Youth Programs Advisory Committee

Rowe Youth Programs Advisory Committee

(“YProgs Committee”)

 

The Youth Programs Advisory Committee focuses specifically on the sustainability, growth, quality, and well-being of Rowe’s youth- and young adult- focused programming. In practice, it is intended to support Rowe Camp & Conference Center in a variety of ways, from sharing youth work resources, to supporting the work of the Director of Youth Programming, to helping communicate with the Rowe Board about camp concerns, to advising the Board regarding the camps.

The committee has a dual role:

Related to the Board of Trustees: To advise the Board in the event that the Board is making decisions that affect the camps, and to keep the Board abreast of what the committee is working on

Related to Rowe Camp operations and programming: To work closely with the Director of Youth Programming and to provide resources and support to the camps

This committee does not have direct power to make decisions about the camps but is for advising and support purposes. The group consists of former campers or former camp staff who want to stay involved and help Rowe Camp.

Examples of committee work might be setting up avenues for camps to share resources with each other; learning about camp progress in terms of gender issues and reporting on it to the Board; or researching programming ideas or resources that could be of interest to the camp staff, among many other ideas.

The committee has at least 5 meetings per year, some in person but mostly via conference call.

Participation and committee members:

This committee is chaired by one Rowe board member but consists mostly of non-board members, and it takes guidance and direction from Rowe’s youth programming director when setting its agenda. The youth programming director is an active part of the committee and takes a leadership role. Otherwise, committee members are people who have been involved with Rowe Camps in the past, e.g. have worked on staff, but who don’t typically work on staff anymore. It should be a mix of people who have been at camp very recently, and others who bring the perspective of past years.

To stay in touch with current camp sessions, each camp (YPC, Junior High, and Senior High) is encouraged to send one “1-year rep” to participate in our committee for the year after each camp session. It involves keeping up with email and conference calls, but we very much appreciate this participation so that we can keep up-to-date on the camps.

Each camp can suggest a volunteer for the committee using its own decision-making process, but we expect the co-directors will ask camp staff for a volunteer.

The committee is currently capped at 11, including 1-year reps, for ease of communication. If you are interested in becoming involved with the committee, please let a committee member know, or the chair, Abby Huber (abigail.huber@gmail.com), so that we can consider it. We welcome new members as long as we can maintain a balance representing a good mix of camp years.

We use the same kind of consensus process often used at camp staff meetings, although we are typically used as a resource more than we are asked to make concrete decisions.

Rationale:

The Youth Programs Advisory Committee is an opportunity to engage a segment of the Rowe community that has not yet been fully activated. Many camp staff eventually come to a point when they can no longer make a commitment to working full camp sessions. Likewise, there are campers who age out of camp or stop coming due to financial constraints that require them to work in the summer. Many of these alumni have a desire to continue contributing to camp and being connected to Rowe, and possess a wide range of skills and insight that would benefit Rowe. The Youth Programs Advisory Committee will provide this opportunity for people to reconnect and give back in a way that works for their lives.

 

Committee Members 

Abby Huber was a long-time Rowe camper (1994 to 2003), coming back periodically as camp staff (most recently SHC 2012). She currently works in higher education (in the Boston area) and as a translator. Previous work included teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults in Connecticut and teaching English (EFL) in Germany, preceded by organizing volunteer and service-learning opportunities for diverse youth with a non-profit in NYC.

 

Heather Day first came to Rowe as an 11 year old at Young People’s Camp and has continued her involvement since then as a camper at all 4 camps, a counselor and guest staffer for Transitions Camp and Junior High Camp, and a Woodside Diversity Program liaison for New York City youth. She served on the Rowe Board of Trustees from 2015 to 2017. Heather currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and works at the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center as the Director of Youth Programs. In this role she oversees youth-focused initiatives to facilitate healing and growth for young people exposed to community violence and trains youth as leaders in the anti-violence movement. She holds a Master’s of Social Work from Fordham University and is passionate about exploring issues of power, privilege, oppression and agency. Heather believes deeply in the power of arts as a tool for healing, learning and changemaking. As a member of the Youth Programs Advisory Committee, she is committed to helping nurture and strengthen the very place that contributed so transformationally to her own life.

 

Phoebe Westwood is a first grade teacher in Jersey City, New Jersey. She first attended Rowe Camp as a camper at YPC in 1994. She was a camper at the first iteration of T-Camp and continued at Rowe into her high school years at Sr. High. Above all, Jr. High Camp has a special place in her heart and was her home for many years. At Jr. High, Phoebe served as a CIT and then as a staff member for 6 years, and she co-directed the camp from 2009-2011. Prior to becoming a classroom teacher, Phoebe worked as a non-profit program coordinator for after-school programs in New York City public schools. She received her M.S.Ed. from Bank Street College of Education (New York, NY). She is a graduate of Goucher College (Baltimore, MD) and is an AmeriCorps alumna. Phoebe lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, Ben, and dog, Apollo.

 

 Robyn Ralli went to Rowe as a Senior High camper, and has been working for the past 7 years as a camp staff. She started out working at YPC, then joined onto Senior High Camp staff and a CIT leader for Junior High Camp. Robyn currently works at both JHC and SHC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and has been happily nannying there for the past two years, thrilled to be able to continue doing youth empowerment work year-round. She is excited to be serving as a one-year rep for the camps.

 

 Liam McRae is Clerk of the Board.  Liam came to Rowe as a 14-year-old Junior High Camper, moving on to four years at Senior High Camp where he served as Spirit in 2014. Liam has worn a variety of hats during his time at Rowe, working as maintenance, dishwasher and prep cook to barter for camp, sitting in on conferences and meetings about new camps, and now serving on the Board of Trustees. Liam is a student at Bennington College, studying environmental science and political theory. In addition to his classes, he has worked on a variety of on-campus projects including sexual health and assault prevention programs, public gaming events and two sustainability committees. Liam is excited to work with so many leadership figures from camp, long having wished we could better communicate the strange magic that is Rowe.

 

Coleen Murphy is a crabby old zinester and camp director whose current identities include Headmistress of Hogwarts Camp, Program Coordinator at the Center for Ethical Living & Social Justice Renewal in New Orleans, antiracist organizer with the People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond, publisher of the Mama Calendar, and mother of two amazing grown up people. Her work has appeared in HipMama, Breeder, and Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind. She loves talking about herself in the third person, making rad youth camps happen, eating Thai food, and engaging in the ongoing collective struggle to take down the white supremacist cishet patriarchy. Having spent her own teen years radically unschooled and involved with Unitarian Universalist youth organizing all over the United States, Coleen had the joyous and soul-expanding experience of co-directing Rowe Senior High Camp from 1996 – 2011. 

 

Josh Rose attended Rowe Camp and Conference Center as a camper from 1992-2001 and as staff from 2000-2008 (and once more in 2010). He worked at Transitions Camp and Junior High Camp in the capacity of both Cabin and Program Staff. Josh received his Bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and spent a year abroad after that teaching ESL to adults in Chile. Since then, Josh has been teaching youth of various ages about art through technology and have been working in Early Education for the last few years. Rowe is a very important place to Josh in that it provided a safe space to explore and express his individuality, which is a message he tries to pass along in his life wherever he goes. While working at camp, it has always been Josh’s goal to put as much into it as he has gotten out of it, by providing that same level of comfort through a wide variety of activities that range from silly to serious. Josh is very excited to give back to this community once again in a way that could change the lives of countless youths through the many years to come.

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