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From Coalition to Action:

How to Lead Change
in Your Community

Feb 21 - 23, 2024

Wednesday - Friday

This year’s summit will focus on building coalitions and leading action in your community.  Knowing how to form an alliance, work with people with differing perspectives, and drive change are key skillsets that sessions will cover.

The summit is composed of:

  • Three days of immersive experiences, from presentations to workshops
  • Sessions led by regional experts in climate, empowerment, and civic engagement skills
  • Sessions led by students sharing about experiences in their communities
  • Team building exercises and peer-to-peer learning opportunities
  • Cultural experiences and opportunities to explore Ashokan’s beautiful natural surroundings
  • Guidance to develop an Action Plan for each team to take back for implementation in their schools and communities

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 – 7 people ( 3 – 5 students and 1 – 2 teachers.). Some schools may bring more than one team if requested in advance.  Student ages range from upper middle school to high school.

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

Check out this Spectrum News feature on a past Youth Empowerment & Sustainability Summit!

Check out this video of Ithaca High School students presenting their Climate Action Plan back in their community! 

They attended the YESS Summit at the Ashokan Center in February, 2023.

Check-in will take place on Wednesday morning.  For schools that may need to arrive the night before, please request this in advance.  The event will end on Friday afternoon.

An adult participant from each school will carry and administer medications.  They will also be in charge of bunk supervision in our shared lodging.  

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

To request financial assistance please contact our education department at (845) 657-8333 x-14 or education@ashokancenter.org 

All meals and snacks are included in the summit.  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 gender identity.  School chaperones from your team will also be in charge of supervising students in the bunkhouse in addition to an Ashokan bunk attendant.  Pillows are available, but please bring your own pillow case, towel, and sleeping bag or bedding. 

TEACHER LODGING:  At least one teacher from your group will be in the bunkhouse with students.  If you have more than one teacher, additional teachers may also either be in this lodge or a nearby shared teacher lodge. Pillows are available, but 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. 

When you register, we hold spots for you, so we do not issue refunds unless there are extraordinary circumstances.  If you need to cancel, we can save the credit on file for you for a future trip.

PERSONAL ITEMS: Sleeping bag or blanket and linens, towel, soap, earplugs (for light sleepers), reusable water containers, and reusable thermoses. 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.

Ashokan Center (845) 657-8333 standard business hours

Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.  Wi-Fi calling and Wi-Fi texting works.

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. 

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

TRAIN There is an Amtrak station in Rhinecliff, NY.  You can arrange for a taxi from there to the Center, which is around 30 minutes away.

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.

Thank you to our partner organizations and sponsors for their support of the summit

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New Yorkers for Clean Power logo