We asked our campers to finish the sentence, “If Not For YEA Camp…”

YEA cameprs Leah and Liam!

YEA Campers Leah and Liam at the People’s Climate March

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!

10547626_10153066886244698_488404055169693032_nIf 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

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 3.42.04 PM“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

roberto pic
If not for YEA Camp, I would not have the confidence to keep moving on even with the racist bigots at my school because of the great network of people I met.”
-Roberto, 17, from North Carolina


“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.

1157445_10152131264424698_981347756_n“If it weren’t for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t have been kind enough to myself to prepare for the actions I need to take this year.”
-Kami, 15, from Oregon

We are crying! This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many stories like these! 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. Visit this blog to see a new inspiring story each weekday until the end of the year.

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:

  1. 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?
  2. You are contributing to the expansion of a sorely needed, truly innovative program. We are facing a world dealing with mostly 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.
  3. 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.

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!

About YEA Camp

Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp is a summer camp for social change. Our life-changing leadership camp trains 12-17 year-olds to make a difference on a cause they care about. Since 2009, our weeklong overnight camps have helped more than 500 teens from all over the country get active in their community or school on causes like climate change, racism, LGBTQ rights, animal rights, bullying and more. Find out more and register to join us at www.yeacamp.org.
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