The Camp Fire Columbia Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) celebrated another successful year of leadership development and youth driven programming. The 2015-16 cohort wrapped up with an end of year celebration that included reflections and feedback, as well as certificates and an afternoon at Oaks Park!

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Goal setting and board breaking at Camp Namanu

This year’s YAC included Camp Fire youth ranging from grades 8 thru 12, who have at least two years of experience through our school year or camp programming. Over the course of the year they participated in deepening their skills as leaders, took part in service-learning projects, and provided vital feedback for Camp Fire about our programs.

Leadership Development

The YAC kicked off their year by meeting with Camp Fire Board members where together they attended a presentation from Momentum Alliance on adult/youth partnerships. Later in the year they were able to connect with Camp Fire staff about their job roles and work they each do.

YAC members enjoyed a two-night stay at Camp Namanu for their Leadership Retreat. There they were ableto get to know each other more over activities including a Namanu scavenger hunt and discovering their dominant leadership style in a group assessment. Later in the year, they took a college tour of PSU, while also having some fun with a scavenger hunt while exploring the campus.

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YAC members planting trees with SOLVE

Service-Learning Projects
One specific highlight for many of the YAC members were the service-learning projects. The youth were able to participate in Pinwheels for Syria, where they learned more about the refugee crisis, and made pinwheels as part of the fundraising efforts for the program.

The group also planted trees along with others in our YVC program. The youth worked with SOLVE to plant native shrubs along Waterhouse Trail. The benefits of this project are numerous, including clean water, less erosion, and improved wildlife and human habitat.

Youth Feedback for Camp Fire
The YAC also engaged with Camp Fire program leadership over a series of youth focus groups to drive future program development. The youth brainstormed ideas around how teens can affect change in their community and passed along ideas to our YVC coordinator around service projects that teens could do in Portland to make a difference.

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2015-16 YAC End of Year Celebration

They closed out the year with a celebration where they received certificates of completion, Camp Fire swag, and shared their reflections of their time together over the course of the year. As part of their feedback the teens expressed their desire to have more time to get to know each other, especially across specific Camp Fire programs. They also valued the ways in which their voices were able to improve the organization’s programs, and the continued ways they can be of service to their communities.

“YAC is important because it helps you build yourself up, and it pushes you to do your best. The purpose of YAC is to be a part of a community and to help each other grow.” –2015-16 YAC member

“YAC helps you improve things around the community. The purpose is so that our young voices can take action and be heard.” – 2015-16 YAC member

Congratulations to our 2015-16 YAC members! More photos from their end of year celebration are here.

2016-17 Youth Advisory Committee
Applications for the 2016-17 Youth Advisory Committee will open on October 28th. The youth selected will continue to grow their leadership skills, and add even more youth voice to Camp Fire’s programs and our biggest fundraising event of the year.

Stay tuned for more details on more of the upcoming YAC adventures and how they are involved in the Camp Fire gala on Friday, April 14, 2017. Mark your calendars!