The staff at Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp is not your typical cast of camp counselors. Our team is composed of folks with teaching credentials, Master’s degrees, and expertise in youth development, as well as specialized and creative fields such as arts activism, grassroots outreach, changing laws, fundraising, yoga, anti-racism, animal protection, gay rights, food justice, and more, plus many years of experience both as peaceful activists for various causes and as educators.
Nora Kramer, Founder, Executive Director
Nora Kramer has worked as an educator and activist since 2001, teaching high school English, environmental education, at after-school programs, and — of course — working at camps, as well as working on numerous campaigns in many capacities for various social justice issues that she cares about deeply.
Nora’s activism has included grassroots outreach, event planning, developing websites, writing brochures, speaking at conferences, coordinating volunteers, phone banking, and more. Nora successfully coordinated the Bay Area’s signature-gathering efforts for the campaign to pass precedent-setting Proposition 2, an initiative sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States to address inhumane farming practices, and then did it again in Cleveland, coordinating the signature-gathering in northern Ohio for a similar initiative two years later. During the school year, in addition to her work for YEA, Nora is the Youth Outreach Coordinator for Mercy For Animals, which advocates to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote compassionate food choices and policies.
Nora has combined her interest in activism and social change with her passion for working with youth through teaching at after-school programs, running a humane-education organization, mentoring school environmental clubs, working with students to get healthier options in the school lunch program, and teaching 9th and 10th grade English. Nora received her teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and has worked at several camps over the years, as a camp director and senior staff. She has training from the Institute For Humane Education, completed the intensive Basic Camp Director Course through the American Camp Association, and was certified in nonviolent conflict resolution with youth through the Help Increase the Peace program.
Recognizing the passion and power teens have to bring about a more just world, and the opportunity to support them through an intensive and unique summer program, Nora developed the curriculum for YEA and founded the camp in 2009.
Laura Carver, M.Ed, Assistant Director
Laura has been an activist since age 14 and has been an educator for over 15 years. In college, she majored in Environmental Education at Oregon State University while teaching at various youth programs including outdoor school, nature centers, YMCA camps, and the Boys and Girls club.
After college, she pursued her passion for making a difference by working for several nonprofits including the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) in Connecticut, a non-profit organization that organizes students around the country on issues of the environment and consumer advocacy, Farm Sanctuary, the premier national organization working on behalf of animals raised for food, and the Tompkins County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the national leader for the no-kill animal shelter movement.
In 2006 she obtained her Masters in Education from Portland State University and a teaching license in middle and high school science and math. Laura was a teacher with Portland Public Schools for four years before joining YEA Camp full time.
As a mother of two, she hopes to use her experience and love of working with young people to inspire the next generation to make a difference in the world. Laura is passionate about addressing the climate crisis and is currently serving as the volunteer Regional Coordinator for the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) for the Pacific Northwest, supporting CCL group leaders in OR, WA, ID, MT, AK and HI. She participates in the Salem CCL chapter. Laura is the Assistant Director for YEA Camp, and is responsible for its year-round operations. She has worked at 10 sessions of YEA Camp and will be at all 2014 sessions. She currently lives in Salem, OR.
Amy Foell has been an activist since her youth. As a child she collected trash along the road near her home and encouraged neighborhood friends to do the same. In adulthood she co-founded a violence prevention program in Baltimore City for teens targeting gang violence. She organized Baltimore’s first 5K Race For Peace and Non-Violence. As an active member of the LGBT Community she facilitated coming out groups and registered people to vote. Amy has been supportive of many female driven issues such as The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and Pro-Choice initiatives.
Upon moving to the west coast she became involved in Grassroots Campaigns and Election Protection. Most recently Amy worked on Marianne Williamson’s congressional campaign and developed a petition for around the marriage penalty for people with disabilities. Her mantra is education, awareness and action. Amy has a Master’s in Teaching and Bachelors in Social Science from Towson University. She also holds a certificate in Television Writing from UCLA. Amy is a freelance artist, educator and thinker living in Los Angeles.
Asa Needle is the Coordinator of Outreach and Education at the Worcester Roots Project, an intersectional non-profit that promotes coop businesses, youth empowerment programs, and environmental justice. Asa has facilitated workshops and trainings around the region with the Toxic Soil Busters, a youth-led program that works with lead soil. He works with numerous community, outreach, and advocacy organizations including the Solidarity and Green Economy Alliance, Co-op Power, and Stone Soup Community Center. He was one of the 2012 winners of the national Brower Youth Awards for Outstanding Youth Leadership.
Brian became involved in activism and social justice in 2007 after discovering a Vegan Outreach brochure at Sacramento State, where he was studying music and philosophy. He went vegetarian immediately and within a few months was a major volunteer in the northern California area for VO scheduling college, high school and concert leafletings and attending protests for other animal rights related issues.
Brian moved to Boston in 2008 to take the position of New England Outreach Coordinator for vegan Outreach. In 2009 he returned to California and became the Nor Cal Outreach Coordinator, a position he still holds today. His work is focused mainly on leafleting and one-on-one discussions with college and high school students at colleges, but he also presents to high school and college classes about factory farming and to local activist groups about the work of Vegan Outreach. As of December 2012 he has visited over 300 high schools and colleges in 14 states and has handed out over 400,000 brochures on factory farming.
Before his work with Vegan Outreach Brian was a music instructor for two summers at Cazadero Performing Arts camp in California. He also taught private music lessons for a number of years and continues to do photography for high school and middle school music events throughout the nation.
Clare Wildhack-Nolan hales from the fair state of Indiana, where she grew up in a family dedicated to social justice, multiculturalism, art, and education. Her grandfather was the state’s lawyer for the NAACP, and her parents ran a small school for the children of farmers, being paid in milk and eggs, when she was little. She has continued in their footsteps by dedicating the last 18 years to the study and practice of youth empowerment and social justice education. She graduated from Antioch College, in Ohio, and then went on to work in a youth leadership development organization in Chicago, Illinois, as well as alternative and charter schools. She then returned home to Indianapolis, IN to bring her skills to her local community,where she taught High School, Social Studies/ Humanities for the past 7 years. She currently works back in the non-profit world, at the Peace Learning Center, as a Youth Program Facilitator. In her personal life she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling (16 countries so far), speaking Spanish, riding her bike, and crafting. She looks forward to meeting new amazing people of all ages who share her passion for spreading love and justice in the world, being in nature, and practicing her Ukulele with all of the YEA community!
Leanne Alaman has an extensive background supporting youth to empower themselves and find fun, freedom and passion. She facilitated art classes with homeless youth at Drawbridge Expressive Arts, was head Art Instructor at UC Berkeley’s Explorer Camp, supported the success of the Landmark Forum for Teens and The Landmark Forum for Young people, and most recently worked as a mentor for former foster youth with mental illnesses at the Fred Finch Youth Center. Leanne is starting an MA program at Gaia University in Integrative EcoSocial Design with a focus on Education, specifically inventing a revolutionary new structure/curriculum for American schools that will improve graduation rates and leave youth confident, passionate, and compassionate global citizens.
Somewhere at the intersection of art, education, and activism is where Marietta finds her home. As a language arts teacher at Pleasant Hill High School in rural Oregon, she has co-directed the Impact Festival (a conference on generational poverty), advised the GSA, and directed the community service club. Via a twisty-windy path through Peace Corps Cameroon (1995-1997), owning a bookstore (1999-2004), founding and directing the Eugene Poetry Slam (2000-2004), playing roller derby (2007-2012), and being a musician (always), Marietta is dedicated to working with young folks to cultivate empathy and fight for social justice.
Mary Beth King
Mary Beth majored in Sociology with minor in Theater and Women Studies. She has a passion for youth and activism, and YEA Camp brings these passions together. As a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, she attended camps as a child, worked on staff several summers and directed Girl Scout camps for 9 years. Empowering young women to be themselves, make friends, and find their inner strength is what led her to running camps, the same thing she received by attending them. She believes there is no place like summer camp, and only when you experience it, can you truly feel the “magic”. She also trains and teaches kids yoga, has volunteered as a big sister through Big Brothers and Big Sisters and facilitates the youth program at the annual World Peace Yoga Jubilee.
Currently Mary Beth works for Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati, a social justice non-profit raising funds and awareness for its member groups. She also owns a vegan bakery, Sweet Peace Bakery, an avenue for her to bring her vegan activism to people via sweet treats. Her volunteer activities include coordinating the auction for the HRC Gala, and participating in Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals.
Michael is one of the amazing YEA Camp chefs, providing us with three incredible meals a day. Originally from Dayton Ohio, Mike spent most of his life in in the Bay Area (Oakland, San Francisco). He enjoys writing, being a personal trainer, and really enjoys cooking. This will be his second year with Yea Camp, and he’s really looking forward to it. Mike says, “Last year I was so blown away with the work I saw kids put into making the planet a better place that I had no choice but to get on board. This camp is like no other camp I’ve worked at. The staff really care about the work that they are doing, and the kids are just as passionate. I have the honor of being one of the cooks on this voyage, so kids– be prepared to be spoiled!”
Monica Carr holds a BA in non-fiction writing and journalism from Hunter College of the City University of New York. There, she participated with various student clubs, organizations and campaigns including the Hunter V-day Team for four consecutive years, including her leadership role as co-director in the 2012 production of “The Vagina Monologues,” has served as the secretary of Hunter’s Women’s Rights Coalition for six continuous semesters and volunteered with the International Action Center in phone banking, advertising and organizing the annual May Day protests in NYC for workers’ and immigrant rights. Monica has worked with a non-profit called Girls Write Now, which serves to foster relationships between professional women writers and inner-city high school girls. Her passion for youth empowerment stems from her counselor position at Lead for Diversity, a weeklong program for high school students, where she facilitates large and small group workshops addressing issues of bigotry and prejudice. Some of her most recent ventures have been exploring sustainable modes of living, intentional communities and permaculture farming. Monica works as the Vegan Support Analyst for the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a national nonprofit organization working to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism.
Monica Chen studied environmental education and public policy as an undergrad at UC Berkeley. While a student she was involved in many organizations related to social and environmental justice and was President of the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy. For the past two years, she has been teaching third grade at a Bureau of Indian Education school on the Navajo Reservation near Gallup, New Mexico. She’s an avid traveler and has recently revamped her Settlers of Catan strategy.
Pierce Delahunt is a Solutionary School Steering Committee member and Master’s student at Institute for Humane Education. He has taught after-school and tutored since high school. He has a BA in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. He became interested in different approaches to education after attending both Trinity and Saint Ann’s high schools. He spent a gap year traveling North America, learning how to relate to various cultures. During the school year, he performs in NYC schools with Family Life Theatre, a theater troupe for social change and fundraises for Opening Act NYC, a non-profit that offers free after-school theater education. During the summer, he staffs with CISV, a camp for global friendship, and YEA Camp.
Rachel’s singing career began at the age of seven with the New York City Opera Children’s Chorus. For ten years she performed solo and ensemble roles with the company, while also collaborating on CD recordings such as The Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories, and with Paul Simon on his demo, The Capeman. She continued her studies at a performing arts high school and college, and performed for six years with the young artist program, Seagle Music Colony, and toured with their Educational Outreach Program to bring children’s opera to the community.
She began holding private voice lessons as a freshman in college through the Community Music Program, which later blossomed to include varied elements such as combining music with social services, therapeutic healing for children and teens, the development of personal and emotional growth through music, all of which has culminated in the opening I Can Jam Studios. In addition to I Can Jam Studios LLC, Rachel currently accepted the postion as Director of Colorado Arts Center Inc, a non profit which houses small businesses and proprietors of every facet of the fine arts, set in the Arts District on Santa Fe.
Stanley Lai is a Taiwanese activist working to limit human-induced climate change to an ecologically sustainable level. He is also a graduate student, majoring in Technology Innovation & Intellectual Property Management in National ChengChi University in Taiwan. Now he works with the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition for youth empowerment and Engagement. He cooperated with international youths in the constituency No.9 Youth NGO (YOUNGO) under United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to advocate for future generations in Conference of Party (COP) during 2012~2013. With a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, he hopes to start a social enterprise to keep working on climate change issue after he graduates.
Shelby has always wanted to make a difference but last summer as a camper at YEA Camp, the forces of the universe really confirmed that activism is her true calling. She’s so excited to be returning as a Counselor in Training! She just graduated from her high school in Los Angeles and will be going to Smith College in the fall. She has been the co-president of her GSA for two years and is a strong voice for queer representation at her school. In addition, she has invested a lot of time into coordinating inter-school GSA events and creating a local network. She has also been leading a small club called Animal Allies for three years. Her main passions are animal rights, the environment, and queer rights, but she loves learning about and showing up for all issues of peace and equality (because they’re all connected)! She’s known at school as the rainbow-sock-wearing, reusable-plate-bringing, poster-taping, hiking-boots-wearing, optimist-kid.
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