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Camp Fresh Youth Meet Mayor Frey and Propose Solutions to Community Issues

By Geneva Yang, YWCA Contact Plus Youth Counselor
August 8, 2018
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In the heart of the Shingle Creek neighborhood of North Minneapolis is a place where families and young people gather for lunch and spend quality time together on the playground. It’s here at Creekview Park, where a small community of children play ballgames and participate in activities with their YWCA Minneapolis camp counselors.

YWCA’s Camp Fresh

The summer program at Creekview Park is called Camp Fresh and it is part of YWCA’s Contact Plus Program. Programming runs each year in June and July, Monday through Thursday. It is a camp where young people engage and interact with peers from their community and participate in fun activities like giant Jenga and swimming at one of the local pools. It is free of cost and lunch is provided through Minneapolis Parks and Recreation! What is not to love about that?!

Community Action Project: The Issue Tree

In addition to daily activities and games, campers work on a community action project that they present at the end. This year’s theme was “Public Policy” and the Contact Plus counselors thought of a creative way to introduce the theme – through an “Issue Tree.” The tree displays the issues the campers want to change within their community (brown tree trunk), along with identifying the “roots” of the issues (orange roots), effects of the issues (black branches) and proposed solutions (green leaves).

Issues the youth brought up were related to the community like expensive housing developments in North Minneapolis, gun violence and safety, and homelessness.

The project was youth-led and took a few weeks to complete. Each camper contributed their ideas on the Issue Tree and had a discussion about the problems and solutions. It started off with a rough sketch on a large sheet of paper. Once the sketch was completed, campers cut colorful paper to add to the structure of the tree.

The Mayor of Minneapolis Comes to Camp Fresh

On the last week of camp, campers invited their parents or guardians to a luncheon where they presented their part of the Community Action Project to their family and friends, along with a special guest, the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey.

“Youth Have the Solutions”

Mayor Frey listened to the campers’ thoughts about community issues and gave the group an encouraging talk about getting involved in local policy and their community. Mayor Frey insisted, “Youth have the solutions!”

Most Valuable Players of the Day

Every day at camp, a Most Valuable Player (MVP) is awarded to a camper, along with two prizes for positive behavior, good sportsmanship and demonstrating positive leadership. On the last day of camp, all campers were awarded MVP to go to Grand Slam as a field trip for all their hard work. All the youth demonstrated great leadership and were positive team players for the Community Action Project.

Camp Fresh 2019

Contact Plus is looking forward to seeing both new and returning campers next summer, awarding more MVPs and discovering what the future holds for the next Community Action Project!

Learn more about YWCA’s Contact Plus Program

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