Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Thank you very much for providing me with this scholarship so that I can become a great leader in the future. This will be a great opportunity for me to practice the skills I have learned so far. I will be able to give back to my community in Richmond and I am looking forward to that!”- Thank you letter from a C2C youth

YES’s Camp-to-Community (C2C) program forges strong values in youth leaders who then transition to successful young adults. Building upon young people’s summer camp experiences, through year-round outdoor experiential learning opportunities in nature and their community, C2C is the second phase of YES’s ten-year youth leadership pathway. C2C empowers and supports youth to navigate their surroundings, to connect with positive role models, and to make a productive impact in their community – all characteristics that define successful young adults.

Borne out of the need to extend leadership growth for older YES youth (ages 14-18), C2C was launched in 2010. Youth attend two week-long summer camp leadership trainings, learning skills and gaining the experience they need to be hired as camp counselors when they turn 18. These leadership opportunities at camp foster essential 21st century workforce skills: communication, teamwork, social responsibility, critical thinking, self-management, creativity and innovation.

Upon their return home from camp, C2C youth receive support in leadership, goal setting, academics, and career readiness. They participate in overnight backpacking and camping trips, in monthly experiential outdoor hard skill and leadership outings to local parks, serve as youth leaders at YES Family Camps, and plan and implement day outings for YES families – making new friends and having adventures along the way! In each year, a select cohort of C2C youth engage in a participatory research project, identifying and investigating a pressing issue in their community, and presenting their findings to a community audience.

Through YES and environmentally-focused partner agencies, C2C youth participate in service learning and environmental stewardship, career and academic skill training. These include urban agriculture and gardening, watershed and marine restoration, planning and leading activities at community events, and neighborhood beautification.

By continuing to expose youth to learning experiences outdoors and in their community, and developing their leadership skills, YES further cultivates the sense of possibility and awareness that our youth can become all they strive to be.

To learn more about our Camp-to-Community program, please email Vencel Alfred, Camp-to-Community Coordinator: or Peter Flom, Youth Leaders Coordinator:

In 2017, YES's Youth Engagement Team went to Helms Middle School in San Pablo once a week to lead two hour sessions designed to let youth educate youth about the importance of reducing sugar consumption and increasing water consumption. 

As a team, YES and the Helms students decided to advocate for a new hydration station to be installed on campus. After surveying students and analyzing the data, the young researchers compiled their findings into a report and made sure it was shared with community leaders. This ultimately led to the purchase of two hydration stations by the City of San Pablo.

Helms student guessing how much sugar is in a few popular drinks.

In 2016, YES's Youth Engagement teens learned about nutrition and food security in Richmond by exploring their community. In partnership with the Berkeley Youth Institute, they created this video, check it out!