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Sarah Martin

“I’ve worked with lots of teens in my career – and it’s rare to find a place in the teenage world where there’s just absolute and complete acceptance – room for everyone to be who they are, and to be accepted with open arms. There were no cliques, and the campers opened up and shared a lot about their personal hopes, fears, and aspirations.

I was rejuvenated, too, by the generosity of spirit and the creativity our campers exhibited on throwing an amazing party for the staff on the last night! We’d planned a fun night for them, and instead they took charge and capped camp off with a truly unforgettable dance party and dinner. I was continually impressed by the thoughtfulness, passion, and integrity of the campers – and look forward to seeing what changes they can now make in the world with the preparation and training from YEA Camp.”

“My sweet, young daughter Sarah attended YEA Camp when she was just 14. Since she was a young child she had always been so full of compassion for all living things and concerned about the future of our planet. I would worry that she would not find friends who were like-minded at that age.

Sarah flourished at YEA Camp. All the young kids shared the same concerns and were so full of love. These youths validated one another and YEA Camp offered them that platform. Sarah was a changed child. Her worry about the world turned to activism and the camp and her new friends were the catalyst.

Your YEA Camp expedited my daughter’s path in life towards kindness and compassion.
I am so proud of Sarah and so thankful for that summer that she learned that she wasn’t alone and that she could make a difference.”

 

Penny, mom of Sarah, now 17

“One of my primary observations as a founder of The Pollination Project is that we, as a society, we have greatly underestimated the power of young people to be change agents for social good. YEA Camp wisely recognizes their vast potential and creates the causes and conditions for it to blossom.”

 

“YEA Camp keeps me hopeful and inspired! Whenever I need a break from the news, which is often depressing and toxic, I check out YEA Camp [social media] to watch videos and read stories about young people working to make the world a better place for all…. We need YEA Camps in every state across the country!”

“YEA was amazing… I know I’ve said it over and over again, but this camp has truly changed my life. You have inspired me to do so much with my life and to make the world a truly better place… Because of you, I have been able to actually make a difference, even within only a few months.”

Bianca, 16, California

“I love being able to recommend YEA Camp for those who feel the call to change the world, be of service, and create a better life for all of Earth’s inhabitants. At Farm Sanctuary, we have long observed the powerful change that occurs when caring people join together and explore pathways to turn their compassion into action, and I’m thrilled this program exists to support people in doing just that.”

“YEA Camp is unique in its ability to nurture people with an activist or community vision and help them prepare for lives of purpose, effectiveness, and joy.”

Hillary Rettig, author of "The Lifelong Activist"

“I’ve seen from personal experience the huge difference YEA Camp makes, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a boost to get active making a bigger difference. Our communities need more people to go to YEA Camp.”

“YEA Camp is not only one of the most fun events ever created – it just might shift the course of history. The more people who participate in YEA Camp, the more hope we will have for our future.”

“I am a proud supporter of YEA Camp! I know that YEA Camp is an incredibly powerful and supportive environment for people of all ages who care about their world and want to be informed and empowered in making a difference!  With all that is going wrong in the world, it is so uplifting to be able to learn about solutions and how best to make a positive difference with the gift of our lives!”

 

Julia Butterfly Hill, world-renowned activist and best-selling author of "The Legacy of Luna" and "One Makes the Difference."

“My son has gone back to YEA Camp each year now, this year as a counselor-in-training. He has made life-long friends and, it’s safe to say, he is now headed down a different path — a very exciting one! — that he likely would have never known about had YEA Camp not opened the doors. I am so grateful to Nora, Pierce, Laura, Erin, and everyone else who has helped to shape my son’s life through YEA Camp.”

 

Amanda, mom of Jake, now 18, Missouri

“My son went to YEA Camp and it changed his life. He has a huge heart, but until YEA Camp, he didn’t have any idea that he could be a changemaker. Not only did he find his voice and gain real-world tools for activism and for building positive relationships, he also found himself in a place where he fits in with everyone around him. YEA Camp is nurturing and life-changing for kids.”

 

Kristen, mom of Drake, 15, North Carolina

“The sense of community at YEA Camp just sort of transcends everything. I really value it even today, staying in touch and building those relationships…. If it hadn’t been for YEA Camp,  I would not have been as effective or as organized of a leader for my Gay Straight Alliance. I was the president that year, and I definitely took a lot of skills from the YEA Camp trainings and workshops we did.”

 

Shelby, California -- a camper at 17, and then 3 summers on staff

“I would not have the confidence to go around school with my head held high and talk to staff about my IOI. After YEA Camp it made me refocus on what I am fighting for.”

Roberto, 15, North Carolina

“If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t be starting this club to help the homeless because I wouldn’t know how to, or what to do when I started it.”

 

Megan, 12, Massachusetts -- now 16,
Founder of Helping Hands for the Homeless and Hayhband

“I wouldn’t have been passionate enough to do any activism, but YEA Camp made me realize my passion and I’m so grateful for that.”

 

Maddie, 15, Colorado

“My daughter, Julianna attended YEA Camp 2 years ago. It was life changing for her.. and for me! She became vegan, found her passion and wants a future protecting animal rights. So proud of her. Nora, every time I hear you speak and hear what YEA Campers have learned, it brings tears to my eyes.”

Michelle, mom of Julianna, 12, California

“I always had the passion and the ability to come up with ideas, but it wasn’t until YEA Camp that I was able to fully harness that passion and put together my ideas to make an action plan worth completing.”

 

Leah, 16, Connecticut
Lamanh

“YEA Camp was truly one of the best things that’s ever happened in my life, not only as an activist, but also as a person of character and civic duty. The experience and lessons that I learned at YEA Camp are something that I’ll take with me wherever I go and plan to do. I’ve learned such an incredible amount. I love everything about YEA Camp!”

 

Lamanh, 16, California
Katy

“YEA Camp was a pivotal step in my activism. The work that I, my fellow campers, and our camp leaders did shaped the way I approach my IOI [issue of importance], human trafficking, today.  It also helped prepare me to articulate my passion and gave me confidence in the way I present myself as a youth who often faces ageism—a discouraging challenge. YEA Camp helped me hone my skills, develop my knowledge, and build my convictions, which I want to use in full force to help develop, foster, and encourage future YEA Campers. I call on the experiences I had and growth we did together at YEA Camp to make my work stronger and more powerful.”

 

Katy, 15, Oregon

“I just want to let you know that you all changed my life a couple summers ago. YEA Camp changed my focus in life and opened my mind to compassion and love for everyone. I have gotten into amazing colleges because I learned so much from everyone that one week in July many months ago and I couldn’t have done it without YEA Camp. College essays came easy to me because I could remember all the important memories from YEA Camp like it happened yesterday! Thank you to each and every one of you for shaping me into who I am today. I will never have such an incredible experience like it again!”

 

Ethan Lyne, class of 2019, Haverford College
Kakari

“I love everybody here. YEA Camp is like a safe haven for people who want to express themselves and be who they are.”

 

Kakari, 16, California

“Before YEA Camp, I truly didn’t know where to start or what to do… I honestly wouldn’t have done any of [the activism I’ve done] without YEA Camp.”

 

Joyce, 14, New Jersey

“This week has truly boosted my spirits and given me all that I need to make the world a better place. I’m not sure what I’d do if there weren’t people like you guys to support people like me and to restore my faith in humanity. Thanks so much — this week is one of the most valuable in my life.”

 

Jasmine, 14, Connecticut

“Before YEA Camp, I didn’t care one bit about politics. In fact, I hated everything about them. YEA Camp changed that. It taught me how important politics really are, and how I can play a role in them. Shortly after camp, I became an intern for Ron Barber’s congressional campaign in Arizona. I never would’ve done that before YEA Camp.”

 

Jake, 15, Missouri
Griffin
“I gained a ton of confidence, both in my activism skills and my value as a person. If you want to change anything anywhere in the world, come to YEA Camp.”
Griffin, 15, Oregon

“Thank you for helping me find my voice.”

Faith, 12, Texas
Brooke

“YEA Camp was so great…. I hope to enlighten others like YEA Camp has enlightened me.”

 

Brooke, 15, Oregon
Bernie

“I’m really passionate about the environment, and YEA Camp helped me do so much. I started a compost program at my school, and I’m screening the ‘Story of Stuff’ and ‘Cowspiracy’ this semester, and none of that would have been possible without YEA Camp. It’s changed my life so much, and I’m really grateful…. If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t be as kind and accepting as I hope I am.”

Bernie, 15, Oregon

“YEA Camp, to me, was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I got to spend the week with some of the most amazing people who want to change the world like I do. It was beautiful and inspiring, and I love that we had each other for support. I think that’s what a lot of youth need in order to show that they have power in making a difference.”

Watch Jia Hui’s video testimonial here.

 

Jia Hui, 15, California

“I’ve learned so much. [Before camp] when I looked at the civil rights movement, it was like, what can I do today? … Now I have a plan, instead of just going off the top of my head or going with the flow. I have a plan. I’m not unprepared for the world.”

 

Bema, 13, California
Ashley

“At YEA Camp I gained a ton of confidence. For me the most impactful part of YEA was the incredible people I got to meet. Both young and old everyone there was absolutely inspiring. I was able to learn from each and every one of them. I made some great friends and have people I can reach out to and continue to look up to, something I think everyone could use. The family feeling you develop with everyone during the week is unbelievable.”

Ashley, 15, Oregon

“Before camp I knew that I was passionate about making a difference in the world, that I wanted to change things and make the world a better place, but I had no clue where to start. At camp, we learned a lot about what I can do as a teenager and how I can inspire more people to do something like this…. It gives me the confidence and inspiration and community to do things that I never would do before camp, like starting an activism club, which is what I’m doing now.”

Watch Ananya’s video testimonial here, as well as a blog post she wrote about her activism here.

 

Ananya, 13, New Jersey
“I felt the YEA Camp experience offered Dorian a nurturing environment away from distractions. So much so that he felt a connection to the campers and leaders in just 8 days. He told me he felt he could say anything to his friends there more than he could to his own friends [at home].
I also think he learned resilience. He was bullied [at school the year after camp], yet he stuck with his sport even though it was his team member. He persevered and continues to do so.
I’ve never seen him want to get back to anything more than YEA Camp.”
Lisa, mom of Dorian, 13, New Jersey

“YEA Camp is a giant hug for teens that teaches them the skills to be more confident, stand up for their beliefs, get involved, and be heard!  All the years of Girl Scout Camp my daughter attended never made an impact on her life that just one week at YEA Camp did! AMAZING CAMP!!!!!!! She can’t wait to go back to YEA Camp this summer!

I just love the people behind YEA Camp. They are making a difference and they are incredible people. It gives me warm fuzzies knowing YEA Camp exists and provides a place for teens that need to be around others like them, being accepted for who they are, and giving them the skills and confidence to change the world!”

Kristie, mom of Hannah, 15, Arizona