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Since 1999, YES has been building powerful connections - to the natural world, to oneself, and among families - so that under-resourced youth and the adults in their lives can bring transformatiional experiences in nature back home to their schools and neighborhoods. With YES's guidance, our participants are discovering their voices, motivating change in their neighborhoods, and working to build a safe, thriving community.
YES's four core programs are aligned within leadership pathways which increase opportunities for Richmond youth and adults to connect to the outdoors and receive year-round leadership training and support. YES's work supports participants along a continuum of development to become successful community leaders, health advocates, and change-makers. Our programs include:
1) the Summer Camp and Camp Days program that provides support for over 300 children and youth to attend overnight, nature-based summer camps, and outings to local, regional parks throughout the year;
2) the Camp-to-Community (C2C) youth development and outdoors leadership program for teens;
3) Family Camp, providing weekend-long family camping and community-building experiences for 80-100 family members several times each year; and
4) the Wellness Program, an adult health advocacy and leadership program.
Over the past 16 years YES has sent over 5,300 youth to summer camp, brought 1,000 families to Family Camp and has evolved to become a well-established and major promoter of leadership and wellness practices reaching nearly 1,000 low-income Richmond and West Contra Costa County residents each year.
"YES has helped me greatly through a lot of stages. I used to stay to myself and not participate or include my opinion in activities and projects. YES helped me shape my strengths, and find my inner self. It's hard, but it's a process I work on, and I grew from a seedling to a sprout to a stem - and I'm still blooming." - Nia, Camp-to-Community teen leader and YES participant since 2006
"Being a YES Wellness Navigator made me confident to apply for my job. I don't feel shy or nervous anymore. My mantra is "I can do it!" I am more secure because I am part of a group - I know there's somebody next to me." - Maria, Wellness Program participant