Youth Leader Institute
Our Youth Leader Institute (YLI) is a summer initiative that aims to equip girls, trans youth, and gender nonconforming youth ages 14-18 with the skills, support, and critical analysis necessary to lead a movement for radical and lasting change in South Carolina. Youth leaders receive a crash course in community organizing that centers self-reflection, political education, facilitation, research, base building, and communications work. YLI participants also develop their leadership by coordinating all rock camp assemblies, and building relationships with adult co-mentors who support their growth and development. YLI youth leaders are currently planning a regional convening centered around our two youth-led campaigns: Safer Schools Without SROs & Sex Education Beyond Abstinence!
Youth Action Alliance
The Youth Action Alliance (YAA) is a political education intensive that challenges a select group of girls, trans youth, and gender nonconforming youth ages 13-18 to think critically about the impact of prisons and police in their communities. Youth meet twice a week throughout the school year to discuss and explore issues related to identity, community, mass incarceration, criminalization, school pushout, and abolition. YAA creates space for young people to grow as facilitators, engage with transformative justice processes, and attend site visits to learn from other political organizations.
First year YAA prepares youth to move into leadership positions within our campaign work while second-year YAA leaders help facilitate campaign meetings, coordinate community outreach events, and shape our larger campaign strategy.
Rock Camp is a week-long leadership development initiative that lives at the intersection of art and political education. Our summer camp is open to any girls, trans youth, and gender nonconforming youth ages 9-18 across the state of South Carolina. Campers learn how to play guitar, bass, drums, or the keyboard, write an original song with their band, and perform in front of friends, family, and community members at our camp showcase. Throughout the week, campers also participate in workshops focusing on a variety of issues including: gender and sexuality, anti-racism, self-defense, body image, media literacy, embroidery, screen printing, poetry, self-care, and more.
Talking circles, a practice rooted in transformative justice and community care, provide space for young people to build relationships and discuss critical issues. Our circles take place twice a month and are open to any girls, trans youth, and gender nonconforming youth regardless of whether they have participated in other youth initiatives. A circle of queer and trans youth of color happens on the first Friday of each month. An open circle takes place the third Friday of each month and can be structured around any topic or question that young people feel invested in exploring. Talking circles are coordinated and co-facilitated by youth leaders.