Equitable Climate Education: YCAT’s Summer Initiative

At YCAT, the Climate Education Committee believes that education does not have an endpoint: there is always a way to keep the brains of the new generation churning. That is one of the reasons CEE Co-Director, Cami Amaya, presented a climate education summer camp to YCAT Executive Director Samir Chowdhury.

According to Amaya, this camp later named the Youth Climate Action Midsummer Program (YCAMP) is a stem summer camp intended to nurture the minds of young student activists by teaching them about the climate crisis and realistic ways to combat it locally. Created for incoming 4th to 8th graders, YCAMP will take place virtually for 5 weeks, starting in mid-July and ending in August (synchronous classes will only take place on Thursdays and Fridays).

After 10 sessions and an optional final project, students will receive a completion certificate displaying their confidence to continue to fight this climate crisis using the tools and understanding they gained throughout the course of this camp. Over the course of these sessions, students will learn about not only the typical, more mainstream problems of climate change, but also the social, emotional, and physical implications of the crisis, whether that be sustainable living, climate policy, or social justice in climate change.

When asked about the heaviness of these topics, especially with young minds, CEE Co-Director Zora Rodgers said the issues covered throughout the camp “destigmatize the anxiety that comes with climate change and global warming and will drive their passion to make a difference within their community and within the world to better the environment.”

Both Amaya and Rodgers expressed their commitment to creating not only an educational and inspiring environment, but a place where kids feel safe and are having fun. The camp was specifically designed with virtual games like Kahoots, fun activities, and many unique aspects that set YCAMP apart from climate education at school.

“We are gonna have fun while learning. It is not a usual school day. It is not going to be boring. There are gonna be interactive activities, prizes, and interaction with other youth. While this is about stem and the environment, it is also about the social aspects of the whole movement,” said Amaya.

The CEE Committee is currently hard at work finalizing their lesson plans and conducting meetings with volunteer camp counselors in order to prepare them for the summer.

And the best part: YCAMP is completely free! Although donations are accepted, YCAT wanted to ensure that the program was accessible and equitable. Those who are interested can go to the official YCAT website and click on YCAMP on the top right to register for the camp. YCAT looks forward to hosting this incredible 5-week event to inspire the minds of the future.