Yesterday was our first day of YEA Camp California, and it went so great! We have 28 campers, all from different parts of California except for 2 who flew in from Massachusetts and Kansas! Our amazing staff of 13 is coming from California, Oregon, Colorado, and Florida. Right from the start, the campers were very excited and outgoing (a lot less nervous than usual for the first day!) to be here and jumped right into making new friends and participating in activities.
Campers created name tags, journals, community bios about their issues of importance, and appreciation posters for each other. We spent the day getting to know everyone a little better, playing name games, and finding out why people came to camp.
We went over our plans for the week and the main intention of YEA Camp — for people to get active in their community on an issue of importance to them, and to develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and community that will be keys to their success for their future as a change-maker. Campers all took some time to set goals for themselves, which we displayed anonymously around the room for people to be inspired by and help make happen for one another and themselves. Campers this session are very thoughtful and committed to making our world better. These are some of the most amazing teenagers on the planet, and they restore our faith in our future!
We had our first workshop, called Compassion Into Action (CIA), which looks at things we can do in our daily lives to make a difference. For this CIA, we looked at the impact of our food choices as a context for why the food we are eating at camp might be different than what some people might be used to at home. We watched The Meatrix and discussed how at camp we strive to eat food that aligns with the values of many of us at YEA Camp who care about animals, the environment, health, labor, world hunger, and human rights issues.
After a delicious pasta dinner — and amazing vegan chocolate cupcakes for dessert! — we walked up the hill to the stunning Casa de Luz, where campers and staff shared a meaningful item we each brought from home, such as things that reminded them of friends or family, or why they are passionate about fighting against injustice present in the world. Many campers shared that after spending only one day at YEA Camp, they already felt like they were in the right place where everyone is treated equally and in a safe and open community. They were hopeful about establishing many lasting friendships and excited for the week ahead.
We can already tell this is going to be a great session! Check back here and on our Facebook page for more updates!