YEA Camp offers is available to any progressive, passionate teen who wants to attend. In fact, those without the financial means to pay the tuition might benefit the most from the program. YEA Camp has never turned a camper away for lack of funds, and that is only possible thanks to the scholarship funds that we raise from supporters like you.
You can make a tax-deductible donation to support YEA Camp here.
Please enjoy 12 Days of Camp Heroes. Scroll down to see each one. We hope you are as inspired by our campers’ stories as we are!
If you are a YEA Camper who wants to share your story, please reach out to us at info @ yeacamp .org! And if you are inspired to join us this summer, we are offering a year-end early bird discount until January 1! Find out more or register at YEACamp.org.
Thank you so much for your support in 2014! Happy holidays from YEA Camp! May every day feel like summer!