2014 marked another joint camp year for the Council of Michigan Foundations and the Michigan Nonprofit Association. During the weekend of June 20-22 over 400 YAC members and service learning student leaders, as well as advisors and teachers, from across Michigan as well as 3 other states and Turkey gathered at Central Michigan University.
Participants completed service projects, attended dynamic plenaries and participated in breakout sessions as they explored this year’s theme: “Purpose. Passion. Philanthropy. #makeitcount.” The Michigan Community Foundation’s Youth Project (MCFYP) Committee and The LEAGUE Michigan collaborated to create the theme, plan and facilitate breakout sessions, and lead participants through the camp experience.
Friday afternoon we kicked off YPSC with a healthy dose of community service! Participants completed 1,591 service projects including: crafting head bands for Girls on the Run, constructing coloring books for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, recycling old t-shirts into dog toys for animal shelters, and designing placemats for Meals on Wheels. The service projects were small and simple to show participants that simple acts can make big changes.Next participants went to a YAC/LEAGUE 101 session, where they engaged in facilitated activities geared to help them think about the experience and skills they gained in their organization as well as some of the history of each organization. Participants left the 101 session feeling confident about their knowledge of YAC and LEAGUE.Friday night we were joined by Derek Felton, a motivational speaker, for an outstanding plenary session on finding and living your passion. Derek shared some dynamic stories about his own life and the lives of other successful people in order to convince participants that it takes commitment to your passions and a community of support to achieve your dreams.
Youth participants had the chance to attend 2 of 13 different breakout sessions on Saturday morning. MCFYP and LEAGUE Committee members were responsible for deciding which breakout sessions to offer to participants, and facilitated the sessions they developed. The breakout sessions offered this year include: Advocacy, Leadership, Public Speaking, Running an Effective Meeting, Diversity, Poverty, Staying Engaged, Needs Assessment, Thinking Globally, Microphilanthropy, Networking, Social Media, and Locating Your Passion. This diverse selection of topics gave participants the chance to hone their existing skills and experience brand new topics for the first time.On Saturday afternoon, all youth participants gathered in the Plachta Auditorium for the #makeitcount Conversation: an interactive large group dialogue which helped participants think about how purpose, passion, and philanthropy are all necessary components of leading a life that counts.Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit joined us at camp again this year and delivered an eye-opening and fun skit that taught participants about socialization, stereotyping, and embracing diversity.Open Space occurred on Saturday evening and was a perfect follow up to the diversity skit. Open Space is a time allotted for participants to decide what topics they want to discuss. Youth participants suggested and then lead conversations on some 30 different topics ranging from LGBT rights to Pokémon to Pursuing Careers in the Military.
Kyle Scheele, an inspirational speaker from Missouri, joined us on Sunday morning as our final plenary with some hilarious stories and an engaging talk on the power of telling and living your best story. He helped participants to understand that adversity is never the end of the story, but that it’s often what makes a story worth telling.Plan Your Year was the final session of camp; it’s a loosely structured time for YACs and service groups to sit down together to discuss what they learned at camp and how they will use the new information and skills in the upcoming year.
The 2014 Youth Philanthropy and Service Camp was a great success—post-camp evaluations showed that the average overall rating for camp was 4.3 points out of 5 possible points. One camper said, "I really loved how the conference had an atmosphere of empowerment and passion. It was infectious." Many campers shared that they felt inspired to find their own passions and learned a lot that they could take back to their community.