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