YEA Camp Shuts Down As It Decides That Nobody Really Makes a Difference Anyway

10421153_10153066909384698_2203082768185614677_n (1)Sad news to report today.

Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp, a summer camp for social change that has spent the past 6 years training young people to change the world, has decided to shut down.

This afternoon, April 1, 2015, YEA Camp held press conferences to packed audiences in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Austin, Omaha, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to announce that it has determined that one person cannot make a difference, and therefore YEA Camp is pointless.

The civil rights leader Martin Luther KI“We thought about it long and hard,” said YEA Camp founder and director Nora Kramer, “and I’m sorry to say that we came to the conclusion that one person really can’t make a difference. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Gandhi, Julia Butterfly Hill​, Van Jones, Elizabeth Warren, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Angelina Jolie, and all those celebrity do-gooders, the staff members and volunteers and donors of all of your favorite nonprofits, every student in an environmental, anti-bullying, or animal rights club, all of our campers and staff, the abolitionists, the suffragettes, civil rights activists, … and on and on. They are all just one person and therefore don’t make a difference.”

10978638_10153120313473281_623593587415824886_n“And nothing ever really changes,” the director of YEA Camp continued. “Like what advances have we really seen in social justice or civil rights since the founding of our country? None. Therefore, YEA Camp’s goal of training teenagers to make a bigger difference on a cause they care about is a complete waste of time. We should all just give up and accept everything that is happening in our world that is unjust, unsustainable, or that we otherwise would like to see changed if only that were possible. It’s just too bad that nothing ever changes.”

Maddie (Colorado)

It has truly been a joy to be at YEA Camp these past 6 years, to meet so many passionate young people who care about helping to address the environment, animals, bullying, gay rights, poverty, racism, and other important issues.

It has been incredibly inspiring to see so many of our campers start school clubs, launch anti-bullying initiatives, improve the recycling at their school, create fundraisers, testify at public hearings, and so much more.

Joyce (New Jersey)3-updatedIt is amazing that so many of  our campers have educated their school through powerful articles for their school newspaper, school projects or papers on important topics, and getting amazing guest speakers to present about critical social justice issues.

It is heartbreaking to come to the conclusion that nobody can really make a difference, especially because we have so much fun at YEA Camp and everyone has made so many wonderful friends! But now, what’s the point?

Unfortunately, the determination that nobody can make a difference is coming at an awkward time of year. YEA Camp has dozens of teenagers around the country who are already registered and made their plans to attend this summer. Sadly, it will just be too complicated to reimburse all of these people.

As a result, YEA Camp has decided to move forward with its already scheduled camps in California, Oregon, and New York this summer. Space is still available at each session. Any teenagers, parents, or potential staff members still under the impression that anyone can really make a difference are encouraged to visit www.YEACamp.org to get involved with this last-ditch effort to change the world. ;)

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World-Changing Summer Camp Hiring Superstar Vegan Chefs

10347564_10153055801904698_2752613112238248969_nAre you a talented vegan chef who wouldn’t mind spending some time this summer having one of the most inspiring experiences of your life with some of the best people on the planet? Then this post is for you.

Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp is an incredible week-long overnight social justice summer camp for 12-17 year-olds who want to change the world, and we attract some of the most awesome teenagers and staff members you will ever have the pleasure of feeding.

10410318_10153070147004698_3856087990154444294_n (1)We feel it would be hypocritical to spend our week working for a more peaceful and sustainable world and then feast on a standard American diet (SAD!), so we serve food that is vegan, fair-trade, mostly organic and local when possible, and 100% delicious. We gotta keep our kids (many of whom are not veg) full and happy!

1039595_10152095034194698_327784679_o (1)

Our camps are held in beautiful locations in northern California, Oregon, and New York, though we attract campers and staff from all over the country to attend our unique camps. Check out our dates for each location here — and note that we have a 4-day staff training you’d need to attend immediately before each session.

Our food is kid-friendly vegan versions of camp food — tacos, sloppy Joe’s, veggie burgers, pizza, and of course yummy desserts. Find out more about our food here. We’ve got past menus and recipes you can follow or you can incorporate your own favorites.

558188_10151287769019698_1016844318_n (1)For each of our sessions, we are hiring a head chef who must have experience cooking for groups of 50 or more, and assistant chefs who enjoy cooking but don’t have that level of experience.

Must also have:

  • positive friendly attitude
  • good communication skills
  • desire to support young advocates
  • commitment to social change

To apply, please send your resume, cover letter, and 2 references to info@yeacamp.org. To learn more about YEA Camp, visit www.yeacamp.org.

Hope to see you, work with you, and eat your amazing creations this summer!

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TAKE OUR QUIZ: Should You Work at Our Life-Changing Social Justice Camp for Teens Who Want to Change the World?

1557406_10152624735564698_107012194_o-300x199YEA CAMP IS HIRING FOR THE SUMMER!

Take our quiz to see if you should apply to work at our summer camp for social change!

1. Want to work with the best teenagers in the world and have a super inspiring experience with amazing staff in a beautiful location this summer?

2. Are you a dedicated progressive activist working in positive, thoughtful, strategic ways to make our world a better place? Do you have experience in lots of different types of activism and are you supportive of a variety of progressive issues, including animal rights, climate change, anti-racism, women’s rights/pro-choice, and gay rights?

3. Do you love working with teenagers and want to mentor and support young people who want to make a big difference in the world?

4. Are you willing to be silly enough to lead goofy name games, play “Big Booty,” and get down at the dance party, and are you also open-hearted enough to really share yourself in our community in a way that makes it safe for campers to be themselves and feel accepted?

5. Are you comfortable as a teacher, facilitator, or public speaker to be in front of the room, direct a group of people in a loud enough voice, and lead activities in an engaging way?

6. Are you self aware, having overcome challenges and done work on yourself, and  willing to go out of your comfort zone to be a role model for campers to overcome their own obstacles and move beyond their fears?

7. Do you have great judgment to ensure safety such that parents would be thrilled to have you look after their kids?

8. Are you a good communicator, don’t create or encourage drama, and committed to being a team player – even if someone else is stressed or not behaving exactly as you’d like – to help ensure a great experience for the group?

9. Does eating kid-friendly mostly organic, vegan meals prepared with love by amazing chefs (which we are now hiring for! Maybe this is you?!) sound delicious to you? (Gluten- and allergy-free, etc., available as needed.)

10. Are you available this summer to work at one or more of our 8 day camps, as well as attend a 4-day staff training immediately before, in California, Oregon, or New York on these dates?

IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY HIRED! COME WORK AT YEA CAMP IMMEDIATELY!

Er, actually, we got ahead of ourselves. We mean you should apply right away to work at YEA Camp this summer! :)

We are hiring counselors, chefs, and a health supervisor for each of our sessions. We are also looking for a photographer and videographer for one session.

Take a look at our detailed job descriptions here.

Just some of our amazing returning staff!

For more information about our program, visit www.yeacamp.org.

To apply, submit resume, references, and cover letter explaining your interest in working for YEA Camp, and which session(s) you’re interested in working at to info@yeacamp.org.

And please also spread the word to others who might be a great fit, or to potential campers aged 12-17.

Thanks so much for your interest in YEA Camp! We hope to hear from you soon!

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What Difference Does YEA Camp Make? Take a Look!

When we asked our campers what difference YEA Camp made for them, we got so many amazing, inspiring answers! We turned some of them into blog posts for our 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes campaign, and we made some visuals to tell the story quickly. Take a look! We hope you’re as inspired as we are – and if you are, please send the 12-17 year-old change-makers in your life to YEACamp.org to get signed up for the summer!

Maddie (Colorado) Joyce (New Jersey)3-updated Shelby(no-guitar)2 Sage(2) Leah(2) Roberto (North Carolina) (1)ClaireJia Hui (California)

Read even more testimonials from campers, parents, staff, and community leaders about YEA Camp, and then register here to join us for camp this summer or to apply as a staff member.

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YEA Camp Hero Day 12: Claire – An Activist Role Model

Happy New Year! We’ve reached the final day, Day 12, of our 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes series! We are so inspired by ALL of our amazing YEA Campers — and there are so many campers doing great things who we will continue to feature throughout the year.

As a reminder, 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes  is part of our year-end fundraising camp-aign. Your tax-deductible donation helps us train and support more young leaders to make a difference on an important social issue.

Today’s YEA Camp Hero is Claire, 16-year-old activist superstar who came all the way from Michigan to attend our Massachusetts camp last summer.

10536818_10203707040451513_7411826565970753363_o (1)Claire was already very dedicated and involved with animal rights causes before attending YEA Camp but wanted to take her efforts to the next level. On her application, Claire wrote “I would like to attend YEA Camp to meet other people with the same ideals I have as well as to learn how to spread awareness about animal rights in my town. I would like to learn how to properly communicate with people about issues and make a change in my
community.”

We are so inspired by all that she has done since YEA Camp! She has been on fire and done so much since YEA Camp, we truly cannot keep track of it all or remotely cover everything in the scope of this short post.

10686851_789229701115680_782154477610850338_nClaire has organized and attended rallies at the State Capitol to advocate for wolves – which made the news – as well as to protest the circus, to raise awareness and funds for farmed animals, and so much more.  She volunteers at an animal shelter, has attended local hearings about animal issues, spoke out about a hunting contest taking place at her school, and about a hundred other things – at least!

Just this week Claire launched Charity Fizz, where she sells bath fizz balls that she hand-makes to raise money for charity. While Claire devotes most of her efforts to helping animals, her first nonprofit is called Well House, a local homeless shelter in Grand Rapids because seeing people who are homeless”has always affected me. I just can’t imagine not having a place to call home, not knowing were my next meal would come from.” People are animals too!

We know Claire would be doing amazing things with or without YEA Camp, but we asked the question: what difference did YEA Camp make?

We were inspired that Claire said that if not for YEA Camp… “I would not have taken so many opportunities to help animals or tried so hard to get to animal rights events. I wouldn’t have known what to say to my classmates who came to me for help transitioning to veganism. I also would have wasted energy trying to reason with 0% people at the Ringling Circus protest.” We love that Claire came to YEA Camp to improve her communication skills and she has! And we especially love that last piece, which references something we talk about in our communication workshop – that it’s sometimes not worthwhile to argue or spend time talking about an issue with someone who completely disagrees with you (“o% people”).

As we wrap up our 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes series, we are just so proud of Claire and all of our campers for everything that they’ve accomplished to make a difference in our world. We are thrilled to play a part in that!

Just some of our amazing returning staff!

Thank you for supporting YEA Camp!

Your donation to YEA Camp enable youth like Claire to take their passions to the next level of effectiveness and action to change the world. You can donate here.

We hope you’ve enjoyed 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes, and we appreciate your continued support now and always.

If you missed the other YEA Camp Hero stories check them out and be inspired! There was Day 1 about Megan  in Massachusetts raising money for the homeless, Day 2 showcasing Joyce in New Jersey speaking out about bullying, Day 3 highlighting Maddie  in Colorado advocating for animals, Day 4 about Lia from Washington state working to address the stigma of mental illness and reducing teen suicide, Day 5 about Roberto from North Carolina speaking more confidently about progressive causes, Day 6 about Ana from California advocating for women, workers, animals, and more, Day 7 about Jia Hui’s animal advocacy, Day 8 about Shelby’s advocacy for gay and transgender rights, and Day 9 about Leah from Connecticut helping animals at her local shelter, Day 10 about Sage from California who is trying to educate his peers on current events, and Day 11 about Bernie and his efforts to help the environment. Wow, that’s a lot of heroes!

We hope you are inspired as we are by these stories that our supporters have helped make possible.

If YEA Camp sounds like the perfect place for you or a change-making 12-17 year-old you know, send them to YEACamp.org and hopefully we’ll see you or them this summer!

Happy new year!

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YEA Camp Hero Day 11 Bernie: Stepping Up to Make a Difference

Welcome to Day 11(!) of our 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes campaign – our way of showing off how amazing our campers are and reflecting on how, according to them, YEA Camp has helped them make a difference.
1560767_10153066874034698_2222574637238270452_nToday’s YEA Camp Hero is 15-year-old Bernie from Oregon, who has been with us the past two summers. Bernie is passionate about a lot of things – music, especially! Here he is performing the whole camp at the YEA Show! – but also human rights, bullying, gay rights, the environment, animals, and more. When he first came to YEA Camp, he says he “was kind of lost in the activist regard, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do or focus on,” which is how a lot of campers are — and how a lot of people are — when you recognize how many challenges there are in our world. Ultimately, though, YEA Camp is about stepping up to make a difference, learning skills, seeing and emulating examples of things that others are doing that are working, and channeling your passion into action.

10628686_10153385076384698_5419096048098897042_oWhen we asked Bernie how YEA Camp made a difference for him he said it “helped me center on what I really care about. This year when I went I wanted to focus on human trafficking but I realized that I’m really passionate about the environment, and YEA Camp helped me do so much. I started a compost program at my school (here he is, on the right, with members of his school club at the waste audit they did that showed the school how much food waste could be diverted from the trash by composting!), and I’m screening the ‘Story of Stuff’ and ‘Cowspiracy’ this semester, and none of that would have been possible without YEA Camp. It’s changed my life so much, and I’m really grateful.”

He also told us last month that, if not for YEA Camp, “I would have been eating turkey for
Thanksgiving, and burgers and hot dogs every single day, I swear. If not for YEA, I wouldn’t be willingly learning about cruelty in the world. If not for YEA, I wouldn’t be as kind and accepting as I hope I am.”

10557232_10153066827744698_1786504347836216207_nWe are so grateful to know Bernie and so many others like him who know that they want to make a difference and just need a little support to channel their passions into action.

As we wrap up 2014, we say thank you to all of you who have supported YEA Camp along its path to reach more young people like Bernie. We are continuing our year-end fundraising drive until tomorrow, when our matching gift expires, and we would so appreciate your support to help us reach even more campers to make an even bigger difference in 2015.

If you were inspired by Bernie, we hope you will check out some of the previous posts about YEA Camp Heroes that you may have missed. There was Day 1 about Megan in Massachusetts raising money for the homeless, Day 2 showcasing Joyce in New Jersey speaking out about bullying, Day 3 highlighting Maddie in Colorado advocating for animals, Day 4 about Lia from Washington state working to address the stigma of mental illness and reducing teen suicide, Day 5 about Roberto from North Carolina speaking more confidently about progressive causes, Day 6 about Ana from California advocating for women, workers, animals, and more, Day 7 about Jia Hui’s animal advocacy, Day 8 about Shelby’s advocacy for gay and transgender rights, and Day 9 about Leah from Connecticut helping animals at her local shelter, and Day 10 about Sage from California who is trying to educate his peers on current events. Wow, that’s a lot of heros! And we’ll be honoring 1 more tomorrow as we wrap up this series. We hope you are inspired as we are by these stories that our supporters have helped make possible.

If YEA Camp sounds like the perfect place for you or a change-making 12-17 year old you know, send them to YEACamp.org and hopefully we’ll see you or them this summer!

Happy new year!

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YEA Camp Hero Day 10 Sage: Teaching Students About Current Events

Welcome to Day 10 of our 12 Days of YEA Camp Heroes campaign – our way of highlighting the difference our campers are making and how, according to them, YEA Camp has helped.

10547626_10153066886244698_488404055169693032_nAt YEA Camp, 14-year-old Sage from California shared that he was frustrated at how unaware some of his classmates are about things that are happening in the world, and that he felt his classes should teach more about important social justice and current events topics. Sage is super smart, knowledgeable and passionate about so many causes from the death penalty to climate change, gerrymandering political districts to the drug war. He wants other students to learn and care about these causes too.

Since camp, Sage has started an activist school club! It’s a way to connect and work with others who care about different causes too. There are 10-15 people at the average meeting, and because they are interested in different topics, they work in small groups on the issues that they are most passionate about. Sage says, “I have tried to get people focused on what activism people are individually interested in and then helping and supporting them while they create their own plan.”

One group recently wrote a letter to the chef trying to get Meatless Mondays in the school cafeteria. Another group is working on reducing what they feel is censorship at school. Students are not allowed to do their own research on the computers, which they feel puts lower-income students without computers at home at an unfair disadvantage.

Sage advocated to the administration for creating an editorial board for the newspaper, including getting other students to sign petitions for it, but was told that the school doesn’t want “kids getting their feelings hurt by others’ opinions.” He’s still working on that, but the club did successfully advocated for the school newspaper to add a current events section that addresses world issues. Sage also convinced his history teacher to start including current events and world issues in class, and he is planning on talking to other teachers about this as well.

YEA definitely empowered me to take action at school. Before YEA Camp I had a very cynical outlook on school policies and thought it was impossible to make any social change. I was wrong and YEA Camp taught me to be determined and motivated against all odds. … If not for YEA Camp I wouldn’t have been as confident or 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.

We are so proud of what Sage is accomplishing, and we love that he is finding ways to pursue different causes that are important to him while helping others to do the same. This is exactly what YEA Camp is about.

As we approach the end of the year and prep for 2015, your donation can help us strengthen our ability to serve even more young people who want to make a difference. We so appreciate your support!

If you enjoyed reading about Sage’s activism, check out some of the previous posts about YEA Camp Heroes that you may have missed. There was Day 1 about Megan in Massachusetts raising money for the homeless, Day 2 showcasing Joyce in New Jersey speaking out about bullying, Day 3 highlighting Maddie in Colorado advocating for animals, Day 4 about Lia from Washington state working to address the stigma of mental illness and reducing teen suicide, Day 5 about Roberto from North Carolina speaking more confidently about progressive causes, Day 6 about Ana from California advocating for women, workers, animals, and more, Day 7 about Jia Hui’s animal advocacy, Day 8 about Shelby’s advocacy for gay and transgender rights, and Day 9 about Leah from Connecticut helping animals at her local shelter. Wow, that’s a lot of heros! And we’ll be honoring 2 more in the next 2 days!

If YEA Camp sounds like the perfect place for you or a change-making 12-17 year old you know, send them to YEACamp.org and hopefully we’ll see you or them this summer!

 

 

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