The Youth Excellence Project (YEP) is a volunteer-run program designed to empower teen boys who have faced significant life challenges to build resilience, navigate life obstacles, and emerge as young adults committed to bettering society. We partner with several non-profit organizations to offer a series of adventure and leadership challenges held throughout the year.

Our 2020 challenges will involve outdoor adventure activities led by Outside Perspectives.  Other opportunities will take place with the CAGE Fitness & Ju Jitsu Academy  and  Empower Leadership Sports, The full roster of activities is in development and will be available at our orientation on Saturday January 11th.

Across the year, the boys establish strong, healthy, and lasting relationships with positive adults and peers. Our expectation is that these connections can be sustained and serve to provide a valuable resource as these boys attain personal goals and find direction. We also work together to positively impact our communities, with a particular focus on preventing violence and supporting individuals affected by violence. In this capacity, there are additional opportunities to partner with outside agencies to provide peer-led workshops other youth and develop media to raise public awareness of the effects of violence, promote healthy relationships, and advocate for victims in need of support.


Who is eligible? Eligible youth are male, ages 13-16, who reside in Connecticut and who have faced significant life challenges but show signs of resiliency. Youth must demonstrate interest and investment in the program and commit to group activities. Cohorts are made up of 10 youth and will be finalized in January. Registration will close after 10 youth have been selected.

What does it cost? YEP is entirely volunteer-run. We work hard to acquire as much funding for programs as possible through small foundation grants and donations. This ultimately offsets about two-thirds of the actual costs for outfitting, food, and program fees. Tuition covers the remaining cost and this is kept as low as possible. Tuition for the 2020 challenge series will be finalized by January but has ranged from $600-$1,000 over the years. This is a fraction of the cost for the same activities at typical summer camps. Tuition remission is available for a limited number of families. Please contact us for more details on this. Youth fundraising to identify individual sponsors can be facilitated to cover tuition.

How do I nominate a youth for the program? Youth are selected based on fit. The final selection is made following the January orientation. To nominate a youth, please complete and submit the following form at this link: https://goo.gl/forms/GVKrcsbtl5XVPq8b2

Our Core Values


I will lend my hand and mind to those in need without expecting anything in return. I will demonstrate leadership to those who need guidance whether I place myself in that position or find myself there unexpectedly. I will do so for others regardless of age, color, gender, culture, or background. I am a valuable resource to others. I will continue to find ways to make meaningful contributions.


I will tolerate the small stressors in my life and persevere the big ones. The trauma, violence, loss, or adversity I’ve lived will not stop me – I will persist and learn from it. When I need help I will realize it and seek the support of others.  My strength will serve to inspire others who have experienced the same. I will do more than survive – I will thrive.


I will be honest with myself and others. Actions towards myself and others with be motivated by morality and good character. While no one is flawless, I will learn from my mistakes and grow from them. I can depend on myself. Others can depend on me.


I am excited about life and what it has to offer. I will seek out new ways of understanding myself and my place in this world. I will focus on my education. I will keep an open mind and embrace new opportunities. I will build on my strengths. I will be mindful of my weaknesses. My future is bright.

Become a YEP Sponsor

We are grateful to all of the individuals, organizations, and businesses that make it possible to implement a program like this. Your support means that we can continue doing this important work with youth who otherwise may not have these resources. Our success raising funds has a direct impact on the number of youth we can serve and the amount of programming we can do. If you are interested in supporting the Youth Excellence Project, there are a few different options. You can sponsor a youth by either making a personal donation via our GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/youth-excellence-project (note- a small fee is retained by GoFundMe and you will receive a tax receipt automatically)  -or-  by arranging to send a check/money order directly to our office. A tax receipt will be provided. Alternatively, you can consider donating outdoor equipment and supplies (e.g., backpacks, hiking shoes, sleeping bags, other camping equipment, etc.). We thank you for your support!

Calendar of Events


January 11th 10a-2p @ Bushy Hill Nature Center


February 1-2  Winter camping with Outside Perspectives Inc. @ Winding Trails in Farmington (50 Winding Trails Drive). Drop-off 10am Saturday Feb. 1, Pick-up 10am Sunday Feb. 2


April TBD Empower Leadership Sports


May TBD  Outside Perspectives


June TBD CAGE Fitness & Ju Jitsu Academy


June TBD Outside Perspectives


August TBD Outside Perspectives


Fall TBD