This summer, 30 teens from a wide variety of backgrounds will live for three weeks in a multicultural Encampment community where they will explore in-depth issues of concern to them and our society. They will participate in the life-changing experience that has created decades of social change activists—and make life-long friends.

The 2014 Encampment will take place at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The program will be housed in a beautiful, modern dormitory featuring spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

Our summer recruitment drive begins now! Please contact for more information, and spread the word. Application materials are available on our website and also here:

Youth applications are due by March 3 for early acceptance; April 15 is the application deadline.

We are also seeking applications for the 2014 Program Director and for 2014 Summer Staff members. Information is available here:

Job applications are due by February 24. Questions? Contact

“The Encampment program is based on the assumption that to learn to be a citizen the individual must have an actual experience in democratic living and citizenship in a democratic community…It is not enough to learn the principles and ideals of democracy. We learn democracy by living it.” —Al Black

The goal of the Encampment is to develop responsible, informed, effective, and courageous global citizens. At the Encampment, youth of different religious, racial, socio-economic, and national backgrounds learn the principles and practices of democracy by living it. The Encampment provides young people with an experience in addressing community problems and equips them for the responsibilities of community participation and democratic action. Our purpose is to help young people learn what it means to live in a true democracy and how that connects with issues of personal responsibility and responsibility to and for a group, community, nation, and world.

This summer’s Encampment will bring back the workshop format, which enables Encampers and staff to dig into a topic in-depth over the course of the 3-week program. This work will be supported through speakers and topic-related field trips. Encampers will grapple with the challenges of developing a community decision-making process (community government) that represents and takes into account the opinions and thoughts of all community members. Staff and Encampers will relate the issues that arise in the Encampment community to the larger societal issues they are investigating. The staff will use the time-honored Encampment process of questioning to help Encampers understand the relationship between what may seem like a personal issue to its larger societal context. This process challenges youth to think more deeply and completely. As social issues are discussed and examined at the Encampment, they take on personal meaning, because they are expressed through the lived experience of individual youth whose lives embody the issues in various ways.

These transformative experiences ripple through Encampers’ lives as a lifetime resource. Encampers’ ability to rigorously interrogate issues and situations prevents them from falling prey to dogmatism and unthinking action. Their experience of multicultural, democratic living equips them to live and work in a complex, diverse world. Encampment alums participate thoughtfully and responsibly in local, national, and global communities.

The 2014 Encampment is the next step in developing the 21st century Encampment programming and building a sustainable organization. Join us in this valuable work, and help build a new generation of leaders committed to justice and democratic action.