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CUyo PNG.png
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July 10th - August 5th, 2023

Youth Ages 11-17 - Register Today! 

FREE - $0.00 - LIMITED (30) SPACES

Cuyo Social Justice Summer Program for youth was founded by Nelson Rafael Roman who recognized that when young people start looking around and learning about the problems in our world, they really want to do something to help.

 

But sometimes they just don’t know what.  Or how.  Or if.

 

That is not being taught in school.  But it needs to be taught somewhere.

 

Starting this summer, July 2023, Cuyo Social Justice Summer Program for youth, will be running a life-changing, ridiculously fun and inspiring camp in the Naugatuck Valley for progressive teens who want to do something about the problems they see in our world.  They will do this using the medium of Theater Art, Music, and Dance.

 

What does CUYO mean? 

Cuyo is a Taino Indian word meaning light or fire.  Cuyo Summer Program for Teens hopes to shed light on the injustices of the world and teach teens how to combat them.  While lighting a fire under them to achieve greater and never settle for less. 

 

What exactly is CUYO Summer Program for Youth? 

Cuyo Summer Program for Youth is a summer day program for social change. We help 11-17 year-olds from all over the Naugatuck Valley make a difference on a cause they care about -- all while having one of the best experiences of their life.  We can't wait to meet you at Cuyo Summer Program for Youth!

 

What are the benefits of attending Cuyo Summer Program for Teens? 

1.Strengthen your confidence and belief in yourself
2.Develop amazingly close friendships with super nice people who care as much as you do
3.Get tons of ideas and examples of ways you can make a difference on a cause you care about
4.Gain individualized mentorship from experienced staff and like-minded peers in our small camp environment
5.Find your voice and be able to speak up about what’s important to you
6.Deepen your understanding of the problems in our world and how to fix them
7.Learn skills you can apply right away to make a difference in your community
8.Improve your social skills while also caring less what other people think of you
9.Become part of an inspiring community of people who will cheer you on long after summer ends
 
Frequently Asked Questions:  
What type of activism do you promote or teach? Do you endorse violence? 
Cuyo Summer Program defines activism inclusively as “taking intentional action to help others.” By this definition, we say you qualify as an activist if you have recycled a can, rescued a stray dog, signed an online petition, donated to a charity, spoken up against a bully, or countless other things to make life better for others.
 
Unfortunately, the mainstream media typically only shows activists who have done something resulting in arrest (which they probably did because they knew that was the only way the media would cover the issue), which has colored many people’s views of activism.  Cuyo Summer Program absolutely does not advocate anything that could result in harm or arrest. There are countless amazing things we can all do everyday to make our world a better place without hurting anyone or risking our freedom to do more amazing things in the future. If someone cares about the environment, yes, they could chain themselves to a building, but we think they’d be more effective by starting a recycling club at their school, passing out flyers, writing for their school newspaper, greening their school with solar panels or a composting program, carpooling, and countless other things to make a difference that not only don’t risk arrest but also look great on a college application.
 
We do not know of a single Cuyo Summer Programer who has gone on to do something they got arrested for, and if someone does/did, it will certainly not be because of anything we encouraged them to do.
 
What issues do you teach about? 
Cuyo Summer Program’s curriculum follows a “popular education” style, meaning that rather than try to formally impart our views or knowledge on those less informed (the way school is typically set up), we have dialogue, ask questions, and encourage people to think critically and share their views. About halfway through program, each teen chooses for themselves an Issue of Importance they want to focus primarily on.
 
Cuyo Summer Program gives campers opportunities to “share about what they care about” so that everyone can learn from one another. Everyone doesn’t always agree with one another on every issue, and that’s ok. We teach nonviolent communication and have an Honor Code our campers and staff hold the group to so that everyone is treated with respect, even if people disagree.

Having said this, our program would be considered “progressive” in valuing human rights, environmental sustainability, and animal protection. Of course this looks different to different people, but we are not trying to force views onto anyone. Our core staff have worked professionally or volunteered on causes such as climate change, women’s rights, animal protection, racism and environmental justice, gay rights, immigrant rights, gun control, funding of education, and diplomatic means of resolving conflict. While nobody needs to agree on everything, youth whose views are totally out of alignment with these values would be a better fit at another program.

 

How does your program handle the developmental differences of 12 - 17 year olds in such a diverse age group?  

Our campers come to Cuyo Summer Program with a shared purpose to do good in the world, and that unites them as a community. Our curriculum is “differentiated,” meaning campers with varying levels of knowledge and experience can take it as far as they want. Think of it as a yoga class–we’ll be teaching the basic moves, but some of them can take that and put their leg behind their head and do a more advanced move! Our goal is to meet the campers where they are and move them forward.

Often the older campers work with and mentor the younger ones, though sometimes 12-year-olds have more activist experience than 17 year-olds, and the roles are reversed! We always have a range of campers within each age group, so there are always people there within each age and for each camper to connect with, if that is a concern. We are very mindful of how we place campers in cabins and keep their age in mind.
 
What about your staff? What are they like?

Our staff is all about positivity, empowerment, fun, and safety.  And when we say safety, we mean it. Of course we mean physical safety, which is always our top priority.

Parents, we have many years of collective experience in working with and around teens and take our in loco parentis responsibility very seriously. Every staff member is thoroughly vetted, including a full criminal background check.

 

But that’s just the bare minimum. When we say safety, we also mean emotional safety. As an empowerment program, Cuyo Summer Program is all about supporting our campers to change the world, which means creating an environment where everyone feels cared about and free to be themselves.  We create an environment where even our shyest campers get comfortable going outside their comfort zone -- and they know we'll all be standing up and cheering for them when they do.

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