Camp YEA

Guest post from Rebecca Lyons, Sierra Club member in the Coastal Bend

A parent recently told me how they couldn’t throw anything recyclable away since their student had come home and shared what he had learned about protecting the environment.  Children setting an example for adults when it comes to conservation and sustainability options is a growing phenomenon in the United States.  Many youth are even actively seeking out ways to become informed and involved in saving their planet.  One way such students can put their passion into action is by attending Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp.

YEA is a nonprofit organization that trains youth to build the knowledge, skills, confidence, and community to become activists and leaders for social change for years to come. Our flagship program, YEA Camp, is a week-long summer camp, with four sessions in three states, for youth who want to make a difference in the world.  In only three years, the camp has expanded from the West to East coast.  This year, camps will be held in Oregon, California, and New Jersey.  Camp dates will be July 7-13 and July 14-20, July 21-28, and August 5-12, respectively.  For more information, visit the website, www.yeacamp.org, read the newly launched blog http://yeacamp.wordpress.com/, view this two-minute video introduction to YEA Camp, or e-mail Nora at nora@yeacamp.org.

After camp, students return home equipped and excited about making a difference in their communities.  So far, YEA Campers have started an animal welfare club at their schools that has held beach clean-ups, shown movie-screenings, and raised over $1,000 for their local animal shelters; spoken at hearings against coal power plants; expanded vegetarian and vegan options in their school cafeterias, and launched an effective campaign to persuade their cities to lower the minimum age for volunteers at their local animal shelter.  Helping the environment by using less plastic, eating less meat, and creating less pollution is one of the core values embodied in all YEA Camp alumni, as we are passionate about seeing positive outcomes that will help conserve and protect the environment we love.

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