YEA Camp Celebrates Success with First Ever Volunteer-a-Thon

Since YEA Camp was founded in 2009, we’ve been fortunate to work with some seriously talented young people (and, since 2018, seriously talented adults)! We are so proud when former campers write us, sharing stories of their activism and the ways they are making a difference in their communities and we are so proud of these campers for answering an important call to action this year. 

In November, YEA Camp launched the first-ever “Volunteer-a-thon” designed to encourage people to get more involved in community service and activism, and to do it publicly with greater accountability. The best part? The Volunteer-a-thon is a fundraiser, with all money raised going to the YEA Camp Scholarship Fund. For many campers who participated, it was an opportunity to pay forward their own experience to make it possible for someone else to attend in the future.

Each year, we receive dozens of financial aid requests from passionate activists who want to experience YEA Camp but do not have the monetary means to do so. In 2019, YEA Camp granted financial aid to 51 of our 100 participants and full scholarships to 17 of those participants. Overall, you helped us fund over $66,400 worth of financial aid. 

None of that would be possible without the generous support of our YEA Camp community. That is what made the Volunteer-a-Thon so special for us. By participating, our campers were paying forward their experiences to the next summer of activists. 

What was the Volunteer-a-Thon anyway?

Instead of trying to raise money by training for a marathon or selling cookies, members of our camp community created a donor page asking for they’d ask their loved ones to sponsor to their activism. 

Mia Jay-Pachirat is a two-time youth camper from New York City whose Issue of Importance (IOI) is climate change. For the Volunteer-a-Thon, she created an art zine focused on NYC-specific solutions to climate change. 

When asked about her experience with the Volunteer-a-Thon, Mia said, It really pushed me to keep my action plan and other little activism acts to the front of my mind!” You can read more about Mia’s experience here

B.T. Salle Widelock attended YEA Camp in 2019 and pledged to volunteer 30 hours for local organizations in his community. “I had an amazing experience at camp. That great experience can only be made possible with others’ help.” We are so honored that 7 members of B.T.’s family donated a total of $850 to support YEA Camp and B.T. — and thanks to two generous donors who offered matching gifts, those funds mean $2550 for our scholarship fund!

For some, the Volunteer-a-thon was all in the family. Camper Marley Goldman and her mom Gail are working to end the use of rodenticide in Washington state. Marley says, “I want other young aspiring activists to get the same kind of training and support that I did so that they can pursue whatever cause is important to them.”

We already shared with you about our amazing former campers Dima Bischoff-Hashem, Audrey Watson, and Danielle Holtz also participated in the Volunteer-a-Thon. You can read their reflections on camp and their projects here

And YEA Camp director Nora Kramer participated in the Volunteer-a-thon, too! Nora’s project was to reach out to at least 100 former campers from over the years to see if she could support them in her activism. Nora reported back that this was a huge success! “It was so inspiring how many of our campers shared their positive experiences of YEA Camp and even sharing that their memories from YEA Camp were some of the happiest memories of their childhood! Several donated to our Volunteer-a-Thon, several offered to volunteer and are now working on cool projects for us, and one camper even wrote this blog post reflecting on her experience at YEA Camp, looking back 5 years later! It was an honor and pleasure to be back in touch with such phenomenal people!”

You can see — and you can still support! — even more amazing changemakers who created fundraising pages here. We are so grateful to everyone who participated!

The Final Results

We were so excited to pilot the Volunteer-a-thon this year and so grateful to the fourteen members of our community who created pages and helped us raise almost $6,000! 

Thank you to everyone who dedicated their time, energy, and dollars into this exciting new program. We could not have done it without you. 

It’s not too late to make a final donation to our Volunteer-a-Thon to help YEA Camp make a bigger difference for even more people!

Time to register for summer 2020!

Are you interested in taking your activism to the next level? We’ve announced the dates for this summer and would love to have you there. Do you know someone who would be great for camp? Nominate them here!

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