Our campers are amazing, and after attending YEA Camp our campers go on to do amazing things. We like to brag about their great work so they can be reminded how important their efforts are and so they can inspire others to get involved. We are also proud that many campers credit YEA Camp for the inspiring things they have accomplished since attending.
If you are a teenager considering attending camp, don’t worry if you are new to activism or have not done anything like what our campers below have done. As long as you really care about wanting to make a difference, YEA Camp is the perfect place to help you get active in whatever ways you choose.
Want to send a message of encouragement to one of our campers, or find out how you can get involved? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass it along to them!
Paula O. in Santa Clara, CA
Paula is a strong believer that schools are a place where everybody should feel safe and respected. Recognizing that was not the case at her school, after attending YEA Camp, she started an anti-bullying program that includes educational workshops for students and teachers, and is creating awareness for this issue that affects so many teenagers. If all goes well, she will also travel to Washington D.C. in the spring to talk to Congress about the importance of passing an anti-bullying bill.
Chris Williams in Walnut Creek, CA
Chris is passionate about animal rights, veganism and community service. He advocated for vegan options in his school cafeteria and made it happen — a huge accomplishment! Chris received the only volunteer/service award for juniors at his school. He is looking forward to a service trip in Nicaragua for 7 weeks this summer to work in a small community in Madriz, on community-based initiatives, with Amigos de las America. Chris has previously done a service trip to Panama.
Jaliessa S. in Portland, OR
Since attending YEA Camp Jaliessa has not only kept in touch with this amazing community of people, but has been more active than ever. She has participated in protests, volunteered with organizations, met new activists, attended talks and workshops, joined book groups around social issues, and has been able to be the “lone nut” in order to initiate change that she profoundly cares about. She says “The community built at YEA Camp has definitely aided in my confidence and persistence. Knowing I have overwhelming support behind me is the push I need. I love running into campers, and have even connected with a few who were not in my session! In September, I protested the Ringling Bros circus, and I invited YEA Campers to come out and join and was surprised to see they not only came but brought more people!”
“The tools I have from my experience at YEA Camp have aided in my activism in many ways. My first time leafleting was not as intimidating, and was a greater success because of a workshop from YEA Camp. My confidence in my ability to be a leader when participating in actions has sufficiently risen. My overall faith in humanity has been renewed because of the amazing people I met at YEA. My experience last summer was one that has enhanced my capacity to press on and take action for what I believe in, no matter if I am a ‘lone nut.’ “
Jaliessa has done some other amazing things recently. She started a change.org petition asking Luna Bars to remove palm oil from their products because the production of palm oil is causing rainforest habitat destruction that is endangering several species, including orangutans. In less than a week, it already has over 300 signatures! Please sign and share her petition!
Since our workshop on arts activism at YEA Camp, where she learned about making zines, Jaliessa has also written three activist zines on topics that are important to her and had a poem published in the women of color zine Crosshairs.
Deborah was spurred into action for reproductive health care rights when she saw the amount of opposition to Planned Parenthood and the valuable services they provide. She decided to use her birthday party as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, and to use the fundraiser as an excuse to ask people not to buy her any more presents she felt she didn’t need. Amidst preparations for her party, she signed up for YEA Camp and vowed to do more about preserving and promoting sex education and reproductive rights than just get angry at the newspaper every day.
After attending YEA Camp, she went to her local Planned Parenthood chapter for the first time to start volunteering, and was startled by how much of a “celebrity” she became due to being fourteen and wanting to save the world. People were coming up to her and asking to shake her hand. She was asked to make a speech at the organization’s biggest event of the year, in front of over 900 people. Not only did she get to speak in front of important Oregonians, including many politicians, but afterwards people kept approaching her and saying she should run for office!
Since attending YEA Camp in both 2010 and 2011, Clayton has gotten involved on an issue he cares about deeply: halting climate change. In 2010, he spoke out at a hearing about shutting down Oregon’s coal-fired power plant. In October 2011, he spoke at Portland’s 350.org Moving Planet event on stage before hundreds of people; Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley spoke right after him. Clayton urged people to act now to stop climate change, rather than waiting and saddling his generation with the effects of our inaction. There are many simple things people can do every day to lower their carbon footprint, and Clayton encourages people everywhere he goes to drive less, eat vegan and vote for green candidates.
Tegan attended YEA Camp in Oregon in 2010 and 2011 and has been active in our YEA Academy. Her main issue of importance is child & teen sex trafficking, and she has been very involved with the organizations Stop Child Trafficking Now (SCT) and the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC). This year, Tegan raised $500 for SCT through a walk-a-thon and a Bellyfit class that she organized to raise money and awareness about this issue.
Currently, Tegan is speaking to her school about this issue by going class to class and giving a presentation to educate her peers about sexual exploitation of youth and is working to raise $1000 for the work these organizations are doing through the community service club, which she chairs.
Ramon is passionate about the environment and, upon return from YEA Camp in 2011, launched an effort to install solar panels at his school. He has been collaborating with the Science Club and administration at his school to work toward this ambitious goal. He also got a new recycling program instituted at his school, where teachers now each have a recycling box in their room.
Clara provides such an example of what one person can do if they put their mind to it, regardless of their age. Clara started and runs Clara’s Cakes, a vegan bakery, that she launched with the support of her mom. After becoming vegan in 2009 at age 12, Clara felt it should be easier to find delicious vegan baked goods. After many months of research and kitchen experiments she took it upon herself to create her own delicious vegan delights — and we can vouch for these! She now runs Clara’s Cakes and can be found at her website, www.clarascakes.com. Clara’s presence at YEA Camp in 2011 inspired many other campers to take on new projects they may not have thought possible.
Emily D. in Redwood City, CA
Emily (right) is passionate about ending bullying in schools. After YEA Camp 2011, Emily set up a meeting with her principal to discuss ways to end bullying at school. She then spoke at a staff meeting and a PTA meeting to pitch an anti-bullying curriculum based on an activity that we did at camp. Working in collaboration with the principal and PTA, the school implemented an anti-bullying policy at her school and the bullying-awareness curriculum from camp, which is now being incorporated into a monthly program in each of the homerooms at her school. She is excited to work with other students to bring these programs to their schools.
In addition, after returning home from camp, Emily also pursued her passion for animal rights by compiling pictures and videos of animal cruelty on factory farms and slaughterhouses and editing them to the song “Make It Stop” by Rise Against. Emily also serves on her city’s Youth Advisory Board.
Diana created the White Privilege Awareness Club at her school and is creating a conference for youth to educate them about white privilege. She is in contact with the National White Privilege Conference and may have a chance to speak to the founder! She is also organizing speakers to come to her school to talk about privilege to educate her peers. She worked with the Multi-Cultural Club at her school to organize a Multi-Cultural Festival which was a huge success!
Joseph is passionate about animal rights and believes that the best way to help animals is to go vegetarian. He incorporates activism into his daily life by always having vegetarian leaflets on-hand to give to friends or classmates. Several of his friends have become vegetarian this year! He shares about vegetarian issues with his friends on Facebook as well. Joseph has also volunteered with several animal organisations to leaflet and table about animal issues at public events, especially Compassion Over Killing. Joseph is also a talented artist and creates thought-provoking t-shirt designs related to animal rights. You can make a difference by living by example, talking to people in your life about what you care about, and putting your talents to use to make a difference — Joseph is proof of that!
Right after YEA Camp, Brian went to his school cafeteria and requested (and got!) vegan options. There is now a vegetarian option every day at his school. Currently, he is involved with his school Green Team and the Go Green Foundation and is working to start a composting program on-site at his school and to get reusable permanent utensils to replace the disposable utensils they are currently using. They also created a bike/walk to school program that allows students to count biking and walking to school in their total “PE Hours” they are required to do, which gives students an incentive to not drive to school.
Check back soon for more inspiring profiles of our inspiring campers! Wouldn’t any young person want to spend a week with amazing youth like this, and wouldn’t any parent want that for their kid? You can register for YEA Camp here.