Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or our youth camps
Thanks for wondering!
Yes. YEA Camp is committed to social justice and diversity, and we have never turned an eager camper away due to lack of funds.
We are a nonprofit organization, so we rely on each family to pay what they can. Families who cannot afford the full tuition should apply for financial aid. To apply, the camper should fill out our Registration form, while the parent/guardian should fill out the Financial Aid form. We encourage potential campers applying for financial aid to fundraise toward their tuition, and we provide help for them to achieve their fundraising goal. Returning campers, with the benefit of a year of planning time, fundraising training at camp, and our camp community to support them in raising the needed funds, are not eligible for financial aid.
Well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that our policy is a pretty standard camp policy, and that we have found it to be a successful policy. The bad news is that some of you might hate us for what we're about to tell you.
We don't allow campers to have their cell phones at camp. We know that this can be hard for a lot of people, but we have our reasons! We understand that campers may be bringing their phone on their travels to camp, in which case we will collect them at check-in and keep them safe throughout the week. If you want to learn more about our rationale on this cell phone policy, see below.
Regarding other technological devices, you are welcome to bring a camera, but we ask that you not bring an ipod, video game player, laptop, or other technology that can keep you disconnected from the rest of camp. This also eliminates the risk of an expensive item going missing.
Want more details on our no cell-phone policy? Our reasoning is that:
- It can be a distraction to our group and to building the close community we create at YEA Camp.
- While it can be tempting to keep your phone and only have it "in an emergency" or for taking pictures, we have found it to be a little too tempting.
- Research shows that being in touch with friends and family at home increases homesickness.
- If you're having a hard time and feel like you want to call home/camp, we want to know about it so we can help and make sure you're having a great experience at YEA Camp.
- You only have a week at YEA Camp and we want you to get the most out of your experience. You will get your phone back at 11:00 on the last day of camp, and you can use it for the rest of your life -- or until you're back at school....
But don't worry.
If you really feel you need to call home/camp, you can. Our staff serve as an intermediary, meaning we will give parents our camp director's number to call or text if needed, and a camper can ask a staff member for a phone to call home if they really want to.
More good news:
We post hundreds of pictures of what we're doing at camp on our Facebook page throughout the week, so parents will have a sense of what we're up to, and of course we will call home in the very unlikely event of an emergency, or to let you know if we have a concern. We will also send an email update or two during the week.
Unless we have indicated that a session is full on our Dates and Tuition page, the session is open and we are still registering campers for that session.
YEA Camp currently has locations in Massachusetts, New York and California, but we have campers attend from all over the country (and sometimes from other countries, too!). All of our venues are in beautiful locations remote enough to feel secluded and in our own little paradise in nature, yet conveniently located less than 2 hours from a major city. See our locations and session dates here.
YEA Camp defines activism inclusively as “taking intentional action to help others.” By this definition, we say you qualify as an activist if you have recycled a can, rescued a stray dog, signed an online petition, donated to a charity, spoken up against a bully, or countless other things to make life better for others.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media typically only shows activists who have done something resulting in arrest (which they probably did because they knew that was the only way the media would cover the issue), which has colored many people’s views of activism.
YEA Camp absolutely does not advocate anything that could result in harm or arrest. There are countless amazing things we can all do everyday to make our world a better place without hurting anyone or risking our freedom to do more amazing things in the future.
If someone cares about the environment, yes, they could chain themselves to a building, but we think they’d be more effective by starting a recycling club at their school, passing out flyers, writing for their school newspaper, greening their school with solar panels or a composting program, carpooling, and countless other things to make a difference that not only don’t risk arrest but also look great on a college application. We do not know of a single YEA Camper who has gone on to do something they got arrested for, and if someone does/did, it will certainly not be because of anything we encouraged them to do.
YEA Camp’s curriculum follows a “popular education” style, meaning that rather than try to formally impart our views or knowledge on those less informed (the way school is typically set up), we have dialogue, ask questions, and encourage people to think critically and share their views. About halfway through camp, each camper chooses for themselves an Issue of Importance they want to focus primarily on.
YEA Camp gives campers opportunities to “share about what they care about” so that everyone can learn from one another. Everyone doesn’t always agree with one another on every issue, and that’s ok. We teach nonviolent communication and have an Honor Code our campers and staff hold the group to so that everyone is treated with respect, even if people disagree.
Having said this, our camp would be considered “progressive” in valuing human rights, environmental sustainability, and animal protection. Of course this looks different to different people, but we are not trying to force views onto anyone. Our core staff have worked professionally or volunteered on causes such as climate change, women’s rights, animal protection, racism and environmental justice, gay rights, immigrant rights, gun control, funding of education, and diplomatic means of resolving conflict. While nobody needs to agree on everything, youth whose views are totally out of alignment with these values would be a better fit at another camp.
OMG, YES!!! We promise you will have so much fun at YEA Camp! We do so much silly stuff — we make music and art, play goofy games, have about 2 hours a day of free time to spend as you’d like, and Camper Choice Night is usually the most fun night of people’s year. And campers make amazing friends here. Typically within the first 2 days of camp, campers start saying that they feel closer to the people at camp than they do to their friends at home. We promise you will have fun!
And, yet, having fun is not the point of YEA Camp. You can have fun at home watching Netflix, messing around on Instagram, or doing whatever it is that’s fun for you. While we’ll definitely have so much fun at YEA Camp, our time together is about training and supporting our campers to train the world. Which can be really fun too!
We have a Counselor-In-Training program for 18-20 year olds. See this page for more information about our CIT program and how to apply.
We allow 11-year old campers on a case-by-case basis. If your 11 year old would like to come to YEA Camp and you feel like it would be a great fit, register here. We will make a decision based on their application, perhaps also having a phone call to be sure, and get back to you within two weeks.
Our campers come to YEA Camp with a shared purpose to do good in the world, and that unites them as a community. Our curriculum is “differentiated,” meaning campers with varying levels of knowledge and experience can take it as far as they want. Think of it as a yoga class–we’ll be teaching the basic moves, but some of them can take that and put their leg behind their head and do a more advanced move! Our goal is to meet the campers where they are and move them forward.
Often the older campers work with and mentor the younger ones, though sometimes 12-year-olds have more activist experience than 17 year-olds, and the roles are reversed! We always have a range of campers within each age group, so there are always people there within each age and for each camper to connect with, if that is a concern. We are very mindful of how we place campers in cabins and keep their age in mind.
Our food is amazing and gets rave reviews from our campers (meat-eating and vegan alike)! YEA Camp is a camp for teens who care about social justice and want to bring about a more peaceful and sustainable world. The more we have learned about modern animal agriculture, the more we see these values compromised. (Visit ChooseVeg.com for more info on this.) While we are not seeking to “convert” anyone to a particular way of eating, we feel it would be hypocritical to serve standard camp food at a camp with such a big mission to move our world in a more peaceful and sustainable direction. Meanwhile, our food is delicious! Our cooks are typically personal vegan chefs who are happy to put aside their gourmet expertise to make kid-friendly camp food our campers love. Far healthier than the average camp or school’s food, our menu items are really pretty similar to what most kids eat at home or school — things like pancakes and French toast for breakfasts, burritos and veggie burgers for lunch,
Meanwhile, our food is delicious! Our cooks are typically personal gourmet vegan chefs who are happy to make kid-friendly camp food our campers love. Far healthier than the average camp or school’s food, our menu items are really pretty similar to what most kids eat at home, camp, or school — things like pancakes and French toast for breakfasts, burritos and veggie burgers for lunch, pasta and stir-fries for dinner, chocolate chip cookies or brownies for dessert. Yum, we’re making ourselves hungry over here! Check out more information about our food here.