Anyone that has ever gone to summer camp remembers it for the rest of their life. Summer camp is often a time that many young ones experience the feeling of slowly coming out of their shells, welcoming diverse friends they otherwise wouldn’t meet into their world. High school especially can be a pivotal time in developing a student’s self-image and confidence. Lessons on how to treat others are often gained by the social pressures found in the hallways and cafeterias. This is why the YWCA Central Alabama hosts Anytown Alabama: a summer camp that teaches students how to be strong leaders and positive examples in their classrooms and throughout their lives.
The camp recruits students, also known as delegates, from across Greater Birmingham who are diverse in terms of school, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and neighborhood. Anytown is a wonderful opportunity for high school students to develop strong leadership skills that they will bring back to their schools and communities. Students learn how to respond to difficult real-life situations with kindness, courage and respect. They also learn to appreciate other cultures and beliefs while celebrating their own.
Students leave Anytown as confident, empathetic leaders who are ready to stand up for what they believe is right. Students who attend Anytown have a positive impact on the culture of their schools as they discourage intolerance and bullying and serve as allies for marginalized students. Interaction with a diverse group at Anytown also prepares students for life after high school where cultural sensitivity and the ability to communicate with different types of people are crucial.
“Anytown is a life changing experience for both staff and delegates who attend,” says Holley Jackson, Coordinator of AmeriCorps and Social Justice at the YWCA. “Students come to camp nervous and unsure of what to expect and leave feeling empowered to make a difference and with strong friendships.”
Anytown was started by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) in 1989, and is now the product of a partnership with the YWCA Central Alabama.
The week long residential program has a fee of $400, however scholarships are readily available and no student will be turned away due to inability to pay. The application deadline is April 18, 2014. Anytown will be held June 1, 2014, through June 7, 2014, at Camp Hargis in Chelsea, AL.
If you are parent of a student or a high school studentyourself, we hope that you consider spending a week of summer with us at Anytown Alabama. We promise it will be a lifelong memory that you’ll never want to forget.
If you are interested in applying for Anytown Alabama, please click here.
Events like these don’t happen without the loving and selfless giving from our community. If you would like to support the YWCA Central Alabama’s programs, please click here.