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THE PIECE wrote -
We need your help! Our camp is based solely on volunteer hours, donations, and your contribution -- just $11 provides a youth one hour of programming that will make this place better.
Help us change the world, one youth at a time.
In 1988 a gang of skinheads in Portland, Oregon bludgeoned a 28-year-old Ethiopian student named Mulugeta Seraw to death. In response, a group of community leaders from Oregon’s American Leadership Forum (ALF) Class III chapter initiated an experimental youth camp to help foster tolerance and respect for others’ differences. Camp Odyssey ran for twelve years instead of the planned three, and provided over 1000 youth and adults from every ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic background in the Pacific Northwest a safe space to explore their biases, address “isms” and learn about the painful impacts of oppression.
Decades later in 2010, a group of Camp Odyssey alumni, so transformed by their Odyssey experience, have come together and resurrected the Portland-based program to give next generations the same unique opportunity they received as teens.
With the belief that future participants can go beyond addressing individual prejudice and personal transformation, the alumni’s aim of reviving Camp Odyssey is to re-create the space where young people are empowered into becoming social investors, transforming not only themselves, but also our collective communities.
We are now in the throes of our second resurrected camp, and we can't do it without your help.
DOUG'S FIRST DRAFT:
(We will be giving away amazing experiences and gifts, so stay tuned for prizes and check out Crowdrise promos for more fun ways to win!)
The NEW Camp Odyssey is about to return for its second year! We need your help to bring a last few campers to join us in Salem on June 17th!
What it is: Camp Odyssey is an experiential journey where 14-18 year olds engage openly and honestly to address topics around oppression, and face personal & societal views on issues ranging from race, culture and immigration to orientation, gender, ableism, power and class. For 6 nights & 7 challenging days they'll reflect and interact with people vastly different from themselves, and gain the understanding, skills & resources needed to work against discrimination and create social change and this is just the beginning! Back in their communities, the Odyssey Program works to continue skill development and help youth connect to or create leadership opportunities of their interest.
What our youth say:
“Who knew that after one week we would be as close as family? I did not expect that, for example, at all. I remember sitting on the bus the very first day fighting back tears because I did not know anyone. A week later, I was fighting back tears to leave these new but incredible faces that I have come to love.”
“Camp Odyssey really helped me. It showed me that saying you aren’t a part of the problem gets you nowhere. Instead of looking for ways to fix what was around me, I started with me and how I could change…to become someone better. Someone that my community would benefit from.”
“This week’s activities were harder than most things that I have done in my life. I really had to look at myself and the things that I have ignored.”
“I learned that I can be open to people no matter what. I can relate to them in some way. Whether that be race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or feeling something they have felt before.”
From the Board of Directors of THE PIECE, the home of Camp Odyssey:
Camp Odyssey changed our lives whether as teens in the 90's or in its revival last year. We continue to offer this program as FREE to attend because we believe ALL youth should have equal access to this powerful experience. However, "free" starts to become very expensive as we fundraise--it costs us about $1,500 per camper to provide this year-round experience. Just during the "Camp" part of Odyssey, Campers participate in a hefty 87 hours of exercises, games & dialogues (NOT counting the un-official hours they'll spend gabbing with roommates), even $11.49 gets a camper 1 hour of lifelong memories!
Your money goes directly to the youths' experiences!
Thank you so much for joining us in creating a just and equitable society, where individuals are respected as human beings, and where we can all live without fear. Your contribution sends a message of peace & inclusion, and you stand in good company alongside allies such as:
- Oregon Solutions, a project so designated by then-Governor Ted Kulongoski
- Janus Youth Programs, our fiscal agent
- University of Oregon’s Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution and the Office for Institutional Equity & Diversity
- Northwest Health Foundation, McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, Carpenter Foundation and the Equity Foundation
- American Leadership Forum, Oregon Chapter
* If you don't believe that the team that makes Camp Odyssey happen put in 3,892 volunteer hours, just ask our moms, our bosses (just kidding, we never worked on Odyssey while we were at our day-jobs), our significant others (or sometimes our LACK of significant others), and our Internet service providers! Camp Odyssey and THE PIECE is our labor of love, and is entirely run off the blood, sweat and tears of many individuals committed to the bright futures our youth wish to create. And remember ... that week of Camp is run entirely by volunteers.