Target: Nora Kramer, Executive Director
Goal: Thank camp organization for offering socially conscious programs to youth
A trend over recent years is the growth of the socially conscious camp. The American Camp Association, which gives summer camps legitimacy through its accrediting system, reported that over half of camps now have a civic engagement or volunteering bent to them. More specific programs include foreign language learning, social justice, international exchange or peace. Many of these camps also tend to focus on creating harmony and camaraderie, as opposed to the gossip and cat fighting that is so often a part of the middle and high school years.
While teaching social activism, these camps also teach children and teenagers the basic lessons one would learn at any camp — how to be a leader, how to work in a team, and how to gain some semblance of independence.
While there are many camps of this nature, one of the more well-known is the Youth Empowered Action Camps. YEA has locations in Oregon, California and Massachusetts. While we applaud all camps meant to teach teenagers about social consciousness, we particularly praise YEA because of their commitment to freedom. They give campers the means to pursue any issue that they find compelling. Through workshops and games, they learn to pursue goals, from alleviating poverty to helping better the environment. Campers learn that any change, even if it seems very small, can make a impact. Campers also all receive adult mentors at the end of the session. The mentor checks up on the children, and provides any advice or insight that they need to further their goals.
In a world where it is very easy to feel powerless, we thank Nora Kramer, the director of the YEA camps, for teaching teenagers that they can make a difference. These teens — even though its sounds corny — are going to grow up and leave their mark on the world.
Dear Mrs. Kramer,
In an increasingly cynical world, it is amazing to see people like you working to foster a generation that is not so. While camp in and of itself is an excellent way to teach youths that they should feel empowered and can do things that they never thought possible, the Youth Empowerment Action camps take it to the next level.
We applaud the Youth Empowerment Action camps for teaching teenagers that they can make a difference in the world, even while they are still young. We also applaud that you give them the freedom to choose what causes they want to pursue. Instead of telling them what is important, you give them the tools to do what they think is important. This is helping to create future leaders, people who believe that they are capable of making the world a better place. We hope to see more camps like yours in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fredlyfish4 via Wikimedia Commons