YEA Campers Speaking Out and Walking Out Against Gun Violence

YEA Camper Raven was one of so many YEA Campers around the country who walked out of school or attended the March for Our Lives.

Like much of the country, we’ve been so inspired by the activism spearheaded by youth advocating for gun control since the tragic Parkland shooting.

We were less surprised than most, though, because we see the activism young people do every day and their passion and ability to make a difference on the causes they care about.

Sparked by the catalysts of youth activists Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and other young leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students across the nation have been speaking out and walking out.

Our campers participated in school walkouts and the March for Our Lives all across the country, and the recent protests in Sacramento to protest the horrific police killing of Stephon Clark.

13-year-old YEA Camper Mal being interviewed in Sacramento at protests of the police killing of Stephon Clark.

We often say that activism is something that ideally we would never have to do — because it would mean that our world is running fairly and systems are in place to address issues that arise.

But clearly that is not the case.

Young people are inheriting a country where they see friends being shot in school, where there is daily risk of violence in their communities, and where police — those who are sworn to protect and serve — pose a terrifying risk.

And so they are doing activism. We are seeing the courage of young people speaking up in spite their fears, their homework, their inexperience, and every other reason people use to justify inaction. They’re organizing and attending protests, walking out of school, registering voters, contacting legislators, speaking to media, making signs, giving speeches, pressuring legislators, and using social media to keep this issue in the center of public debate. We’ve already seen companies change their policies, pull their advertising, and end corporate partnerships with the NRA as a result of this pressure.

We were so proud and honored to get this message from YEA Camper Hani, who attended camp 4 summers ago when she was 14.

One of the biggest things we prioritize at YEA Camp is helping our campers feel proud of what they care about, and to put aside fears of other people’s opinions while taking action to make a difference. There are so many aspects to helping people feel empowered to speak up, many of them very subtle.

YEA Camp’s entire curriculum is focused on developing knowledge, skills, confidence, and community —  all of which build upon one another and lead people to fully express their passions in ways that are effective and sustainable.

We know that our campers — and certainly the incredible youth of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the students across the country who’ve been walking out and marching — don’t need YEA Camp to get out and do these things, but we know we do all we can to help.

If you could use some help taking your activism (on guns or any other issue of importance to you) to the next level, or even just want to be part of an inspiring community of advocates as passionate as you are, join us at YEA Camp! We have sessions for youth ages 12-17 and a new session for adults.