How to Apply

Want to make a difference in your community and learn how to become a stronger agent of change?

The 2024 Encampment will focus on civil and voting rights, July 2 – 23, in Montgomery, Alabama.

Join your peers (ages 15-18) from around the nation for an immersive experience in civil and voting rights. You will gain a deep understanding of the present, the past, and the future of civil and voting rights.

We will engage with the community of Montgomery to learn about the current and past struggles for fair housing, equity in education, clean water access, voting rights, and more. With help from our guest experts, museums, and community organizers, we will analyze strategies from the Civil Rights Movement and what organizers are doing today to address the current attack on civil rights and democracy. We will also examine the role of culture in social justice movements and find inspiration to continue working together to make our world more equitable and just for us all. Apply here.

We have a few spaces open for this year’s Encampment. Apply now to ensure your application is considered.

Do you have a group of young people who are interested in learning more? We can arrange for a virtual informational session. Contact us at

What to Expect:

  • Introduction to the EFC and its mission.
  • Highlights of the summer curriculum, location, workshops, and activities.
  • Insights from past participants who share their transformative experiences.
  • Q&A session — an opportunity to learn more about the program
With EFC’s community-based and arts-as-activism approach, you will:
  1. Learn about different approaches to organizing and policy change
  2. Incorporate the arts as part of organizing and community building strategies
  3. Learn group and meeting facilitation
  4. Understand intersectionality and the historical context of the civil rights movement and current social injustices
  5. Gain confidence in the power and knowledge that young people bring
  6. Participate in group decision-making processes and consensus building
  7. Learn practices that support health, wellness, and resilience, personally and in your community
  8. Develop interviewing skills, how to listen, ask questions, and hear people’s stories
  9. Experience the interconnectedness among different communities
  10. Develop your observational and questioning skills: see more deeply and see the details
  11. Strengthen your voice, including not being afraid of people disagreeing with you, except when it is unsafe
  12. Gain tools to deal with feeling discouraged or burnt out (can’t do it alone)
  13. Receive four months of follow-up support to develop an action plan.
  14. It may be possible to arrange school or community credit for your EFC experience & it provides a great topic for college application essays.

There will be a virtual pre-Encampment orientation and four months of follow-up programming in the fall. The 2024 virtual orientation will take place on: Thursday June 20 (12-3 PM ET/3-6 PM PT), Friday, June 21 (12 -3 PM ET/3-6 PM PT) and Saturday, June 22 (12 -3 PM ET/3-6 PM PT).

We have a few spaces open for this year’s Encampment. Apply now to ensure your application is considered. Click here for our 2024 flier.


A Different Kind of Learning

The Encampment is not “summer school.”

But Encampers will learn

  • About democracy by living democratically and reflecting on their lived experience.
  • About different cultures by living with peers from different backgrounds; Encampers grow by sharing their lives with others.
  • About leadership by working on projects with fellow Encampers.
  • About themselves by expanding their views of what they can accomplish in the world.

And each youth will learn by teaching others through sharing experiences, talents and friendship.

The Workshop Tradition

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., greeting Encampers.
2013 Encampment discussion
The Encampment has a long tradition of inspiring young people to become informed, active participants in their communities.

The heart of this tradition is the workshop. Encampers choose their workshops from a variety of topics. In their workshops, Encampers work closely with experienced, knowledgeable staff to investigate important issues. Then they share what they’ve learned with the larger Encampment community. Past workshop topics have included:

  • human rights and civil rights
  • racial, ethnic, and cultural identity
  • health and poverty and
  • environmental issues.

A Variety of Activities

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., greeting Encampers.
Maggie, Kendra, Madison and Kristin with Get Out The Vote materials at the 2018 InterGenerational Weekend.
Speakers, films, discussions, community service and activities ...

… planned by the Encampers themselves are all part of the Encampment experience. Social and recreational activities are also important components of the program.

Program FAQs

Where will my young person live during the Encampment?

Encampers are housed in a secure living space.

Rooms are shared by 2-3 youth and are often clustered in “pods.” Staff are housed alongside the youth in the same secure space. Encampers live in rooms and pods with other Encampers and staff of the same gender/gender identity.

What are the dining arrangements?

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided, along with snacks.

Dining is typically cafeteria-style with a variety of foods available. Please tell us about any special dietary needs so we make every effort to accommodate.

How can I contact my young person during the Encampment?

We encourage youth to stay in touch with their families via email or regular mail.

A mailing address will be provided to families. Phone calling is for emergencies only; a number will be provided to families.

Who will be at the Encampment?

The Encampment will bring together 30 young people and approximately five full-time staff.

Young people come to the Encampment from all over the United States and often from other nations as well. We aim for true diversity: racial/ethnic, geographic (all regions and a mix of rural, suburban, and urban environments), economic/class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. The experience of living, learning, and working together teaches valuable lessons that last a lifetime. Staff members come from a wide variety of backgrounds as well. We choose staff for their skill and experience working with teens, and for depth of knowledge about societal issues and active community involvement.

What are the behavioral expectations?

Encampers must agree to abide by certain basic rules of behavior.

Encampers are expected to treat other Encampers, staff, and guests with respect, and to participate fully in Encampment activities. Because this program involves living and working with people from very different backgrounds and confronting issues that can be challenging, Encampers must have the desire and capacity to embrace these situations and to grow and learn from them.   

What should my young person bring to the Encampment?

A packing list is provided upon acceptance into the program.

Encampers should bring casual clothing and footwear for the 3-week program, and one “business attire” outfit. Athletic and swimming attire are encouraged. Laundry facilities will be available. Encampers should bring appropriate toiletries. Check the packing list for whether linens are provided at the current year site. Encampers may bring musical instruments, water bottle, camera, cell phone (specific policies TBD), recorded music (iPod, etc.), books. You may bring a laptop or iPad, etc. but the Encampment is not responsible for these items.

Are there any items my young person should not bring?

Do not bring dangerous or illegal items.

Dangerous items such as knives or other weapons are not allowed. Illegal items are – of course – not allowed.

The Power of Creative Collaboration

Check out this music video re gentrification created by Hosea and Carter at the 2020 virtual Encampment. 

“…they give me tools that I didn’t realize I needed, to make an impact larger than myself.”

Lilia is both an alum of the 2020 virtual Encampment and a Pesticide-Free Soil Project (PFSP) intern.


Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

Click image for our 2024 flier.

Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

Ursa Piper and Melanie on community. Click image for video.

Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

2023 Encamper Ola’s recruitment pitch! Click image for video.

Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

2022 Encamper Jason’s spontaneous recruitment pitch! Click image for video.

Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

Click image for the Encampment video.

Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

Click image to hear Piper share her transformational experience at the EFC.

Eleanor Roosevelt with 1946 Encampers

2018-20 Encampers creating change in their home communities.

Application checklist

checkbox Application form

checkbox References

checkbox Required essays

checkbox Creative work

checkbox Fee waiver application (if needed)

I am Native American and I’ve had a life-changing experience at the Encampment.

Youth from all over the country, (along with) people from different countries, created a space in which we were comfortable to grow. Through this growing, we learned how to accept diversity, view a variety of perspectives, gain strategies to develop change and have our eyes opened to the world. I cannot express myself enough to show grateful I am to be a part of the Encampment community; it has given me my voice. I come from a place where I am silenced and my people are challenged with obstacles created through oppression. Now, I will tell you that I am no longer silent and I will speak up and out about social issues. This family we create here has given me the tools, guidance, connections and motivation to be a community leader and activist.


2016 Encamper, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD

We are strengthening democracy by creating community.