Camp Everytowners return with hopes for a January session

Emma Chiu, Author

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Palo Alto High School Camp Everytown participants pose for a photo during the October 2013 session. Photo provided by Claire Liu.

Palo Alto High School Camp Everytown participants pose for a photo during the October 2013 session. Photo provided by Claire Liu.

After another successful session of Camp Everytown earlier this month, camp alumni from Palo Alto High School hope to organize a first-ever second session in January.

Camp Everytown is a four-day and three-night leadership experience in the Santa Cruz Mountains that empowers participants to create communities of empathy, respect and inclusion by reducing stereotypes. It is run by a non-profit Silicon Valley organization called FACES. Last year, around 30 Paly students attended camp with another 30 students from San Jose’s Independence High School.

With 44 Paly student participants this year and annual consistent feedback from many who regard Camp Everytown as a life-changing experience, one might wonder why a second session has not been organized earlier.

“Because we had such a good success with Indy [Independence High School], FACES asked us if we would consider going with them in January again,” Living Skills teacher and Camp Everytown coordinator Letitia Burton said. “It makes sense for us to go at that time because our second semester is so jam-packed with testing schedules.”

Signing up for a January session is not so simple, though, according to Burton. Issues that would prevent the session from happening include space, funding and the fact that teachers would me missing three days of class and students missing two days.

“For us, a big piece of it is funding,” Burton said. “We did get some scholarship money from FACES, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to get scholarship money from them again. We want to make sure that just because you don’t have the money doesn’t mean you can’t go to Everytown.”

Despite lowering the cost of camp per student to $350, camp organizers would also have to worry about funds for teachers who attend camp, as well as transportation methods.

“We might not just financially be able to make it happen,” said Craig Tuana, dean of students and 2012 camp alumnus. “Myself and Ms. Burton and [Outreach Specialist Crystal] Laguna are going to work … this month to see what scholarships are available.”

Tuana hopes to receive five scholarships from FACES, and possibly other organizations as well.

“I think in the next couple of weeks hopefully we’ll find out if we can make it work,” Tuana said.