The Youth Excellence Project (YEP) is a program designed to empower teen boys who have endured significant life challenges to experience success, navigate life obstacles, and emerge as adults committed to the betterment of society. It was launched in 2014 by a group of volunteers who donate their time and energy and who are committed to promoting positive change in young people’s lives.
Throughout the year we participate in monthly camping trips that lead up to an extended day outdoor expedition that occurs in the summer. Past trips have included kayaking in and around sea caves in the Channel Islands National Park, backpacking around Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and a hybrid backpacking and canoeing trip in the beautiful Bigelow Mountains Preserve in Maine.
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, we have partnered with outside agencies to provide peer-led workshops to schools and youth groups, as well as developed media to raise public awareness of the effects of violence, promote healthy relationships, and advocate for victims in need of support . Given that many of our youths have been impacted by violence in their own lives, their messages are powerful.
Finally, 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.