“I’ve worked with lots of teens in my career – and it’s rare to find a place in the teenage world where there’s just absolute and complete acceptance – room for everyone to be who they are, and to be accepted with open arms. There were no cliques, and the campers opened up and shared a lot about their personal hopes, fears, and aspirations. I was rejuvenated, too, by the generosity of spirit and the creativity our campers exhibited throughout the week. They had so much care and creativity, so much kindness and vision — for each other, for us as staff, for the world they wanted to create. I look forward to seeing what changes they can now make in the world with the preparation and training from YEA Camp.”
-Sharon Smith, author of The Young Activist’s Guide to Building a Green Movement and Changing the World; former Program Director, New Leaders Initiative & Brower Youth Awards, Earth Island Institute; YEA Camp staff member
“YEA Camp brings together bright and talented youngsters who are passionate about making a difference. It is not only one of the most fun events ever created – it just might shift the course of history. The more people who participate in YEA! Camp, the more hope we will have for our future.”
“YEA Camp keeps me hopeful and inspired! Whenever I need a break from the news, which is often depressing and toxic, I check out the YEA Camp website to watch videos and read stories about young people working to make the world a better place for all. The youth who’ve gone through YEA Camp prove that young people are anything but apathetic. They are passionate, confident, and proud to call themselves activists. We need YEA Camps in every state across the country!”
–Rose Aguilar, host of Your Call radio show (on KALW, San Francisco NPR affiliate) and author of Red Highways: A Liberal’s Journal Into the Heartland
“YEA Camp is unique in its ability to nurture young people with an activist or community vision and help them prepare for lives of purpose, effectiveness, and joy.”
-Hillary Rettig, author of The Lifelong Activist
“I love being able to recommend YEA Camp for teens who feel the call to change the world, be of service, and create a better life for all of Earth’s inhabitants. At Farm Sanctuary, we have long observed the powerful change that occurs when caring people join together and explore pathways to turn their compassion into action, and I’m thrilled this program exists to support teens in doing just that.”
-Gene Baur, President and Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary
“YEA Camp came at a crucial time for my daughter. She already identified as a young activist, but her context for that identity — and her sense of a wider community of young people and role models — was still in early formation. The peers and staff at YEA Camp let her imagine bigger things for herself and the world, and made her feel confident knowing that while she might be on the forefront in her school, she was part of a large family of kindred souls in the world.”
-James Schamus, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and producer (Brokeback Mountain), former CEO of Focus Features
“It began with a good feeling that I was dropping my son off to become a part of something that would change his way of thinking, his way of acting. And it did just that-he returned home enthusiastic to really make a difference, and with some meaningful friendships to foster this energy. He has already said he will definitely be at YEA Camp next year.”
-Alma, mother of Chris, 14 years old, California
“My daughter had such a wonderful time, and it’s exciting to me as a parent to see her so jazzed about stepping into new territory to make a positive difference in the world. She’s taking directions I wouldn’t have predicted, and focusing on both the big and small pictures, like planning to ride her bike to school every day as well as volunteering at Planned Parenthood. How inspiring! Thank you again for creating this inspirational experience! And of course, to every one who had a part in it. What dedication, to foster the next generation in becoming effective agents of change! You all have my admiration and gratitude.”
–Gretchen, mother of Deborah, 15 years old, Oregon
“I wanted to let you know how wonderful and vital your YEA camp was for our daughter! She not only loved her time there, but she came back with something which I believe will be of lasting value to her, namely a sense that she can make a difference in the world.
The camp, along with your follow-up encouragement, helped her focus her enthusiasm for her
cause of vegetarianism and sustainability into positive action. She wrote to a vegetarian activist organization, obtained literature from them, and spent the better part of a Saturday morning in our local neighborhood merchant district, handing out the pamphlets and talking to people about the problems with factory animal farming. She felt a real sense of accomplishment in this. I don’t know how many people she influenced in her efforts, but the experience opened doors to new methods and thought processes, and I am confident that she will be able to draw from this experience for years to come.”
-Mike, father of Jesse, 13 years old, California
Thank you YEA Camp, all the wonderful counselors and cooks. My daughter, Tanjie, came home so happy. Before, she was sad and frustrated by the things she wished she could advocate changes for in this world, now she feels inspired and empowered, which is what I hoped for her. At first we were just seeking a camp that served vegetarian food, but when we found YEA camp and realized it was more about the purposes she lives for we knew she had to go. I had a feeling about how special every camper was when I dropped her off. These are special young people with the gifts of compassion and the need to make the world a better place. YEA Camp gives the tools and encouragement for them to do this. I can’t thank you enough.
-Karri, mother of Tanjie, age 15, California
YEA Camp!!! You are an amazing and inspiring group of people…staff and campers! Thank you so much for helping my daughter change the world!! Julia will be continuing to go to this camp for the next 6 years!! Words can’t describe how thankful I am for all you have done.
-Debbie, mother of Julia, age 12, New Jersey
Here’s what I love about YEA Camp:
It invites and unites the broad spectrum of social-justice and eco-sustainability issues.
It engages (and challenges) each kid around his or her own personal desires, experiences, hopes and dreams.
It encourages group support and bonding among kids, and even between adult-mentors and kids.
It carries each kid’s actions well beyond the summer camp.
The sliding scales allows for a diversity of socio-economic backgrounds at camp.
It positively impacts parents, who see their kids energized and empowered around issues that maybe the parents themselves didn’t fully understand.
It will make a powerful impact on the world.
-Steve, father to Julian, age 15, Massachusetts
“I felt extremely welcomed and accepted at YEA. The tight community bond we formed was incredible. The creation of such a tight-knit community in a week is magical. I learned everything and more that I need to be an effective advocate for my IOI (issue of importance). All aspects of the camp contribute to the best experience of someone’s life. This is the experience of a lifetime.”
-Jaliessa, 17, Oregon
“You have truly changed my life. I can’t ever express how thankful I am to be able to be here with happy, positive people with intent to help me achieve my goals. I am ready to go back with a positive outlook because I will always keep in the back of my head that I do have support and people rooting for me.”
-Britney, 16, New Hampshire
“I gained a ton of confidence, both in my activism skills and my value as a person. I feel like I have a concrete, achievable plan. I learned a lot about organizing my issues into manageable parts. If you want to change anything anywhere in the world, come to YEA.”
-Griffin, 16, Oregon
“This camp has impacted my life much more than I ever thought a camp would. I felt like it was easy to connect with everyone regardless of age differences. My confidence in myself and my ability to change the world was greatly improved. I no longer doubt what I can do. I now have the skills to make the changes I want in the world. My life is definitely going to keep improving because of what I’ve done at this camp. Not only my activism, but my personal life as well. YEA Camp changes lives. When I read the things people wrote on your website, I had a hard time believing that. Now I’ve seen it for myself. Thank you for making such a positive impact on the youth of the world.”
-Lois, 16, Oregon
“It was incredibly rewarding. I can’t explain how amazing it was to meet people my age who actually care about improving our society. I fully recommend it if you really do care about making a difference. This camp brought me such joy — meeting peers who I’ve connected with on an emotional and intellectual level. Never in your life will you find such a diverse, intelligent, caring, devoted and passionate group of kids, anywhere.”
-Hunter, 16, Oregon
“YEA Camp was truly one of the best things that’s ever happened in my life, not only as an activist, but also as a person of character and civic duty. The experience and lessons that I learned at YEA Camp are something that I’ll take with me wherever I go and plan to do. I’ve learned such an incredible amount. I love everything about YEA Camp!”
-Lamanh, 16, California
“My experience at camp was completely and utterly amazing! I met so many neat people and I learned awesome things! If you come, it will empower you to do more. You even get a mentor! It isn’t YEA camp — it’s YEA LIFE!”
-Anonymous camper evaluation CA 2013
“This week has truly boosted my spirits and given me all that I need to make the world a better place. I’m not sure what I’d do if there weren’t people like you guys to support people like me and to restore my faith in humanity. Thanks so much — this week is one of the most valuable in my life.”
-Jasmine, 17, Connecticut
“My experience was great! I made amazing friends and I learned a lot, but most of all, the combination of the two left me inspired and excited to make a difference! Everything I learned inspired me to take action on issues I’m passionate about, too! In addition to taking on bullying, I’m going vegan, and hopefully forming a biking group! This camp was amazing and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
-Connor, 15, Washington
“Words cannot describe how fun and life-changing this experience has been. Before this camp, my dream to end bullying at my school was dead and seemed unreachable. I had no idea how to stop it. Thanks to YEA Camp, I now have the confidence and skills to go out into the world and make a difference and turn my dreams into reality.”
–Paula, 17, California
“You have helped us all find our way and inspired us to not be afraid because we are young. I didn’t know what to expect when I came to this camp and all I wanted was more help on learning how to make a greater difference. This camp has been more than I hoped for. You have all left a mark in my life as activists who keep on going and surpass obstacles.”
-Melissa, 16, California
“This was the best experience in my life. I feel so empowered and like I have the tools to revolutionize the world. If I had to choose between getting a million dollars and coming to this camp, I would choose this camp.”
-Aurora, 15, Arizona
“This camp is beyond amazing and inspiring. This place has changed my life forever.”
–Savannah, 12, California
“This camp has changed my life. It has opened my eyes to the world and inspired me to go out and make a change. It has given me the tools and skills I need to be effective and introduced me to people who are going to change the world for the better. It has given me hope that even though its difficult, we can make a difference.”
-Katie, 16, California
“I came all the way to Oregon from Massachusetts to be here and it exceeded my expectations by a ton. I gained so much here: confidence, drive, skills, friends, happiness and a ton of other wicked awesome stuff. The staff and mentors are ridiculously inspiring and remarkable. I learned a lot about myself and the world. The camp gave me the drive to actually make a difference.”
-Emma, 16, Massachusetts
“This was a life-changing experience. Nothing like this has ever been in my life before. The people I met have forever left a handprint on my heart. I will never, ever be the same. Ever. And that’s a good thing.”
- Miller, 15, Oregon
“My experience at YEA Camp is indescribable. I am so happy I came. I am inspired to go out and make my views heard. I gained tons of confidence, filled my toolbox with awesome skills, and learned how to be effective in telling people what I believe. There is a place for everyone at YEA and there is so much to learn. You don’t have to be an activist already to come, either.”
-Anonymous camper evaluation in Oregon
“YEA Camp has become a second family to me. It has made me see the world in a completely new way. I feel as if I have the absolute power to make a change in the world. I look forward to returning next year!”
-Andrew, 16, Oregon
“YEA was amazing. I loved how I really felt I belonged. I definitely loved the openness of everyone and the awesome games and activities. Even after only going to camp about 3 months ago, I feel like I have already made a really big impact. I’m truly proud of myself for all that I have accomplished. I’m proud for actually sticking to my plans and intentions, and not just sitting around. And I just want to thank you again for creating this amazing camp and program. I know I’ve said it over and over again, but this camp has truly changed my life. You have inspired me to do so much with my life and to make the world a truly better place. You have inspired me to believe in myself and to not just say ‘I’m just a kid, what can I do?’ Because of you, I have been able to actually make a difference, even within only a few months.”
-Bianca, 15, California
“I was not expecting to have so much fun at YEA. It was truly an inspiration to be a part of this camp. All of the staff have been wonderful. The food was delicious, and I’m not even vegan! It was amazing and the workshops were all very useful. I am so glad that I came. I found new friends and I’m so excited to get started on my issue and raise awareness.”
–Elaina, 16, Oregon
“This camp has changed my life so much. I didn’t think I could change so quickly. The people, especially the staff, are amazing. I love how even though I am more aware and informed on the issues in the world, I have motivation to keep going and do something about it. Often times I begin to question whether my efforts are worth it, sometimes I just want to give up. Now I can never do that. I know I will not give up. EVER. It makes me smile whenever I realize that you will all be there whenever I need help or have questions. My “tool-box” is full to the top and I’m anxious to use my new tools.”
–Olivia, 17, Oregon
YEA Camp has changed my life over and over. I love every second of learning and laughing that I do here. Camp has helped me turn my passion into action. YEA makes it acceptable to care about the world. We are taught so often to care about the world and YEA creates a community where that’s ok.”
-Isabelle, 14, Oregon
“In the time that I spent here I made relationships that will last a lifetime. I cannot believe how much I learned on how to BE the change in the world”
–Ramon, age 17, California