My perspective on people and the world has changed dramatically after attending Camp Anytown. Everyone whether differing or similar to yourself is human and feels, bleeds, and loves as you do. Each of us has a sexuality, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and identity which makes us different. But these things shouldn’t separate us further already than what racism, xenophobia, homophobia, prejudice, and privilege has already done. They should unite us in our differences to promote respect, peace, and coexistence with one another. From learning these things at camp I’ve become an ally in my school and community and have returned as a CIT (Counselor in Training). After attending Camp Anytown, I co-founded the continuation of camp ideas and discussions in the Youth Power Project where former Anytown delegates and other youth come together to discuss the hard topics of our culture in a safe environment to promote ideas and youth empowerment. It has brought social activism for minorities and POC to the forefront of my goal in life – that is to make a change and promote equality and equity in people’s lives.
I was a delegate at the 2016 Fall session. This experience has changed me and my community for the better because it has equipped me with the tools to combat oppression. This camp allows youth voices to be heard at a global level. In January, I was given the opportunity to go on a fully sponsored trip to New York City to represent Camp Anytown Las Vegas at the United Nations for an Interfaith Symposium. In addition to a life changing experience, this program has also set me up for the next four years of my life. My college admission essay was based off my experience at Camp Anytown and how globalized I became because of the diversity I was exposed to. I was not rejected to a single school I applied to and am privileged to take all of camp’s influence to Michigan State University during the fall of 2019.
After attending Camp Anytown, I became a counselor-in-training, participated in the People’s Convention in Detroit, and spoke on a radio show about the impact the program left on me. This program has taught me to advocate for less censorship, showcase resilience in the face of adversity, and the importance of youth power. I will now be attending the University of Nevada, Reno and majoring in Journalism, while minoring in Human Development and Family Studies. With the lessons I’ve learned at camp, I plan on making sure youth has a seat at the table because if we utilize our voices and show that we can speak for ourselves, it will create a domino effect and show that youth are a lot more powerful than people think.
After attending Camp Anytown, I began getting involved with my community and became a member of Make the Road Nevada and co-founded the Youth Power Project. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit Carson City, NV multiple times to lobby my legislatures on issues I deeply care about and attended the People’s Convention in Detroit, MI. From my experience at Camp Anytown, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be myself and that not only my voice and ideas matter but our voices matter because we are the future.
Since attending Camp Anytown, I realized that all youth have a unique story and learning what people of color go through and deal with, and sharing my experience as a person of color was eye opening. Since my camp experience, I began attending Youth Power Project meetings which has helped expand my knowledge on issues related to social justice. I plan to use the skills I learned at camp in student council, link leaders, and flag football by showing them how much of an impact they can make and how to stand up for what you believe in.
Following my experience as a delegate at Camp Anytown, I cofounded the Youth Power Project and have used the knowledge I obtained to recognize issues and make change in my community. My time as a delegate introduced me to people whose lives differ from mine. Through the Anytown curriculum I was educated on the hardships people of other identities face. Camp Anytown was not only an informative experience but transformative as well. As I approach my senior year of high school I plan to apply the lessons learned at camp to my future endeavors.
Since attending Camp Anytown, I began volunteering at Opportunity Village and returned to Camp Anytown as a CIT (Counselor-In Training) to ensure the next generation of youth feel empowered and seen. I am now using the skills I learned as a CIT to empower and teach Color Guard at Silverado High School. Camp Anytown has taught me to raise my voice and fight for what I believe is right. I am now taking a course in Women’s Studies to further my knowledge about race, identity, gender and culture so I can have a better idea of what others go through.