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education | youth

Seventh Grader Organizes Benefit Concert March 12 for Youth Activism

WHEN: March 12, 5:00-10:00
WHERE: Red and Black Cafe 400 SE 12th ave, Portland, OR. Event is open to the public
WHAT: Benefit concert for Youth Empowered Action featuring bands, an auction and raffle prizes
Prepare to hear great music as well as to have your stereotypes of youth apathy blown next Saturday at a benefit concert for Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp, a camp for youth who are out to change the world.

Saturday's benefit at Red and Black Cafe was initiated and organized primarily by Ananda Fitcher, a 7th grader at Sunnyside Environmental School who attended YEA Camp last summer on a scholarship. Ananda got so much out of the camp that she wanted to help get the word out about it and raise money for the YEA Camp scholarship fund with a benefit concert so that youth of all socioeconomic classes can attend in 2011.

Ananda hooked up acclaimed electronic musician Mode 7 and rock bands The Fools, Gloom Weaver, and Party Gurls to play the event. She approached local businesses for donations for the silent auction items and raffle, and she has even lined up other campers to give speeches about their experience at YEA Camp.

"I want adults to know that youth are out there doing amazing things. A lot of people have something they care about but they may not know what to do. YEA educates and motivates on ways to put their passion into action," says Fitcher. "I really want to go again because camp was awesome. I know it's not easy for everyone to come up with the tuition. I wanted to raise money for the scholarship fund so more campers can come and make a difference."

YEA Camp is a week-long youth leadership program for 12-17 year olds who want to make a difference in the world. Campers choose an issue of importance to them, and the camp helps them build the knowledge, skills, confidence, and community to take action on that issue when they get home. Since the August 2010 camp, YEA Camp participants have started school clubs, gotten vegan options in their school cafeterias, organized a call-in to Congress about the Dream Act, raised almost $1000 for a local animal shelter, and more. Last summer's camp was the inaugural program in Oregon, and YEA is looking to build on last year's success to reach more youth this year.

"I am so proud of Ananda for planning this event!" said Camp Director Laura Carver. "It is gratifying that she was so impacted by her experience at YEA that she not only wanted to help raise money for more youth to attend, but that she also developed the courage to take the initiative to plan an event"

In fact, Ananda credits her attending YEA with being able to plan the event. "I wouldn't have done a benefit before camp—I wouldn't have had the courage. I have the confidence now to do something like this and my mentors and friends from camp really support me."

This summer YEA Camp will be held from August 7-14 in Corbett. To find out more about the camp, or to apply visit www.yeacamp.org

YAY for Youth Activism! 11.Mar.2011 07:40

Boo to High Tuition!

I checked the website. I noticed that the "camp" is only one week, tuition is $925 and registration is limited. The "camps" are offered primarily in California and there is one one-week Portland camp.

I also noticed that all of the staff is white. There are some people of color in the non-alumni staff.

Are there scholarships for the camp so that families who cannot afford $925 for a one-week camp for their child can participate?

What makes this camp different from other (cheaper) youth empowerment organizations in the city?

Is the benefit concert being organized to help provide scholarships for needy youth to attend?

I'm glad that a young person is taking charge and showing initiative and promoting a camp that he or she feels is important. I became very interested in the camp because of reading about this young person's initiative. I became very disappointed when I saw the tuition for this camp because it made me wonder whether this camp was providing politically correct childcare for the wealthy whose children attend the more "progressive" (but spendy) Portland private schools.

good lord 11.Mar.2011 08:34


I knew someone would find a way to shit on what this kid was doing. Great job, I hope you feel better about yourself.

Because the camp was more expensive than you think it should be, I guess we should tell this kid her efforts are somehow diminished.

OR, you could just be happy someone is trying to help, for a change.

How do organizers survive 11.Mar.2011 11:12

without charging tuition?

$925 sounds reasonable to me for a week-long event. I can't imagine how anyone is making money off this.

People who organize and put on these events need to be able to support the work. Otherwise, they won't be able to feed themselves,get to the venues, survive. So, unless the organization has some kind of endowment, it seems that some kind of monetary contribution would be required of the participants.

The fact that Red & Black is supporting this effort adds a lot of credibility to it--or maybe they've been bought off by the Koch Brothers, too.

Also, 11.Mar.2011 12:01


This young woman is putting on this benefit concert to raise money for others who don't have the ability to slap down the(reasonable amount of) money requested.

Sounds like a good cause, and a good time to me.