YWCA Partners with NCCJ to Host Anytown Alabama

March 20, 2013

The YWCA Central Alabama will once again partner with the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) to host Anytown Alabama on June 2 – 8, 2013, at Camp Hargis in Chelsea, Alabama. Applications are currently being accepted for this interactive and fun camp experience that is dedicated to creating capable leaders.

At Anytown, students are challenged to consider how they can make their schools and communities more inclusive for all. Delegates are encouraged to participate in honest dialogue and interactive learning about social justice issues. They learn how to respond to difficult real-life situations with kindness, courage and respect and to appreciate other cultures and beliefs while they celebrate their own.

Students leave Anytown as confident, empathetic leaders who are ready to stand up for what they believe is right. Students who attend Anytown have a positive impact on their school’s culture as they discourage intolerance and bullying and serve as allies for their peers. Interaction with a diverse group at Anytown also prepares students for life after high school where cultural sensitivity and the ability to communicate with different types of people are crucial.

“Anytown has taught me lessons and values that are even more applicable today than when I was a delegate. I continue to come back as a volunteer staff member because I’m not always able to do or give as much as I would like, but giving my time to Anytown allows me the opportunity to see the change that happens in the lives of the delegates, and I love that,” states Emily McClendon, a former Minor High School student.

“At Anytown I felt comfortable and safe walking around with my head high and my beliefs unfaltering. I didn’t have to worry about not being Puerto Rican or ‘American’ enough,” states Anamaria Santiago, a former Ramsay High School student.

The camp recruits students, also known as delegates, from across the Greater Birmingham area who are diverse in terms of school, race, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status, gender and neighborhood. Anytown is a wonderful opportunity for high school students to develop strong leadership skills that they can take back to their schools and communities.

“In a city as historically (and presently) segregated on the basis of race and social class as Birmingham, it is almost certain that a high school student from over the mountain would rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to meet (and befriend!) a student of the same age from Ensley, West End or Woodlawn. I return to Anytown as a volunteer to encourage those connections and watch them develop,” continues Santiago.

This seven day residential program has a fee of $400 and scholarships are readily available. No qualified student will be turned away due to inability to pay. Rising 10th through 12th graders are eligible to participate.

The deadline for application is April 15, 2013. Late applications will be considered only if space is available. Applications are currently being accepted.

For more information about Anytown Alabama, contact Holley Jackson at 322-9922 ext. 180 or email anytown@ywcabham.org. To download an electronic copy of the application, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the YW’s programs or to make a donation, please click here.