Tell Me More
WTF, er… we mean WHAT THE HECK?
If you’re anything like us, you wonder that a lot.
You might have noticed that we have a few problems in our world.
OK. A LOT of problems.
Why are scientists warning us about climate change, yet our government mostly ignores it?
When will all people by treated equally and fairly, no matter their skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or income?
How are animals being mistreated so cruelly and even going extinct, and yet many people don’t seem to care?
These are huge questions with complex answers, but the most important question of all, which we spend a week answering at YEA Camp is:
What can YOU do about it?
YEA Camp is a summer camp for social change. What that means is that we exist to help you change the world to be more fair and equal. Plus, it’s camp, which means we have a ridiculously fun time doing it.
How do we do it?
YEA Camp’s curriculum is based on building knowledge, skills, confidence, and community.
Promoting fairness and equality in society
Taking intentional action to help others, with an eye for the big picture; purposefully trying to bring about a change to benefit society
Seeing what there is to do and doing it, putting aside excuses and doubts that might get in the way
A life-changing opportunity to focus on your passions, make incredible like-minded friends, have so much fun, and challenge and reinvent yourself
WHAT WE DO
Each day of YEA Camp is a combination of inspiring interactive workshops, silly traditional camp games, chill time, and some unforgettable community-building activities that will make you feel closer to a group of people than you’ve ever felt before.
About halfway through camp, you’ll choose your IOI -- your issue of importance -- that you want to focus on to make a difference, and by the end of camp you’ll leave with a plan to do it and a bunch of awesome friends to cheer you on.
Why do we even have all the problems we do in the first place?
What can we as a society do about them?
What can you personally do?
Without this information, it's tough to move forward and make a difference.
We'll help you understand some of the biggest issues in our society, but mostly we will give you opportunities to "share about what you care about" so you can educate other people while also getting practice communicating about what's important to you.
There are some key skills that our team feels will really help you be more effective as a changemaker, no matter what issues you are most passionate about. Skills like:
- Communication: How do you talk to people confidently about an issue you care about -- especially if they disagree? Learn nonviolent communication and persuasive techniques to help you listen better and say what you mean without being mean.
Arts Activism: Use your creativity through music, visual art, video, spoken word poetry, or more, to inspire people to make a difference
Campaign Planning: Whether it's improving the food in your cafeteria, addressing bullying at your school, or trying to change a law, some of the basics of how to get started are the same. Learn how to go about making change on something you care about.
Social Media: Tips for using amazing online tools to raise awareness and cause change
School Clubs: Leave camp knowing how to start, run, or contribute to a school club that actually makes a difference
Fundraising: Raise money to support causes and projects you care about
Grassroots Outreach: Spreading the word to others in your community
With a lifetime worth of tools in your toolkit, you will be ready to make a difference on any cause for years to come.
The fact that you care so much about making a difference is amazing and something you should feel so much pride in. Unfortunately, though, a lot of us deal with rude comments, haters, or self doubts that make it scary to be ourselves and speak up about what's important. If we don't believe in ourselves, all the knowledge and skills in the world won't matter.
We're out to change that at YEA Camp, so that by the end of YEA Camp, you:
Own who you are, what you care about, and what you believe in
Believe in yourself and not get demoralized by mean things others (or you yourself!) may sometimes say or think
Fit in better socially with any group you’re in or person you’re with, without having to pretend to be someone you're not
Recognize your gifts and value, and see that you are someone important in our movement for a better world
Expand your comfort zone and then go outside it
Some of our campers tell us they don't know anyone else at their school who cares as much as they do about a certain cause. It's hard enough to change the world if you feel like you're the only one doing anything! Well, guess what: you're not.
At YEA Camp you will:
Meet lots of other people who care as much as you do about making a difference
Make friends who accept and appreciate you for who you are
Feel a stronger sense of belonging than you probably ever have before
Get connected to organizations working on causes you care about
Know you are not alone and that your friends from YEA Camp have your back even once you’re home
WHO COMES TO YEA CAMP?
Only the most amazing teenagers on the planet. Seriously.
YEA Campers are ages 12-17 who know they want to help people, animals, or our planet.
They come from a wide range of backgrounds and from all over the country. Some have already started school clubs, volunteered with community organizations, or been featured in the media, while others haven’t done anything like that and are just wanting to learn how to get started.
YEA Camp is designed to help anyone interested in making a difference on a social justice issue move in the direction of having an even bigger impact, whether they’re starting from 0 or 100.
About halfway through camp we ask our campers to choose their Issue of Importance (IOI) to make a difference on when they go home. Common causes they choose to address are animal rights, bullying, the environment, gay rights, homelessness, racism, women’s rights, and more.
Our campers learn from, inspire, support, and love each other.
They are also passionate about other things, like music, art, reading, sports, social media, video games, and other “regular” things. The one thing they all have in common is their commitment to making our world a better place.
And, so, yeah, that makes them some of the most amazing teenagers on the planet. And for one week they are all ours!
Have we mentioned our staff?
The staff at YEA Camp are not your typical summer camp counselors.
They are teachers or run nonprofits, they are social workers or wildlife rehabilitators, they run music schools or theater programs.
They have been working for years on the social causes you care about, and they are here to make sure that you not only are safe, having an amazing time, and making great friends, but also to help you create a plan to make a difference in a way that inspires you.
They’ll be leading workshops on things they wish they knew when they were your age, and they’ll be there to listen when you share your questions, concerns, and even fears. Cuz we've all had them.
They’ll play ridiculous games, make music with you, and dance crazy with you at the dance party. Or sit and chat one on one if that's what you're wanting.
They’ll even help you get up in the morning without being (too) annoying.
Learn more about our amazing staff at our Staff Bios page.
SAMPLE DAY SCHEDULE
7:15 - 8:00
8:15 - 9:00
9:00 - 10:30
10:30 - 11:00
11:00 - 12:30
12:30 - 1:15
1:15 - 2:15
2:15 - 3:15
3:15 - 3:45
3:45 - 4:45
4:45 - 5:15
5:15 - 6:30
6:30 - 7:15
7:15 - 8:15
8:15 - 9:45
9:45 - 10:00
Wake up (Campers choose between 2 times
Breakfast - banana pancakes, yum!
Hike, workshop, or discussion
Snack and break or game
Free Time: Campers can organize activities or just hang out
Workshop or Discussion
Compassion Into Action (CIA) – activism through daily choices
Workshop and discussion
Evening Activity, such as the YEA Show or Show Off and Tell
Cabin and bed time – Showers, winding down and quiet time in cabin
Each day packs in so much, and yet it will fly by! You’ll be ready for a good night's sleep….
WHERE WE SLEEP - Accommodations
Each of our camp venues is in a beautiful location with gorgeous hiking trails and cute, clean, comfy cabins. Depending on the location, each cabin sleeps between 4-12 people, with at least one staff member in each for supervision. Each of our venues is a little different, but we make sure they all feel like the perfect space for the life-changing experience of YEA Camp.
At YEA Camp, you’ll be bunking in style. Not to brag, but there are regular indoor bathrooms (woohoo), electricity (aw yeah), and bunk beds that are perfect for nighttime story-telling with your neighbors. (Whisper, please.)
You can learn more about each location when you click on the session you want to attend.
Campers are assigned to cabins based on their age and gender identity.
A: We thought you might ask that.
Well, here’s the thing. You *could,* but we don’t recommend it. We’ve found that campers who come with a friend from home usually want to spend a lot of time with that friend - at meals, in activities, in the cabin. We get it, your friend is awesome! But if you’re doing that you don’t make as much effort to make new friends. Other people might be less likely to approach you too, if you’re always with your besty from home. This is a chance of a lifetime to make new activist-minded friends, and we don’t want you to miss it. So we will say yes if you insist but we really don’t recommend it.
We typically have 2 wake-up times, one at 7 or 7:15 for early risers who want to shower or exercise or just get up early, and one at 8 for those who don't want to drag themselves out of bed til the last minute. (We understand.)
Usually a staff member will offer an optional early morning activity, like running or yoga for those who want it.
A: We’ll send you our packing list that’s in our welcome packet once you register, and that will have all the details!
One of the most common compliments that we get about YEA Camp is our food. And we admit it, they’re right! Our food is amazing! And our food is important.
DID YOU KNOW..?
Our food choices are one of the single most impactful decisions each of us makes each day. The simple choice of what to eat has big impacts on animals, the environment, and our own health. Research shows that if more people ate vegan, it would have huge benefits in our society.
We feel it would be hypocritical to work towards sustainability, well-being, and nonviolence while serving food that undermines all of these.
So at YEA Camp we are proud to serve food that is mostly organic, vegan, and fair-trade, with local produce where possible. We love showing that food can be all of these things AND be delicious!
This mean that we are doing good by eating well, and it also gives us a chance to practice living more sustainably during our time together.
OK, OK, so what do we eat?
THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY!
At breakfast we always have fresh fruit or fruit salad, cereal and soy or almond milk, and juice or tea. Some of our breakfast menu items include:
- Pancakes (we don’t recommend drenching it like this person did, but up to you!)
- French toast
- Hash browns or home fries
- Breakfast burrito
- Tofu scramble
- Cinnamon buns or muffins
- Bagels with Tofutti cream cheese, Earth Balance margarine, or PB&J
Lunch always includes a salad and a side like macaroni salad or French fries, and the option of PB&J or leftovers from a previous meal. Served with juice, iced tea, or lemonade. Sample menu items include:
- Teriyaki rice bowls
- Barbecue tofu
- Veggie burgers
- Sloppy Joe’s
- Tofurky sandwiches
All this world-changing is making us hungry!
YEA Camp serves two snacks a day — one about halfway between breakfast and lunch, and another around midway between lunch and dinner. Some popular ones are:
- Fresh fruit (organic and local when possible)
- Pretzels or chips
- Freshly popped popcorn
- Chips and salsa
- Baby carrots with hummus
- Yummy leftovers
Dinner always includes a salad and a side like garlic bread or grilled vegetables, and the option of leftovers or PB&J; with juice, iced tea, or lemonade.
- Taco bar
- Veggie curry with coconut rice
- Stuffed shells
- Indian food
Don’t forget DESSERT!
YEA Camp’s food is way healthier than most camps’ or schools’ food, but it’s still camp and you gotta live a little!
Some of the incredible desserts our amazing chefs may be preparing:
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Ice cream sundaes
- Cinnamon rolls
- Rice Krispie treats
- Cake (especially if it’s someone’s birthday!! Then it’s accompanied by our special YEA Camp birthday song 🙂
In conclusion, our food is amazing! We know you will love it. And it is prepared with love.
No worries, our menu is designed with you in mind! We get overwhelmingly positive reviews of our food from people who didn’t even know what the word “vegan” meant before camp. Our food is similar to what you would eat at a “regular” camp -- just the vegan (healthier, more sustainable, and more compassionate) version.
We will no more try to “convert” you to change your diet at home than we will try to get you to recycle at home. Which is to say that these are both really impactful things you can do to make a difference (actually, eating vegan makes a way bigger difference than recycling), and we hope you’ll do both as much as you can, but we aren’t here to tell you what to do. That’s for you to figure out and decide for yourself. And we love you no matter what.
A: Yes! Our excellent chefs go out of their way to accommodate people with allergies. Gluten-free, soy free, nut-free or other variations of our meals are placed out as alternatives for each meal, depending on what allergies are reported. We are not a nut-free camp.
Please let us know of any allergies when you register so that we can prepare ahead of time and make sure that we can accommodate you.
If you are concerned about a potentially life-threatening allergy, please contact us so that we can discuss your needs.
Ha, we wouldn't blame you, but actually, no. You do need to want to make a difference on a cause when you go home. Consider the amazing food to be your reward for spending your days at YEA Camp learning to make our world a better place.