By Rey Watson
This past summer I had the opportunity to enjoy one of the best experiences of my life. I attended YEA Camp, a camp for social change. The camp trains young people like myself to be more effective activists and help change the world for the better. But even though I read every detail of information posted on the website, I had no idea what I was getting into.
When I got to camp, I was scared to death. I didn’t know anyone. But soon, one of the counselors explained what was happening and I went and made my own name tag, community bio, and appreciation poster (which is still hanging on my wall)!
That afternoon, we played lots of name games and really got to know each other better. I got to meet the people I would be rooming with for the rest of camp, and even got my first taste of the amazing food at camp. But it wasn’t until the first workshop, Activism 101, that I really started to understand how life-changing this experience would be for me.
Throughout the week, I completed many different workshops that developed and refined my skills as an activist and advocate for social change. I also got to meet so many amazing, like-minded people. I had felt out of place at home, but at YEA Camp, I really felt like I belonged.
The supportive community throughout camp was probably one of the biggest confidence boosters of the whole experience. I finally understand that what I was trying to do was good, and that I should keep at it, no matter what other people thought, because I would always be supported by the people at YEA Camp.
After the week was over, I packed up my things and headed home after an amazing graduation ceremony and some heartfelt goodbyes. On the car ride home, I went through my messages and caught up on everything I had missed. But it wasn’t until I arrived home and was in my room later that night that I really started to dig in deep on my activism.
Since camp, I’ve had the confidence and skills to take on leadership positions in my community and in organizations I am a part of. I’ve presented to many people that I never thought I’d be able to talk to. And I’ve spread my message more effectively than I ever thought I could.
So thank you, YEA Camp and Nora, for making me a better activist and person.
Rey Watson is a passionate environmental and animal rights activist form New Jersey who is actively working to help stop the climate crisis and save animals. She also enjoys reading and writing as well as spending time with animals.
If you’re like Rey and want to become an activist on a cause you care about, join us at YEA Camp! Don’t want to wait til summer? Good — we need more changemakers now! Check out our free ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Changing the World for help getting started or taking your change-making to new heights!