The reviews are in
Hear what our families have to say
YPI is lifechanging. But don’t take our word for it. Hear what former campers and parents of campers have to say about this incredible experience!
Find compassion and encouragement.
First of all: Thank you.
It's taken me 15 years since leaving YPI to even realize that, at the time, love was what I needed, that love is what I wanted ... and that love is what you gave me. It was a true love, one that families ought to provide one another. I write this with tears in my eyes: YPI very well might have been my first family.
Thank you for showing me warmth and compassion and encouragement and acceptance when you didn't need to. Thank you for providing those things even when I didn't accept them. Thank you for seeing whatever you saw in me.
-Bob Weisz, YPI Alum
A gift of love, confidence, and fearlessness.
Being at an arts camp where it’s okay to miss a note or drop a line made me realize that people will still be behind me when I am on stage and in my life. I have gotten the confidence to step up for what I believe in. I am now not as afraid to say what I think.
Without this gift of love, confidence, and fearlessness, I would not be where I am today. I think that these qualities are the most valuable gifts I have ever received in my life. It has made me into the butterfly I had always wanted to become.
-Julie Maynard, YPI Alumna
An accepting, supportive, and caring community.
To say that a summer camp was one of the most influential places in my life sounds like a cliche but anyone will tell you, “YPI is not just a place it’s a state of mind.” It’s a state of mind that connects people from all walks of life. Those from large cities to those from Montana, those swimming in friends to those who take a deep breath before they to talk to others, introverts to extroverts, young to those glowing with experience, and those who make art with a paintbrush to those that make art with words or their bodies.
For two weeks of the year, the socially awkward, teenage version of myself was able to share a community with some of the most kind and talented people the world has to offer, leaving behind the worries and struggles that plagued my everyday life. Of course we were there to create art, my craft choice was dance. I grew up doing choreography of all types but a truly safe space really allowed me to dance. Without YPI, I wouldn’t know what it means to give my heart to choreography, to tell a story with my body, to connect an audience with the deep sentiment I was feeling. It’s the same for other artists. The depth of painting, the vulnerability of a song, the healing process of a poem. The skill is easy to teach, the passion is what comes from within.
YPI creates a space that allows all to feel comfortable enough to create something they otherwise may never be able to make. As great as the arts may be, I don’t remember the dances I learned many years ago; what I remember are the disguised lessons that carried me into adulthood. YPI taught me the importance of being present. I would do anything to feel the late night calm august air listening to Sal playing guitar, but now I find myself admiring the sheer beauty of existing. YPI taught me about acceptance; acceptance of others and acceptance of myself. The world is tormented by things that divide people from each other. YPI helped me make friends with people I others I might otherwise not talk to.
One of the most poignant things YPI taught me is the inherent similarity of all people. We all seek the feeling of comfort, purpose and love. We’ve all encountered troubles and toils but without love from each other the troubles present never ending. Whenever I experienced obstacles in my adolescence I remembered that there was good in the world, I belonged to a community of artists that often experienced the same pain that I did. And although we were together in person, the network of love and support extended past the grounds of Suffield Academy. It is this similarity that has helped me in my career as a social worker. With each young person I encounter, I remember what Jeff instilled in each of us. There’s a value in each and every person we come in contact with. They impact our story good or bad but we can learn a lesson from every interaction.
Whenever my life becomes challenging, I remember that there is good in the world, there is a loving community of people I can lean to years later and that we’re all a work in progress.
-Tatum Trowbridge, YPI Alumna
Thanks for the amazing formative experience you and YPI provided me all those years ago! I still remember it fondly, and I know it contributed to my development as a writer and an artist.
-Scott Griffith, YPI Alum
Inspiration for a lifetime.
It has been 39 years since I first experienced YPI. I carry the joy, the passion, the excitement, the creativity and the personal connections that the sparks from Jeff ignited within us. I continue to draw from the well of inspiration and strength generated in me and around me while I was there. Truly a state of mind, and a mindset. Thank you, Jeff.
-Amy Baccei, Gifted Intervention Specialist/ Reading Specialist/ Teacher
YPI has something for everyone.
The lessons that I learned at YPI far surpass how to be a stronger artist. My years at camp influenced how I perceive the world around me, through both my successes and my times of struggle. Even now I reflect on the memories of my time as a camper and I remember some moments of profound emotion, mixed with the impromptu goofiness of others. This is the YPI state of mind!
YPI is a place of growth. Being able to reach past your comfort zone to find something great within you. To be able to try something completely new and realize that you have untapped gifts that you didn’t know you had. To be able to find comfort in stillness, listening to the sounds of an acoustic guitar echoing through the night air accompanied by the intense game of four square happening on the other side of the quad.
As a camper, you know you are doing great things with great people, but now as a staff member of almost 10 years, I can see even more clearly what YPI means to everyone who has the privilege of becoming involved. It’s a haven for kids who need an outlet, a breath of inspiration for staff who love to see the greatness of young people, and a celebration of the beauty of the creative mind. Whether you utilize a pen or a paintbrush, your feet or your voice, YPI allows you to continue to grow, adjust, improve, and take safe risks to create strong and successful young people, who then become incredible adults.
It could be learning concrete life skills like how to live away from home, remembering to do your laundry, or structuring free time. It could be more abstract skills like how to use leaves to make a dark room photo develop differently, what your vocal range is, or how many pirouettes you can do without getting dizzy.
No matter what, YPI has something to offer for everyone. And that’s the power of art, right?
-Mackenzie Trowbridge, YPI Alumna and staff member