loader image

Wednesday - Saturday

Feb. 6 - 8, 2020

Co-presented by the Ashokan Center and Woodstock Day School

The Youth Empowerment & Sustainability Summit (YESS!) is a global climate solution and leadership summit for young people who are ready to change their lives and their communities by working towards climate resilience. The three-day event is designed to empower students from middle school through college by teaching them to develop solutions-based thinking and civic engagement skills. YESS! will be held in the heart of the Hudson Valley at the beautiful and historic Ashokan Center, where environmental education has been a priority since 1967.


Each team is made up of 4-6 people (3-4 students and 1-2 teachers.)

One adult participant must act as team leader and register for themselves and their team.

Participants will gain:

  • Three days of immersive solution-based thinking developed by a youth planning committee
  • Peer-to-peer learning sessions
  • Sessions with cutting-edge regional scientists and climate experts
  • Hands-on workshops with individuals skilled in leadership development, empowerment and civic engagement skills
  • Cultural experiences and opportunities to explore Ashokan’s beautiful natural surroundings
  • Guidance to develop a YESS! Action Plan for each school team to take back for implementation in their schools and communities


The Ashokan Center is an outdoor education, conference, and retreat center located in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Schools have used Ashokan’s “classroom” of forests, waterfalls, stream-fed ponds, and open meadows for over 40 years.

Woodstock Day School is a progressive independent school set on a beautiful 40-acre campus in New York’s pristine Hudson Valley.

Program begins Wednesday morning at 9am. We’re offering an extra night of lodging (Tuesday) at no extra charge for those who prefer to arrive that evening. Please select this option during your registration.

9am: check-in and lodging assignments
10am: Welcome Presentation Jeanne Flemming, Jim Hanson
11am: Pair/Share time for students to develop questions, followed by 40 min Q&A with Jim
12:30 Lunch (food waste challenge)
1:30 Team Building
2:15 Young Voices for the Planet with Lynne Cherry
3:30 & 4:30 breakout groups: How to effectively Communicate with Tim Guinnee and Sunrise Youth Presentation
5:30 Dinner
7:00 Wild Center 



Students will be supervised by our skilled staff. Medical needs must be submitted during registration and will be handled accordingly.

$500 includes all workshops and activities, lodging, and meals. This price applies to all students or teacher/administrators attending. 

To request financial assistance please call or email Dan Shornstein (845) 657-8333 x-27 dan.shornstein@ashokancenter.org 

All meals and snacks are included in the summit. You may select omnivore, no red meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

STUDENT LODGING: Student Lodging is in shared large bunk rooms designated by age and/or gender with up to 24 students in each room.  Ashokan Center Educator Staff will act as supervisory bunk chaperones at night. Pillows are available, please bring your own pillow case, towel, and sleeping bag or bedding. 

TEACHER LODGING:  Teacher Lodging is in smaller shared bunk rooms with 2 to 4 teachers in each room. Pillows are available, please bring your own pillow case, towel, and sleeping bag or beddingThere are light quilts in each teacher room.

There are a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance.

Please email us with specific food or lodging questions and requests.

You must pay in full when you register. 

Partial refunds are available until {2_WEEKS_OUT} (two weeks before summit begins.) We retain $50 per person for cancellations up to that date. We retain the full registration amount for cancellations after {2_WEEKS_OUT}.

PERSONAL ITEMS: Sleeping bag or blanket and linens, towel, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance and we’ll do our best. Hand-held recorders are welcome. 

CLOTHING: Prepare for weather to vary from cold and snowy to cool and rainy. Hats, gloves, and boots are a must for outdoor activities!

Incoming mail

Your Name c/o Ashokan Music & Dance
477 Beaverkill Rd, 
Olivebridge, NY 12461

Outgoing mail leaves each weekday at 4pm.

Dan Shornstein (845) 246-2121 x 27, or (845) 417-6119 cel 
Ashokan Center (845) 657-8333 standard business hours

Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.

High speed Wi-Fi is available in all buildings.

Physical Address:
Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

Take NY State Thruway (1-87) to Kingston exit #19.
From traffic circle take Route 28 West (toward Pine Hill).
In 12 miles (shortly after Mobil & Citgo) turn left onto Reservoir Rd.
Cross the Ashokan Reservoir, turn left at the Tee.
Head down the hill, pass the first left (Rt 28A East) and merge onto 28A West.
Take next left onto Beaverkill Rd.
Follow Beaverkill for about one mile, then turn right into the Ashokan Center driveway and follow the signs.

AIRPORT  Albany, NY (ALB) is the closest major airport (about 1.5 hours away). Public transportation is available from the airport to the Kingston bus station, where you can take a taxi to Ashokan. Or contact us at least one month before your program begins for a list of people driving from the Albany area who may be able to give you a ride.

BUS  Trailways (800)858-8555 runs buses from Port Authority terminal in Manhattan to Kingston, NY (2 hours).

 If you’re arriving by public transportation and would like assistance finding a ride to Ashokan please contact Dan dan.shornstein

< Join the Ashokan New Year’s FaceBook Group to connect with people plan to attend and share photos and memories after the camp!