Either way, YEA Camp is all about helping people move forward from wherever they are to make a bigger difference on a cause they care about.
A lot of our campers say that YEA Camp was the first place they ever met friends who care as much about making a difference as they do.
If you are a teenager considering attending camp, as long as you really care about wanting to make a difference, YEA Camp is the perfect place for you. And you’ll get to bond with some of the nicest, most inspiring, and supportive like-minded new friends ever.
So who goes to YEA Camp? Learn more about some of our awesome campers below!
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 W. in Walnut Creek, CA
Chris is passionate about animal rights 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 next 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.’ “
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, and asked 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 14 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, Clayton has gotten involved on an issue he cares about deeply: halting climate change. He spoke out at a hearing about shutting down Oregon’s coal-fired power plant and 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 for 2 summers and then was a counselor in training the next two summers! Her main issue of importance is human trafficking, and she has been very involved with the organizations Stop Child Trafficking Now (SCT) and the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC).
Tegan has spread the word at school about this issue by going class to class and giving a presentation to educate her peers. She has done fundraisers for SCT through a class she organized to raise money and awareness about this issue, and helped inspire others to get involved 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 is 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, which 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 inspired many other campers to take on new projects they may not have thought possible.
Emily D. from Redwood City, CA
Emily (right) is passionate about ending bullying in schools. After YEA Camp, 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 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 organizations 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.
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 to meet more amazing teens this summer!