YPI is the definition of a life-changingly beautiful experience. I attended for five years (ages 13-18) and later volunteered. YPI is absolutely unique in its atmosphere; every camper is treated with love and respect by their peers and the camp as a whole; campers go above and beyond to help each other, rather than competing -- and in this atmosphere, they achieve incredible things. I will carry the magical memories and lessons learned at YPI for the rest of my life.
I attended YPI for five summers during my middle and high school years, and worked there as a counselor for two. I had always been vaguely interested in theater and the creative arts in general, but had never really thought of it as a serious undertaking. At YPI, the Master Teachers are all working in the fields in which they teach. As a young person, seeing adults who were passionate about the arts and willing to share their expertise with people my age was inspiring. YPI helped me to understand the importance of expressing myself creatively as a part of my whole identity, not just as a hobby. Perhaps more important than that realization is the fact that all of this learning takes place in one of the most supportive and affirming environments I have ever known. One of my proudest moments as a counselor at YPI was telling a parent who was concerned her child would be teased: "That doesn't happen here." Here, young people are encouraged to take risks in exploring new ways of expressing themselves. The important thing is not just the end result of making good art, but to learn and revel in the process of creating something new. Please support this wonderful organization, and help them to bring a remarkable experience to more young people.