You might have noticed that there are a lot of problems in our world.

What can we do about them? Can one person make a difference?

We believe they can. That’s why YEA Camp exists. We work with young people like you who want to do something about the issues we are facing, and want to meet other young people who do, too. Maybe you’re concerned about the environment, about violence in your neighborhood, about ending homelessness or animal cruelty, or about everyone having the right to get married? If you want to make a difference in the world, and want to meet other young leaders who feel the same way, we have the opportunity of a lifetime for you! Join us for Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp — a week of people and activities you will never forget.

You will leave camp with new skills, a plan to make an impact on issues you care about, increased self-confidence, and a community of friends and mentors to support you for years to come!

Maybe right now you don’t think of yourself as a leader or know what to do about the issues you care about. That’s OK! – you don’t have to have it all figured out already. Or maybe you’ve already done a lot! Either way, as long as you know you want to do something to make the world a better place, you’ll fit right in. Our experienced staff and phenomenal campers will work closely with you so that by the time you leave camp, you are fired up and ready to go and inspired by how powerful you are and the difference you can make.

How do we make this happen? Well, first of all, we work really hard at making sure that each camper gets the attention, support, and appreciation they deserve for even caring and being willing to do something about making the world a kinder place.  We give campers opportunities to learn about different social problems from one another, as well as lots of ideas and inspiration to help each person figure out what they can do to bring about change.

YEA Camp is designed so that each and every camper develops the knowledge, skills, confidence, and community to take effective, inspired action on the issues that matter most to them.

And how do we do that? Take a look at a sample daily schedule and some of our activities to get an idea of what we do at camp! Read below for an overview of the week at YEA Camp.

What does a week at YEA Camp look like?

(1) DAY ONE is all about getting comfortable and making friends.

Top priorities for Day 1 include everyone knowing everyone else’s name, making friends, and making it “cool to care.” We play lots of fun getting-to-know-you games, do our first CIA (Compassion into Action) about food, and have our first of YEA’s signature circles.

(2) DAY TWO Exploration and Inspiration! Day two is an opportunity to be inspired by more examples of change-makers who are bettering society.

From youth currently doing amazing things to historic activists we may have read about in history books, campers see begin to see more possibilities for how to bring about social change. They learn about other activists doing amazing things to make a difference–including from other campers and staff at camp– and are inspired by the opportunity to bring about a better world.

Campers learn and share about actions our community has already taken to make a difference, and develop an understanding of the issues other campers care about — all while cultivating deeper friendships and having a great time.

(3) DAY THREE: Visioning and Passion! Campers connect to what really matters to them and think about what role they can play to make a difference on Issues of Importance (IOI) to them.

What are you passionate about? Campers learn more about different issues and problems affecting the world and the roots of those problems, while practicing and sharing about that issue with others. Campers learn more about what actions others are taking and how they could take action on their issue.

(4) DAY FOUR is a day to turn PASSION into ACTION–campers connect to what is important to them, learn more about some of the social issues we are currently facing, and develop ideas for how to bring about change.

Campers choose an issue they care about and explore how can they bring their skills and talents to the issue to make a difference. Campers practice communicating and thinking strategically about their  IOI in a way that influences and inspires others.  Day four is about learning possible actions to take on their issue. Campers also select a staff mentor on this day to work with at and after camp!

(5) Day FIVE Loud and Proud! Campers gain confidence in themselves and their ability to make a difference on their IOI.

Campers begin to gain confidence in themselves as changemakers as they look at how they can more strategically impact their issue. Why is the issue you care about happening? Why hasn’t the problem you see been solved yet? Who makes decisions that keep it in place? What can be done about it? It’s also a day to practice talking about your issue more thoughtfully. How do we inspire others — especially those with the most power and influence — to take compassionate actions?

(6) DAY SIX Making It Happen! Campers will learn key activism skills that will be help them bring about change on the issues they care about.

Campers learn skills that will be valuable in impacting change on their issue of importance (IOI) and that will be helpful when creating their action plan for when they go home. They’ll learn about fundraising, using art and social media to raise awareness about a cause, how to start and run an effective school club, how to plan a campaign, and more.

(7) DAY SEVEN Keys to the Castle! Campers put their learning together and create and share their plans to apply what they learned at YEA Camp at home. Campers also confront and overcome personal obstacles and limiting beliefs.

Day seven is the campers’ chance to put everything they’ve learned together and to create an action plan for how they want to make a difference in the future. The first half of the day we do an activity called the Changemaker Olympics–a camp-wide activism simulation game where they must convince decision makers to act on different issues. Campers must apply the skills they have learned throughout the week to make a difference in this fun game. In the afternoon, working with staff mentors they choose, campers evaluate the needs of their IOI, as well as their own skills, passions, talents, and resources, to come up with an action plan for making a difference when they get home. They then have an opportunity to present their plan to the group so that we can all be inspired by one another’s plans as well as support each other in making our plans happen.

(8) DAY EIGHT is a celebration of accomplishments and our community.

Campers at YEA develop strong bonds that do not end at camp, and while saying good bye is always difficult, we will create plans to keep in touch via reunions, Skype, Facebook, email, or other methods that campers choose.

Of course this is a very rough sketch of each day — there is also free time, games, outdoor time, delicious food, and lots of other activities each day — but we thought this would give you an idea of how the week is structured.

Mentorship Program

YEA recognizes the power of staying connected as a community long beyond our time at camp.

At camp, each participant will choose an adult mentor staff member who will have expertise in the social issue of importance (IOI) that the camper chooses. Our excellent staff-camper ratio of 1-3 enables close attention and relationships that extend throughout the year so that campers can get help they need fulfilling their project goals.

After camp, YEA staff will work with campers to arrange follow-up calls or meetings to check in on the camper’s progress, as well as to provide ideas, support, and a helping hand when needed. We will also make sure campers are connected with local or national organizations focused on their issues so they can become an integral part of that movement. YEA also hosts bi-weekly  group conference calls for all campers to connect and share ideas, and periodically hosts fun reunions for participants to reconnect as well as to inspire and be inspired by one another. We also have a camp email list and alumni Facebook group for us all to be able to stay in contact.