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Youth Empowerment & Sustainability Summit 

A Youth Climate Leadership Intensive

February 12-14, 2023

at the Ashokan Center • 477 Beaverkill Rd Olivebridge, NY USA

Times of uncertainty and change call for innovative problem solvers who can reimagine the world and become effective agents of change in their schools and communities.

Teams of 4 students and 1 teacher are invited to participate in this collaborative, and empowering 3-day leadership intensive. Each team will investigate impactful solutions in three key areas:


agriculture, soil, composting


today’s materials & the future of regenerative design


green innovations 

& opportunities

The summit begins Thursday morning and concludes Saturday afternoon. Click to view the schedule from the 2020 event.

A truly unique opportunity for young leaders to

  • Experience conversations facilitated by youth & adult experts 
  • Become inspired by climate scientists and innovators
  • Practice and build leadership, partnership, and presentation skills
  • Learn self-care, resilience, and perseverance techniques
  • Work through feelings of hopelessness and disconnection 
  • Connect and collaborate with like minded peers

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? Identify a team of 4 students (grades 7 – 11 in the ‘22 – ‘23 school year) and 1 adult (teacher, administrator or buildings & grounds staff)

WHAT’S THE COST? $2,500 per team. We offer partial scholarships and flexible pricing to schools or students who require financial assistance. Please contact us for more information. Public schools are eligible for State Aid through a BOCES COSER. Other sources of funding include: Education or Science Foundations, PTA/PTO, fund raising. 

WHAT’S INCLUDED? All meals, lodging, workshops, materials, activities, and pre and post summit materials.

Each team will leave with a support network & toolkit to help with implementing action plans, moving forward locally, and connecting and interacting globally!

YESS! will be held in the heart of the Hudson Valley at the beautiful and historic Ashokan Center, where environmental education has thrived since 1967. 

We are looking forward to welcoming a socio-economically diverse cohort of schools from up and down the Hudson River Valley and the international community. 

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

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 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 bedding. There are light quilts in each teacher room.

This year's summit is presented by:

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.

Center for Sustainability & Climate Education, Dutchess County BOCES a dedicated resource to support sustainability and climate change work throughout our school communities, engaging and empowering all K-12 educators and students to contribute to a socially and ecologically sustainable future.

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center [MHTC] is to enhance teaching as a profession. MHTC fosters student achievement by providing teachers with state of the art strategies and technologies reflecting current societal demands in Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties. The teacher center is a place where the educator’s voice is heard and a community of learners is built through the talents of teachers.

Click Here for YESS! 2020 Schedule

The summit begins Thursday morning and concludes Saturday afternoon.

Click to view the schedule from the 2020 event.

We’re offering an extra night of lodging (Wednesday) at no extra charge for International teams or others who prefer to arrive that evening. Please select this option during your registration.

Detailed schedule will be shared in September.

You must pay in full when you register.

Partial refunds are available until Thursday, Jan 23, 2020 (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 Thursday, Jan 23, 2020.

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