March  2016                                                                                     e Newsletter   Issue No. 22

This Spring YES is reaching for new heights.   Our 10-year pathway  for youth and adults is expanding the number of outdoor experiences we will offer in 2016. Summer campers will have more opportunities to come together under our new Camp Days offerings , and we're on our way to instituting year-round fellowships for our C2C teen and adult leaders. 

We want you to come along for the ride, so we are presenting "a year in the life" of YES in our SPOTLIGHT section below. Here you will meet three YES participants who will continue to share their experiences with us throughout the year.  

As we prepare for a year full of growth, we mourn the loss of Richmond youth Xavier McClanahan, a 14-year-old Kennedy High School youth and former YES summer camper who was shot and killed on the Richmond Greenway in late February. Xavier's tragic death underscores the importance of quality out-of-school-time programming that YES and other nonprofit youth serving agencies provide. 

To bolster our impact, an anonymous foundation has presented YES with a matching challenge grant to raise $100,000 in individual contributions by December 31st.  To meet this dollar-for-dollar challenge we have created the Base Camp-aign where all contributions made throughout the year will be applied to this year-long fundraising effort. 

Eric Aaholm, Executive Director

New Camp Days Program

This spring we are excited to offer our summer campers a reunion opportunity to meet up with camp friends and enjoy a day of outdoor fun.  We kicked off our first two  YES Camp Days with our camp partners, St. Dorothy's Rest, YMCA Jones Gulch, and East Bay Regional Park District. Over 60 summer campers returned to spend the day with YES at Miller Knox Regional Shoreline in Richmond. Here they reconnected with their camp friends and participated in fishing, hiking, Zumba and arts and crafts activities. 

YES's Camp Days are an expansion effort to increase outdoor programming and enrichment opportunities for our 300 summer campers.  They are free to participants and include transportation, lunch, and a t-shirt. If you would like to volunteer at an upcoming Camp Days opportunity, please contact

Nia, Jonathan, and Cristal are all on YES leadership pathways, making their own discoveries, and over the next year we will follow their personal journeys in future newsletters.  This year-in-the life of three YES participants will provide a first-hand look at life in Richmond and the impact of YES programming.

Nia  is a 17 year old senior at DeAnza High School, who is gearing up to graduate and attend Laney College in the fall! She first attended summer camp with YES when she was nine years old. Nia and her younger siblings have gone to summer camp with YES through the years.  Read More..

Jonathan  is 10 years old and a fourth grader at Ford Elementary School. He attended Family Camp through an agency referral in 2014. That summer, Jonathan wasn't prepared to go to summer camp, but with guidance from YES staff he tried again the following year.   Read More..

Cristal Banagan, YES parent and Wellness Navigator, has been a part of YES's year-round adult leadership Wellness Program for two years. Cristal's commitment and passion to bring health and wellness resources to her community is the epitome of why the YES Wellness Program exists.  Read More..

Our Richmond Community

The importance of YES's mission to provide Richmond youth and families with safe access to nature and leadership pathways has been painfully underscored this month with the tragic shooting deaths of two Richmond boys ages 14 and 15. One of the youth,  Xavier McClanahan, was a ninth grader at Kennedy High School and attended summer camp through YES in 2012. During this time of fear and mourning, YES has reached out to our C2C youth community to remind them that YES is committed to providing safe spaces and experiences where they can envision a future of hope and possibilities.  

This year we are growing our programs, and as we prepare for Summer Camp, Camp Days, and upcoming Family Camps, we are steadfast in our mission to  cultivate both youth and adult leaders in Richmond who lead, healthy connected lives; motivate change in their neighborhoods; and inspire a safe, thriving community.  Please join us in support of these efforts.

Base Camp-aign

YES has spent 17 years working in the Richmond community building successful programs and a reputation as a trusted leader  and quality partner agency.  

This March we are thrilled to announce that in support of our 2016 programming growth, YES has received a matching challenge grant of $100,000 from an anonymous foundation to raise the same amount through individual donor support by December 31, 2016.

Our 2016 Base Camp-aign will document and apply all individual donations made to YES throughout the year to this $100,000 fundraising goal. There will be  many opportunities to participate through our Summer Campfire Campaign, Rock in the Redwoods concert, S'More Campaign, and other events throughout the year. 

To help us reach our goal, we would love to hear from you. If you have preferences or feedback about our fundraising efforts, please complete the following  donor survey . To support YES, please visit  and be on the lookout for our funding opportunities.

"Leadership is the willingness to sacrifice, to understand  
others and be able to take the knowledge and skills you have and pass them on to other youth." 
Ricky (Einstein), YES youth leader