Power of Hope Welcomes Youth On-Site this July
by Amber Faur, Camp Manager, Power of Hope
In this year of pandemic, we have experienced polarizing elections, intense community action stemming from racial injustice, fires, and drought. The young people in our community have watched as our society struggled to respond to all of these crises. We sometimes forget that these events can be extremely traumatic for young people who are still developing the tools and skills to cope with grief, pain, and trauma. We are asking adolescents to navigate something that we, as adults, don’t know how to navigate.
Many young people, deep in the work of navigating adolescence, will need to process, grieve, celebrate, connect, and redefine themselves. We all want to ask: who are we as we re-emerge? How are we different now? What do we need to enter this next phase as our most authentic selves?
The strength of the Power of Hope youth camp community is our ability to say, “we don’t have answers — but we do have tools and the community to support us as we find our way.” These tools help us all to navigate the strange pandemic terrain where we find ourselves. We have learned the necessary skills: masking, distancing, sanitizing, and other habits to keep us physically safe, and now we seek the tools to help re-emerge emotionally.
The Power of Hope Camp 2021 gathering will finally give us the opportunity we have been waiting for: to rejoin our community. The Power of Hope community is a place where adults and young people come together with an invitation to be our most authentic selves. This year, Power of Hope will provide an opportunity for youth to be supported as they process some of the most challenging experiences and feelings that they might ever have in their lives. In community, they can learn to navigate differently, to express their experience, and to have the expansiveness of being with others in this time.
The Power of Hope youth camp will be one of the first programs to return physically onto the Commonweal land this July. As we begin to re-engage, to come together in person again, we are curious and excited to explore how we have been changed by the experience of the last 12 months.
Now in its 6th year, Power of Hope allows young people aged 14 to 18, from diverse backgrounds, to experience the magical mix of art, nature, music, dance, theater, activism, self care, and wellness as tools. Together we take creative and emotional risks, try new things, and develop new ways of being.
Again this year, our intergenerational staff of facilitators and mentors will bring with them skills and wisdom as artists, activists, and community builders. Lead by Samara Atkins (of Destiny Arts and grammy-nominated Alphabet Rockers) and CJ Suitt (poet laureate of Chapel Hill North Carolina), we will create the space for each person to explore their identity, step into leadership, and express their authentic voice.
We are honored to have this opportunity to work with youth at this particular moment, to allow them to identify and speak their needs, and help them to develop the tools to process, express, and take action.
Power of Hope relies on the support of the larger community to engage in this work, which has been especially important this year as so many of our families are struggling with lack of or under employment and our youth have expressed such a clear and urgent need to be in community. All youth are invited to participate regardless of ability to pay; we have been able to sustain this commitment thanks to our incredible donors.
If you know a young person or family who could benefit from a bit of connection, nature, and fun, we invite you to learn more at our website or to follow our camp journey on social media. We are on Instagram as @powerofhopecampbolinas and Facebook as The Center for Creative Community at Commonweal.