At Anytown, we establish young people as leaders at an early age despite their lack of educational or personal accolades, empower youth to be at peace with their imperfections and brilliance, and equip them with the tools to combat racism and other forms of discrimination in their community.
#TheNextWave is creating a new era where youth leaders not only have a seat at the table but also possess equitable decision-making responsibilities. Through audacious thinking, creative programming, and action based work, youth are given the support and ability to become the leaders of today, not tomorrow.
#TheNextWave initiative was created in 2019 by former Anytown delegates who wanted to establish more opportunities for young people to speak for themselves and were willing to disrupt the status quo. Our message is clear, we are no longer asking for permission, we’re simply giving the world notice that we have arrived.
The Anytown Youth Council (AYC) is a youth led working board that provides strategic direction to the Anytown program and incorporates perspectives and the voices of young people in each element of program planning. ⠀
The AYC’s “By youth, for youth” approach will ensure youth are added to every conversation and the needs of young people at Anytown are continuously met.⠀
Each year, International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21st. This year, our “Hate Has No Home Here” campaign included 13 interfaith youth leaders from 6 different religious and spiritual beliefs to acknowledged the importance of understanding their differences, recognizing their similarities, and working together for peace and justice.
The “Hate Has No Home Here” campaign garnered over 10,000 social media views from all over North America and the world and was coordinated in remembrance of the 2nd anniversary of the Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting. The tragedy that took place on October 1, 2017 did NOT define us, instead, it brought our community together and made us #VegasStrong.
Mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue are important components of the work we do, they constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace.
For the past 3 years, youth from our program have been selected to travel to the United Nations during World Interfaith Harmony Week. Our youth leaders have engaged in conversations about the connections between the United Nations and local interfaith work and shared the work we do with fellow youth/young adults doing interfaith work in North America.
Our annual Golden Rule campaign highlights the power of youth voices and celebrates the universal principle of treating others the way that we want to be treated. It is a powerful tool for all of our relationships – with ourselves, others, animals, and the planet. The Golden Rule is powerful only when we practice it.
On April 8th, 2019, Camp Anytown Las Vegas joined Make the Road Nevada and the Nevada Youth Activist Alliance for their inaugural NYAA Youth Activist Lobby Day in Carson City, NV. Together, 200 youth activists marched toward Nevada’s state legislative building and met with their elected officials to inform them that they expect serious, bold, and immediate action on issues affecting their community.
Our youth leaders also had the opportunity to meet with former Anytowner and current State Senator Julia Ratti and State Senator Yvanna Cancela who introduced legislation that allowed Nevada to become the second Golden Rule station in the nation.
Several Anytown youth leaders had the opportunity to march in unity with Make the Road Nevada at the 2019 People’s Convention in Detroit, MI and engage with other youth leaders fighting for social justice all over the US. We are thankful to have partners like Make the Road Nevada that give youth leaders the ability to get more involved in community organizing and policy work, at both the individual and institutional level.
Camp Anytown is honored to be a part of the United Religions Initiative, the world’s largest global grassroots interfaith peace building network with over 1,035 Cooperation Circles working in 108 Countries.
Our Executive Director, Rico Ocampo serves on the URI North America Leaders Council and helps provide strategic direction and implements various programs and initiatives throughout Canada and the United States.