Youth Camp Develops Cultures of Respect and Understanding

22 January 2016, 5:47 PM
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“Our past participants feel that they had life changing experiences at Camp Anytown…. I am profoundly thankful that our students can have this meaningful learning experience.” –Ms.Connie MacFarland, Counselor at Sierra Vista High School

At a time in which racism, violence, bullying, and hate tend to be regular news stories, Camp Anytown Las Vegas is working to create a culture of understanding and respect among future community leaders. Camp Anytown, a program run under the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, is a youth leadership and diversity training for high school students held semiannually in Southern Nevada.

Camp Anytown

Camp is a three day intensive experience for youth, including workshops on race, ethnicity, gender, power, privilege, and religion. Students are recruited based on demonstrated leadership ability -- whether they are from student council, athletic teams, or gang prevention programs. The intent is to introduce sensitive topics in a safe, diverse environment in which students can learn about different components of diverse populations as well as examine their own beliefs and perspectives.

On the first night of each camp experience, all new student “delegates” are told that the goal of Camp Anytown is to change the world. We know that we are a small nonprofit organization. Our belief system is as follows:

Thoughts (stereotypes) influence feelings (prejudices)
Feelings influence actions (discriminations)
Actions result in power (racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, etc.)

Anytown Photo 2Each Anytown workshop is designed to critically and meaningfully look at each participant’s thoughts and feelings around components of culture and diversity. If we, as a small nonprofit organization, can education future leaders through this process, that education and experience will then impact their actions and power within our community. Past camp participants locally include our Clark County School District Superintendent, county commissioners, judges, and more. By raising up leaders with a desire for respect and inclusivity, we will ultimately strengthen our local community- and hopefully change the world.

For more information, please go to www.anytownlv.org.

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