September 2013
YES Connections  eNewsletter  Issue  No. 12
Dear Friend of YES, 

At YES, we believe everyone has the potential to become a leader. Interestingly, those who lead effectively have had their fair share of disappointments, failed attempts, and let downs. The adversity and challenges they face can become learning tools if balanced with positive reinforcement from caring supports, along with a safe space for reflection and self-discovery.


For YES youth and so many others, camp provides that space. This past summer 35 youth, ages 14-18, from Richmond and West Contra Costa County attended camp as leaders-in-training through YES. A total of five youth were hired as full time camp counselors. Together they were thrust into the spotlight -- gaining instant hero status among hundreds of younger children who looked up to them for guidance and support.


In this issue of YES Connections, we share the stories of these young leaders with you. Discover their path to leadership and the rich perspective they are passing onto their younger peers. We also introduce you to two new YES staff who are already accomplished leaders in their own right, and who are excited to join our team.


Eric Aaholm, Executive Director


"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I'm possible."

-Jorge, YES Camp Counselor

Camp Voices
In our newest YES Connections feature we spotlight Michelle, a YES teen leader who credits camp for setting her on a path to leadership.   
Thanks to the contributions of supporters like you, YES was able to provide camp scholarships to 302 Richmond & West County youth to attend residential camp this past summer. Over 60% of youth were returning campers and more than 10% served in a leadership role. YES campers had fun and discovered a lot about themselves while at camp. Read the insights they shared with the YES team and see the program's outcomes here.
YES Alumni on Being a Camp Counselor  

My name is Jorge, or Bazinga, as people know me at camp. When I was told that I got the job as a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Loma Mar, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. I was at school and I was shocked. When I got home, I told my mom and I hugged her and tears started coming down.


My first week on the job I noticed a camper who had a YES t-shirt on. I said, "Oh, you're with YES. I was once a YES kid too." He said, "Really? You're from Richmond?" and I said, "Yes, and now I am a camp counselor." I told him about how YES opened many doors for me because I got involved in their programs and that he should get involved too. He was excited and was really listening to me. I realized that I was now that camp counselor inspiring a YES kid, just like my counselors had once inspired me. Read the rest of Jorge's story.

YES Welcomes New Staff
We are pleased to announce the hire of two new staff at YES! While it was with sad hearts that we said goodbye to our long-time coworker and friend, Demetria Saunders, we were blessed to welcome Tana Monteiro and Lei'Jeaux Blanton to our team. Tana comes to YES from Richmond College Prep where she served as parent partner and community liaison for the past seven years. Lei'Jeaux is YES' first Americorps volunteer and joins us via Public Allies. Both bring with them a wealth of knowledge, expertise and contagious passion that we look forward to sharing with our participants and partners in the months to come.
In this Issue
Camp Voices
YES Alumni on Being a Camp Counselor
YES Welcomes New Staff
Upcoming YES Events

September 27-29
Central Richmond (Peres Elementary) Fall Family Camp at YMCA Camp Loma Mar

October 11-13
North Richmond (Verde Elementary) Fall Family Camp at YMCA Camp Loma Mar

October 19
YES Day Outing to Alvarado Park
Support our Outdoor Enrichment & Community Work
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