We Asked Our Campers to Finish This Sentence

For over a decade, YEA Camp has been training aspiring activists to make a bigger difference in the world. At this time of year, when we are fundraising in order to be able to continue doing this work, we asked some of our campers and staff to reflect on what difference YEA Camp really made for them. What difference would it have made if they hadn’t attended YEA Camp?

We’re inspired to share these responses with you and hope you will keep them in mind as we reach out to our community to ask for the financial support to be able to continue offering YEA Camp for everyone who wants to attend. All donations made until the end of the year will be tripled by two generous donors!

If Not for YEA Camp…

YEA Camper Sarah Goody has become a leading activist in the national #climatestrike campaign, having led strikes in the Bay Area for more than 20 weeks! Sarah said “If not for YEA Camp, I would not have the courage and confidence to take action. YEA Camp provided me with the fundamentals of activism that were crucial to getting me to where I am today. YEA Camp changed the way I saw the world.” (OK, we can retire now!)

Now that YEA Camp runs camps for adults, we are thrilled to be able to make an impact for folks 18 and up! Juan Antonio Nelson, a college student who attended YEA Camp for Adults last year, said: “Without YEA Camp, I wouldn’t feel that I could make a difference in my immediate community. I wouldn’t have the courage to stand up for others. If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t have met a strong community of activists who are passionately advocating for what they believe in. I wouldn’t have had the courage to organize a film screening with my fraternity that speaks about toxic masculinity. I wouldn’t have had the courage to organize an open dialogue/forum with other males on my college campus to speak about masculinity and what we can do to solve the problem.” We need more Juan Antonios!

Hannah Rosenberg was a camper as a 17-year-old and this summer returned as a college student 2 years later to be one of our assistant chefs. We love having former campers join us on staff! Hannah said “If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t realize the potential every single person has to make a difference. I now have an improved confidence to take action and to be an outspoken example for the changes I wish to see in the world.”

Elise Buellesbach has been on fire since attending YEA Camp this summer, meeting with her Congressional representatives and advocating for stronger requirements for food labeling, which are extra important for people like her with serious food allergies — a topic she educated us all about at YEA Camp this summer! Elise said “If not for YEA Camp, I would not have been reminded of the other people who are also passionately working for change on a daily basis, as well as felt inspired to continue to work for a better tomorrow.”

Fifteen-year-old Esmee Halsted came all the way from Colorado to our camp in Massachusetts last year, and we’re so glad she did! “If not for YEA Camp, I don’t think I would have realized my full potential. The incredibly supportive people and environment at YEA Camp was the first time I ever felt comfortable being 100% myself. I guess you could say it was the first time I was ‘loud and proud.’ I was never judged, always included, and free to communicate in the way that is uniquely me.”

Another participant at our YEA Camp for Adults last year, Brianna Quezada told us that “If not for YEA Camp, I would not be aware of most of the problems that don’t directly affect me and the different things I can do to not only raise awareness, but to also implement changes.”  We love that so many adults have gotten similar value from attending YEA Camp for Adults as our teen campers have! YEA Camp’s curriculum focuses on developing knowledge, skills, confidence, and community, and most people regardless of age, unfortunately, haven’t learned these things in school, college, or elsewhere, which is why we started YEA Camp for Adults in the first place!

Danielle Holtz was a camper at age 17 and in the 5 years since then, she has held just about every role we have and even other ones that we created just for her or that she created herself! She’s been a counselor-in-training, counselor, Operations Manager, blog editor, intern, Youth Advisory Board member, and founder of the youth fundraising and publicity teams.

Danielle says that “If not for YEA Camp, I wouldn’t understand the issues that are so important to changing society, nor would I have met many of my best friends.” We at YEA Camp don’t want to contemplate the question “If not for Danielle.”

YEA Camp has the most amazing staff, and we love that they get a lot of value from their experience as well! (We’ll start hiring after the new year, if you’re interested!) One of our awesome chefs from this past summer, Shira Golan, shared that if not for YEA Camp, “I wouldn’t have met such amazing, likeminded and passionate people and probably would never have learned to cut correctly (thanks Jeri :)” Ha ha! We are glad Shira learned a lot at YEA Camp — we sure enjoyed her cooking!

Now 18-year-old Lily Unverzagt, who is an advocate for access to mental health services and equality and positivity for the LGBTQ community, told us that “If not for YEA Camp, I would have given up on myself and others, so thank you YEA Camp for everything you have done for me and all my fellow campers.”

How inspiring are these stories?! They motivate us to keep at it and continue to make YEA Camp the most effective program we can and available to as many people as possible. 

Help us Bring YEA Camp to More Activists

Now through the end of the year, you can help us impact even more lives through the YEA Camp scholarship fund. Last year, 51 of our 100 campers were on some form of financial aid, and 17 of them were on a full scholarship. At YEA Camp, we stand by our values of accessibility and want to make sure that anyone who wants to be at camp can be at camp. We can only do that with your help, though.

We are thrilled that when you make a tax-deductible contribution to YEA Camp between now and the end of the year, your donation will be TRIPLED thanks to the generous support of two of our most committed donors. To donate, just go to YEACamp.org/donate and the donation will automatically be matched! We are so grateful for your support.

Join us at YEA Camp

Do you want to experience YEA Camp for yourself next summer, or know someone who would love to join us?

We recently announced our 2020 dates with an Early Bird special registration for $250 off those who sign up before the end of the year. Do you know someone who would be great for YEA Camp? Nominate them here!

  • Youth Camp: in Ventura, California (July 5 – 12) and Charlton, Massachusetts (August 1 – 8)
  • Adult Camp: in Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey (July 18 – 24)

Every year at YEA Camp, we have the privilege of meeting passionate and activated changemakers who are taking the world by storm. We feel so grateful to be a part of their story and look forward to supporting you in making a bigger difference on the causes you care most about, too!