Staff Letter Community Summit Helps YES! Take Next Steps Global Youth Leadership Collaborative Moves Forward Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam ~ June 12-19, 2007, Green Sulphur Springs, West Virginia "Generation of Hope" House Parties - Save the Date! Art in Action Camp Brings it On All on Board Latin Jam: An Educational Journey An Expression of Gratitude and an Invitation to Support YES!



Staff Letter

Dear Friends,

We hope you are all doing well and enjoying the beautiful summer season. We have been feeling full and grateful, recently completing three back-to-back events: the YES! Community Summit: Coming Together, Visioning our Future; the second annual Global Youth Leadership Collaborative Meeting; and the fifth annual Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam. We think of our larger community in this moment because without you, this work would not be possible.

As so, it is important for us to share with you progress being made on YES!’s learning journey. The YES! Community Summit was a major milestone, as staff, board, and organizing partners from five continents convened to build together and vision the organization’s future. YES! is growing into increasingly collective leadership on staff and Board levels and more meaningful partnerships with our global collaborators.

Even with the strategic planning process of this year, initiatives like the Global Youth Leadership Collaborative, Leveraging Privilege for Social Change, and Regional Jams (there is an Amazon Jam taking place August 1-5 in Brazil) grow steadily still. And, we continue to support vital programs like Santa Fe Youth Allies and the 7th Annual Art in Action Camp, which just completed July 8-13 in Sonoma, CA.

YES!’s work is evolving as we engage with a new generation of social entrepreneurs and visionary leaders worldwide while building an increasingly sustainable, transparent, and co-creative organization. We are part of some cutting edge inquiries into the nature of real and transformational partnerships in an often-polarized world. It is an exciting time and we encourage you to stay informed, connected and engaged.

In appreciation,

Ocean, Tiffany, Lorin, Jenny, Nga and Devinder, YES!’s Staff


Community Summit Helps YES! Take Next Steps


YES! held a first-time gathering of all staff, Board and key program partners from around the world for its Community Summit: Coming Together, Visioning our Future, May 28 - June 1 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.   It was a beautiful and meaningful time of connection for all 31 participants and created valuable conversation and action-planning around YES!'s future.  

Self-selected members of staff and Board, with support from consultant facilitators, organized the Summit.   The energy of the space encouraged much visioning, innovation and creativity needed for YES!'s next steps as an organization.   It also honored and built upon the history, partnerships and experience of YES!'s seventeen-year journey.

Our work is based on a foundation of trust, authenticity, and partnership and the Summit was an embodiment of these values.   As a result, the conversations were healthy and constructive with several key decisions emerging, including:

  • We formed a Program Committee consisting of staff and representatives from each of YES!'s major projects, that will together be responsible for allocation of programmatic resources in the budget developed for board approval each year.
  • We agreed to annual World Jams for at least the next three years, with a commitment to building in models for developing new young leadership in the organizing and facilitation process.   The 2008 World Jam will be in Cusco, Peru.
  • We named that YES! is a North American organization (with a primarily North American staff, board, and donor base) that works closely with a global network of partners;
  • We committed to building expanded solidarity in relationship to our global network of partners, and to deepening the learning journey of our communities.

At this moment, the Summit follow-up is continuing with much passion and activity on many fronts. The facilitators submitted a summary memorandum in early June and a comprehensive report is expected soon.   With that, the staff and Board Summit organizing team will convene for full debriefing session and recommendations for furthering the strategic planning process.

For more information about the Summit, contact Lorin Troderman, Operations Manager, at


Global Youth Leadership Collaborative Moves Forward

The Global Youth Leadership Collaborative is a global network of past and future World Jam facilitators convening over time to challenge and support one another on our own learning journeys and to assist the evolution of Jams and the work of the extended Jam community.   This year's Global Collaborative meeting followed the YES! Community Summit, and was held June 3-6 in California.   Present were: Coumba Toure from Senegal, Evon Peter of the Gwich'in tribe in Alaska, Shilpa Jain from India, Tiffany Brown and Ocean Robbins from the USA, Tad Hargrave from Canada, Motaz Attalla from Egypt, Osmar Filho from Brazil, and Kiritapu Allan of the Maori people in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The Global Collaborative members are co-creating the Collaborative's goals, budget and constituency, and considerable progress was made in all of these conversations.   We established a steering committee and new member criteria, made the decision to expand to a group of 15 from 12 countries, and selected a Collaborative representative (Coumba Toure from Senegal) for the new YES! program committee. New Members nominated at this meeting and confirmed afterwards: Nuttarote Wangwinyoo, Thailand; Valentina Campos, Bolivia; Ibrahim Youssef El-Ali, Lebanon/Palestine, and Puma Singona, Peru.

The Collaborative is now moving forward with three key areas of focus:

  • An Ongoing Learning Community -- Collaborative members can share insights and document learnings from the movements and organizations we're part of, exploring and pushing the envelope in areas like community building, healthy living, bridge building, collaboration, partnership, solidarity, healing, shifting resources, etc.   We will do this through an annual collaborative meeting and through ongoing written, pictorial and video documentation of our individual and collective dialogues and work.
  • Transformational Gatherings -- We will create and support transformational gatherings of diverse young changemakers working at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal, and systemic evolution.   These will include World Jams, regional and thematic Jams, and other aligned gatherings.
  • A Flow Fund -- We intend to raise the resources that enable each Collaborative member to have discretion over funds which they can use or distribute towards projects and initiatives that support the Collaborative's goals.   Among other things, funds might go to areas like: Exchanges or internships within the extended Jam community; development of facilitation tools and training resources; production and distribution of books, magazines, videos and web sites to share our stories and learnings; and sponsorship of regional Jams and other transformational gatherings.

If you have any questions or comments about the Collaborative, contact Tiffany Brown, Programs Manager, at


Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam
June 12-19, 2007, Green Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

By Ocean Robbins, YES! Founder/Director and LPSC Jam Organizer and Facilitator


Twenty-six diverse and privileged young changemakers gathered from Egypt, India, Canada and twelve US states for a week that explored privilege, power, human stories, and strategic impact at the fifth annual Leveraging Privilege for Social Change Jam.  Participants came with many diverse forms of privilege, from being the first in their families with Ivy League degrees to being young inheritors, from being prominent social change leaders to being entertainers in front of the spotlight nightly, and from being socially conscious entrepreneurs to being donor organizers.  

We opened up conversations about the privileges we carry, and the blessings as well as the shadow sides that come with them.  We explored our cultures of giving, and how our families and histories have nurtured in us a commitment to generosity and contribution.  We let loose with artistic expression, spoken word, hip hop, original songs, and art of all kinds as participants shared their struggles, their work and their love in creative and innovative ways.  We talked honestly about race, class and power, about how we've been impacted in diverse ways by the presence of pervasive violence and injustice, about the many ways we demonize those we fear could hurt us, and about the courage to love and believe again across the historic divides.  

We laughed, we sang, we shared our struggles and our dreams, and we built partnerships between a diverse network of leaders who are up to something in the world and who see tremendous opportunities for ongoing collaboration.  More than 20 new projects and opportunities for partnership were initiated, including among others an Art and Activism Jam/Tour, a mass-movement philanthropy project, an investment capital discussion group, an LPSC alumni reunion camping trip, and a Middle Eastern Jam.  

"The more time that gathers between me and the Jam the more I realize the breadth of what I learnt.  These days I borderline incessantly mention 'when I was in West Virginia...' I didn't think it would happen but it is true. The uniqueness of the Jam is that I did not learn from experts, panels or keynotes but rather through myself - myself as part of a community.  It is a rare experience in our frenetic world and one that will continue to shape me. Thank you for providing me with such an amazing experience that has translated into real results in my personal and professional life."

  -- Dev Aujla, 23, Founder & Director, DreamNow, Partner, aujCollections

If you would like more details about the LPSC program, please contact Tiffany Brown, Programs Manager, at


"Generation of Hope" House Parties - Save the Date!

YES! staff, House Hosts and Host Committee members are getting geared up for a series of House Party fundraisers with the theme, Generation of Hope.   Each event will feature a moving presentation by a troupe of extraordinary young global leaders.   The program will impact people at a deep level, opening hearts, offering hope, and inspiring guests to live with purpose and passion.

We will be sharing the extraordinary impact and depth of YES!'s work and the power of young people changing the world in the following cities:

Nevada City, CA, August 18
Portland, OR, September 30
New York City, NY, October 25
Boston, MA, October 26
Boulder, CO, October 30
Los Angeles, CA, November 11
San Francisco, CA, TBD
Marin County, CA, TBD
Portola Valley, CA, TBD
Santa Cruz, CA, TBD

YES! is holding these events as fundraisers and also as a catalyst for the "generation of hope" in our lives, in our communities, and in our precious and deeply troubled world.  House Hosts and Host Committee members are volunteering their homes and time to help with outreach in each community.   People will be respectfully invited to make a donation, but there will be no minimum or maximum gift. There is no cost to attend.  

If you are interested in hosting, supporting and/or attending a House Party, please e-mail Nga Trinh-Halperin, Development Manager at


Art in Action Camp Brings it On

By Maryam Roberts


“When I say ‘Art in’ you say ‘Action!’ When I say ‘Make it,’ y’all say ‘Happen!’ Art in Action! Make it Happen!” The energized crowd echoed back the Art in Action chant at Youth Voices Rising, the culminating community event of this year’s YES!-sponsored 7th Annual Art in Action Camp, July 8 – 13, in Calistoga, CA.

The “Silence the Violence,” theme brought youth from as far away as rural Alaska; Flagstaff, Arizona; Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; Los Angeles and the Bay Area. We gathered to build community and a collective performance piece calling for an end to violence – all in just 5 days! Participants wove together music, dance, theatre, spoken word, poetry, visual arts pieces, and digital stories into a performance to a sold out crowd in downtown San Francisco’s CounterPulse theatre.

A group of over thirty participants and facilitators, we gathered at the incredible Mayacamas Ranch. Participants enjoyed a dance studio, three digital music-recording stations, an outdoor visual arts arena, a digital storytelling studio, beautiful gardens, and amazing organic & healthy food. Bryant Terry, of the book Grub, joined us for a lunch-time Food Justice workshop, bringing together the importance of social justice and access to healthy foods in low income communities of color.

This year’s camp also featured the 2nd annual ‘Dig This Story!’ digital storytelling track, as well as a debut screening at the performance. If you are interested in supporting youth arts activism, you can buy the digital stories on DVD, and the music compilation CD, which includes all original music produced at camp. For more information on Art in Action, go to


All on Board Latin Jam: an educational journey


YES! Alumni and Latin Jam organizer Osmar Filho (Brasil) traveled through 10 countries in Latin America to visit Latin American Jam alumni, interviewing them and deepening relations.   He is producing a short documentary about this experience based on the more than 30 hours of footage he gathered.   Osmar wrote a special story for and the lead-in is below.   His blog which documents his trip in more detail is at

All on Board
By Osmar de Araujo Coelho Filho

The cities of São Paulo, Brasilia, Salvador, Fortaleza, Jericoacoara, Bélem, Salvaterra (Marajo island), Manaus, Rio Branco, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, Machu Pichu, Puno, La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz de La sierra, Pocinhos, Tucumã, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Porto Alegre... in the countries of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay...more than 8000 miles in 45 days using planes, boats and buses crossing several landscapes seeing how climate and environment have changed as well as people’s faces, dreams and answers in interviews about identity and diversity in Latin Jammers’ lives…

How to express such a great amount of richness and knowledge about South America? Finally after two years in a row organizing Latin Jams I visited some of the Jammers. They are more than 60! How they live, how Jams have helped them in facing diversity and identity issues in their own reality, how they have been striving to live in their communities in alignment with social and environmental justice? Those questions boosted me to make this trip, an internal journey of a South American man to see where he actually lives and how he can help South Americans to work and collaborate in learning communities of change-makers. And still it is difficult to put in words what I saw and felt traveling around my region…

For the full story, click here


An Expression of Gratitude and an Invitation to Support YES!

YES! is blessed with many partnerships in the work we do because real social transformation can only be accomplished by coming together in solidarity and action. Thank you to each of you who are bringing your resources and gifts – whatever they may be – into our collective journey towards a brighter future for generations to come.

The programs described in this newsletter, like all that we do, are committed to empowering, inspiring and connecting young leaders. If you are interested in contributing to YES! and helping young visionaries to build a better world, go to

If you have any questions, please contact Nga Trinh-Halperin, Development Manager, at

In addition to prayers, love, and financial contributions, YES! enthusiastically welcomes donations in kind, including particularly:

House Party Hosts • Airplane Tickets • Frequent Flyer Miles • Printing Services • Natural, Vegetarian Food (for YES! events) • Sites For Jams (beautiful spaces for groups of 30-60) • Quality Apple Computers & Printers • Hosts for Future Events • Interns and Volunteers • Transportation to and from airports • Non-profit Accountant • Global Travel Agent • Fundraising Associate • Event Planning Assistance • Graphic Designer • Web Designer • Skilled Web Database Programmer • Skilled Videographer • Good Vegetarian Chefs



Board of Directors:

Rev. angel Kyodo williams
Spiritual Director, New Dharma Meditation Center for Urban Peace, Oakland

Aqeela Sherrills
Founder & President, Community Self-Determination Institute, Watts

John Robbins
Board Chair Emeritus Author, Diet for a New America and Healthy at 100, Santa Cruz

Michele Bissonnette Robbins
YES! President, Santa Cruz

Richard Glantz
Attorney, Corte Madera

Advisory Board Members:

Evon Peter
Chairman, Native Movement, Flagstaff/Arctic Village

J. Manuel Herrera
Trustee, East Side Union High School District, San Jose

Kimberly Carter
Co-founder, Clear Compass Media, Santa Cruz

Laura Loescher
Co-founder, Changemakers, San Francisco

Special Thanks to Design Action Collective, Oakland, CA,


YES! is a nonprofit organization that connects, inspires and empowers young changemakers to join forces for a thriving, just and sustainable way of life for all through: Global Leadership Jams, the Leveraging Privilege for Social Change program, grantmaking, public speaking, and a global support network.   We work at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal, and systemic transformation.

Since 1990, YES! has spoken to more than 650,000 students and organized more than 90 week-long gatherings for visionary young leaders from 65+ nations. You can find more information at