Testimonials

See what some of our campers, parents, and staff have to say about YEA!

Parents

"Hannah came back from YEA camp, July 2013, with a whole new outlook on things. Her after camp plan was to start a club at her school that dealt with animal rights. She got right on that as soon as school started and was able to start her "Peace for Animals" club. Hannah & her club are now working with the school to get veggie burgers on the menu. Hannah has had some down moments while standing up for her beliefs at school, and YEA counselors and friends were there for her to offer advice and listen. Hannah joined Peta2 street team and has participated in a local walking protest about factory farming, holding her sign with confidence for all to see. She researches things to gain more insight and refers back to her camp notes for ideas. Hannah now has the confidence to raise her hand in class, when working in groups or her club, she makes sure everyone has their chance to voice their opinion and ideas, so they can come up with a solution everyone can agree on.  She uses the skills she learned at camp to help her friends get through rough times, stand up for others, and offers kids who are considered "different" and have to deal with issues such as LGBTQ, Vegan/Veg, Self-harm, religion, etc., a shoulder to lean on and advice to help them cope, that she learned at camp. YEA camp is a giant hug for teens that teaches them the skills to be more confident, stand up for their beliefs, get involved & be heard!  All the years of Girl Scout Camp my daughter attended, never made an impact on her life, that just one week at YEA camp did! AMAZING CAMP!!!!!!! She can't wait to go back to YEA camp this summer!
 
I just love the people behind YEA; they are making a difference and they are incredible people. It gives me warm fuzzies knowing YEA Camp exists and provides a place for teens that need to be around others like them, being accepted for who they are, and giving them the skills and confidence to change the world!"
--Kristie, mother of Hannah, age 15, Arizona

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“I can't begin to tell you what an impact your camp has made on our son Daniel.  His life has been altered exponentially by the experience.  He is so motivated to make a difference in our community and we are committed to supporting him in his efforts. You are doing such amazing work!  Please accept our sincerest regards and thanks.”

–Ann, mother of Daniel, 16 years old, California

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"An amazing experience for the campers and even the parents who could feel the energy during our brief but wonderful drop off and pick up moments. My daughter was changed forever and motivated to push ahead with her fantastic project. The staff was fabulous and Nora; no words can express what you have pulled together. This is exactly what the world needs!"

-Nina, mother of Tova, 14 years old, Florida

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"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

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“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 everyone 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

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"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

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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

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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

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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

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Campers

"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

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"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

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"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

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"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

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"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've learned at YEA Camp is 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

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"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

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"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

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"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

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"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

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“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

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“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

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"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

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“This camp is beyond amazing and inspiring. This place has changed my life forever.”

–Savannah, 12, California

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"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

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I came all the way 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 leaned a lot about myself and the world. The camp gave me the drive to actually make a difference.”

-Emma, 16, Massachusetts

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"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

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“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

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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, 17, Oregon

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"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

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“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

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“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

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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

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“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

 

 

Staff

"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 on throwing an amazing party for the staff on the last night! We'd planned a fun night for them, and instead they took charge and capped camp off with a truly unforgettable dance party and dinner. I was continually impressed by the thoughtfulness, passion, and integrity of the campers - and look forward to seeing what changes they can now make in the world with the preparation and training from YEA Camp."

-Sharon Smith, Counselor YEA Camp 2009
former Program Director, New Leaders Initiative and Brower Youth Awards, Earth Island Institute