Newly Updated!
A Complete Guide to LYF Camp

We want to help you learn about LYF Camp and share with you some of the amazing things we’re doing. Let us know if you have any further questions, or want to know even more about camp!

LYF Camp 2022 Virtual Info Session
Saturday, February 5th @ 7-8pm

Learn more about the event and RSVP here


What is LYF Camp?

LYF Camp is a 6 day 5 night Taiwanese American youth leadership summer camp based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Leading Youth Forward (LYF, pronounced “life”) is a non-profit community organization led by second generation Taiwanese Americans who are building a camp community to foster growth, exploration, and discovery. Through LYF Camp, we provide a safe environment for youth to discover and develop who they are, and to work towards their full potential. All of our activities are designed to fulfill one or more of the following goals:

  • Cultivate their leadership and communication skills.
  • Deepen the campers’ understanding of their unique cultural heritage.
  • Nurture the campers’ interests and passions.
  • Connect them with other Taiwanese Americans.

Campers who have completed grades 4 through 12 can register. Although we largely serve Taiwanese American youth, we encourage anyone of any ethnic origin interested in Taiwanese American culture, values, and leadership to attend.

Watch the LYF Intro Video


Camp Environment

Small Groups

Campers are split by age into groups of 8 to 10. Led by two counselors, the small group is the campers’ family over the duration of camp. The majority of activities are done in small groups, such as group spirit and workshops. On the final night of camp, each group also performs a skit put together by the campers themselves. The purpose of small groups is to foster in-depth group discussions during workshops and to help develop life-long friendships with fellow campers.

Staff

LYF staff are dedicated college students and young professionals from all around the Bay Area who love youth, education, and community. We volunteer our time and money to ensure a strong future generation of Taiwanese American leaders. Staff are essential to creating and fostering the small group environment. LYF staff act as role models to the youth and work together to create a safe place for campers to explore and freely express themselves.

Schedule

Our schedule is packed full of fun workshops, clinics, games, and other activities. The day starts with breakfast at 8am and programming ends at 9pm. Additionally, campers can spend their free time to play cards with their small group, play basketball with other sporty campers, practice dance with their clinic, or even take a nap to recharge for the next activity.

View a sample camp schedule here

Campus: Green Mountain Retreat

Photos © Green Mountain Retreat

LYF Camp 2022 will be held at Green Mountain Retreat, located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a short drive away from downtown Los Gatos. Set among 66 acres of majestic redwood and oak woodlands, this campsite provides plenty of indoor and outdoor space for campers to learn and play. Staff and campers will be sleeping in dorm-style buildings, assigned by age and gender.

Learn more about Green Mountain Retreat here.


The core of LYF Camp revolves around our workshops.

Developed by our very own staff, the workshops are designed to explore major themes: Leadership, Communication, Identity, and Community. We teach our campers important life skills and encourage them to examine what being Taiwanese American means to themselves, and the impact that they could make in our communities. We hope that after years of LYF Camp, our campers will be well-rounded youth leaders, motivated and prepared to take on the next step in life.

Leadership comprises of a myriad of skills such as vision forecasting, goal setting, people management, etc. At LYF Camp, we plant the seed, foster these skills, and encourage every camper to find that one thing that they are passionate about and willing to take up the responsibility to lead.

Communication is essential in this day and age; especially as more communication occurs online through emails, texts, and chats, face to face communication becomes more valuable. We teach campers how to give and receive feedback, how to communicate with their team, how to apologize, etc.

Identity is a combination of who you were, who you are, and who you want to be. At LYF Camp we ask the hard questions to foster in depth discussions and explorations into personal, cultural, and community identity.

Community is where LYF Camp’s roots reside. LYF Camp would not happen without the staff, alumni, campers, parents, and local businesses that volunteer and donate time, money, and supplies. We hope to encourage our campers to pursue other amazing accomplishments that can be achieved by harnessing the power of community.


LYF Camp 2017:
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Self-Compassion

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” refers to the unique journey each of us takes in life and how self-compassion is essential to navigating the mountain range of our past, present, and future.

LYF Camp 2018:
My LYF as a ___
Self-empowerment

It can be intimidating to outline who you want to be in life and how to get there. We ask our campers to have confidence in their abilities and to approach the unknowns with curiosity.

LYF Camp 2019:
Simply LYF
Mindfulness

In the hubbub of our busy lives, taking a moment to appreciate and be present with those around us allows us to better connect with ourselves and our communities.

LYF Camp 2021:
家庭 Means Family
Relationships

Family comes in all shapes and sizes. The better we understand each others’ values in a relationship, the better we’re able to support each other and face life’s circumstances together.


Case Study: Rejection Workshop

Concept:
Rejection and failure is a part of life, just as much as success and achievement is a part of life. Although rejection and failure can be very unsavory, we can become much stronger as individuals and people if we learn how to accept rejection instead of fear it. By accepting rejection and failure as a normal part of life, we can free ourselves from paralyzing fear and prevent fear from stopping us from even trying.

Activity:
The workshop gave each camper time to introspectively think about their own interests and skills, to narrow down and identify what in their lives they are willing to fail at, pick themselves up and keep trying. These interests, in which campers are willing to fail on the way to success, are their passions and we encouraged each camper to keep up and work at their passions for the rest of their lives.

Finally, we played a game called rejection therapy to desensitize the campers to hearing “no”. The goal of the game was to gain points by seeking out rejection by asking their peers increasingly silly or ridiculous requests. By making rejection the goal, the campers will slowly unlearn the negative associations we have with rejection.


Case Study: Puzzle Universal Workshop

Concept:
In today’s modern world, we are simultaneously more connected and more disconnected than human civilization has ever been. The internet and cell phones have allowed us to be connected all the time; however we only connect with those who think like ourselves, disconnecting ourselves from diverse viewpoints and dissenting opinions. A community consists of all individuals and groups whether or not they agree with you, and the ideal community would be able to put aside their differences and work together to accomplish shared goals.

Activity:
The Puzzle Workshop was a game designed to show campers that each group has a part to play in the larger picture. The goal was to complete a one thousand piece puzzle, except each group was only given one fourth of the puzzle to work on before rotating to another one fourth of a different puzzle. If the previous group did not accomplish too much, then the current puzzle would be challenging. Campers learned that each of us has a part to play, and hard work must be invested even if you may not personally see the fruits of your efforts.

This style of thinking is necessary to tackle community and population sized problems such as climate change, an issue that does not affect us on an individual level but only on a global level. We hope that our campers can add this thinking style to their tool set and apply it in their own lives.


Clinics

Clinics are activities designed to nurture and expand campers’ interest in sports, science, art, culture, or performing arts. Staff from various backgrounds employ skills from their careers or hobbies to teach, awe, and entertain the campers. We hope our campers step outside their comfort zones, learn something new, make new friends, and have fun while doing it! We constantly add new clinics and recycle old ones so every year is fresh and different.

Performing Arts

A Capella, Branch Mobile Sculptures, Hip Hop Dance, Hula Dancing, Improv, Poetry Rap Expression, Taiwan Appreciation, Taiwanese Movie, Taiwanese Trivia

Sports

Basketball, Boot Camp, Chinese Yo Yo, Flag Football, Sponge Tag, Treasure Hunt, Ultimate Frisbee, Water Balloon Dodge Ball, Water Balloon Volleyball

Arts and Crafts

Bookbinding, Crayon Melting, Knot Tying, Lanyards, Origami, Painting, Pinecone Owls, Tape Mural, Chinese Hackey Sack

Night Clinics

Capture the Flag, Colored Fire, Escape the Room, Glowsticks & Light Writing, Jar of Stars, Murder Mystery, Night Hike, Solar System Walk

Food and Science

Bottle Rockets, Fruit DNA Extraction, Dry Ice, Dumplings, Ice Cream Making, Mochi, Sun Bleaching, Tie-Dye, Ombre, Terrariums


LYF Camp weaves together Taiwanese culture and the American summer camp to create a truly unique Taiwanese American experience.

The culture of Taiwan stems from the melting pot of ethnicities that make up Taiwan: the values that the people hold, the recreational activities the people enjoy, the habits people form while living out their lives in Taiwan, and perhaps most importantly the food. Passing down one’s culture while living in a different country is immensely difficult, but here at LYF Camp we weave together Taiwanese culture and the American summer camp to create a truly unique Taiwanese American experience.

To give our campers a glimpse of Taiwanese life, mornings start with a bit of 晨練 (morning calisthenics) to get the blood pumping! Each day we feature some kind of Taiwanese cuisine in our activities: campers can eat 粽子 (Taiwanese tamale) and drink 珍珠奶茶 (pearl milk tea) at our 夜市 (night market), or learn how to make 年糕 (mochi) or 水餃 (dumplings), or enjoy some refreshing 刨冰 (shaved ice) after running around in the hot sun. We also teach our campers a few Taiwanese phrases such as (lí chia̍h pá bōe) to use in their small group skits performed at the end of camp.

Many of our workshops and activities are developed through a Taiwanese American perspective. For example, studying Taiwanese role models, learning about Taiwanese and Taiwanese American history, and emphasizing Taiwanese values such as education, hard work, and family. When LYF Camp explores identity as one of its themes, the workshops go in depth into Taiwanese American identity. A previous identity workshop explored the duality of Chinese and Taiwanese culture, compared the differences and similarities, discussed whether identity is a choice, and shared the struggles Taiwanese people experience identifying as Taiwanese.


Parent’s Program

The Parent’s Program is a celebration of song, dance, and performance by your very own children to highlight the week’s achievements and memories. Parents will get the chance to experience camp for themselves and learn exactly what it is we do at LYF Camp. We’ll show you exciting video footage from the past week.

Important!

This year, Parent’s Program will be held at 2pm on Saturday, July 2nd at Green Mountain Retreat. LYF Camp will end after Parent’s Program and Closing Ceremony have been concluded. If you are unable to pick up your camper(s) at this time, please make arrangements with another parent.

Watch the LYF Camp 2016 Video



Transportation

Due to the close proximity of Green Mountain Retreat, LYF Camp will not be providing complimentary buses to or from the campsite. Parents will need to check their campers in at the campsite on the first day of camp and pick them up on the last day.

Medications

Prescription or over-the-counter medications can be checked in to the LYF Camp staff upon arrival at bus pickup or at campsite. Make sure to include the doctor’s instructions on medication dosage and frequency. Alternatively, you may opt to have your child keep their medications with their own possessions and take it on their own accord. We leave it up to the parent’s discretion to decide whether the child or LYF Camp staff should be responsible for personal medications. Medications must be declared regardless of who is responsible for administering the medication(s). Please contact us if you have any specific questions or concerns regarding your child’s medications.


2022 LYF Camp Info

Camp Dates
Mon. June 27 – Sat. July 2, 2022

Location
Green Mountain Retreat
19480 Bear Creek Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95033

Early Registration is open!
Early Registration
Dec 15th – Feb 15th

$800

General Registration
Feb 16th – Apr 15th

$850

Late Registration
April 16th – May 15th

$900

View our Registration Policy for more details on sibling discounts, financial aid, and cancellation policy.

Registration Overview
Step 1

Fill out our online registration form. Payment is through the online form with credit or debit card. Please email lyf@tacl.org if you require another method of payment.

Register Here!

Step 2

Once you have successfully submitted the registration form, you will be sent a registration confirmation email, which is a receipt for your records. After both your payment and your registration have been processed, your registration is complete!

Step 3

Wait excitedly until mid-May for your Welcome Packet, which you will receive via email. This will include detailed information about camp including: camp schedule, camp rules, packing list, pickup and drop off instructions, Parents Program information, etc.

If you have any questions about the registration process, please email us at lyf@tacl.org.


Does my child need to be Taiwanese to attend LYF Camp?

Not at all! We encourage anyone interested in Taiwanese American culture, values and leadership to attend. In fact, we have had several Vietnamese American, Korean American, Japanese American, and Chinese American campers.

Wow! What an awesome organization! How can I make a contribution?

Thank you for your support! We rely on donors to keep our camp running every year. You can contribute in many ways, from food and material donations, to covering our apparel or transportation costs. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our donation page here.

Do you offer financial assistance?

Yes! We do not want camp fees to prevent you from attending camp. Every year, we have options for families that may need financial assistance. Please email lyf@tacl.org to find out if you qualify.

How do I cancel my registration? Will I receive a refund?

We are sorry to hear you are unable to make Camp this year! Please send an email with your camper’s name to lyf@tacl.org in order to cancel your registration. For LYF Camp 2021, cancellations will be fully refunded until July 26th, with no penalty. Hope you can make it next year!

My child would like to attend camp but has a conflict. Can I pull him/her out of camp for a short period?

If your child has a conflict due to extra-curricular activities (graduation, recitals, etc.), you can pull him/her out of camp early for the conflict. Simply note on our registration form when you are picking up your child. Due to COVID-19 safety considerations, campers will not be able to arrive late this year, or leave and return to camp.

My child cannot make the entirety of LYF Camp. Will my fee be prorated?

Because we would love all campers the opportunity to join us at Camp, they are welcome to leave early if need be. Unfortunately, we do not prorate for this time, and the excess fee goes towards supporting our camp for the upcoming years.

How is it possible to keep camp fees so low?

Our goal is to provide the LYF Camp experience to as many campers as possible, so we rely on community donations to keep our camp fees to the absolute minimum. If the camp fee is a financial burden, please contact lyf@tacl.org to inquire about financial assistance. LYF Camp runs as a non-profit organization by unpaid staff with minimal overhead. In fact, we are always looking for donations to keep our camp healthy so we can operate in future years! To make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our donation page here.

Can my camper join the group with a sibling/friend in a different age group?

Campers are pre-arranged into their respective age groups before Camp begins. However, there are many camp wide activities that all campers will participate in together. There is also free time allotted every day for campers to relax, nap, or hang out with campers from other groups.

Does a summer camp mean my kids will be living in tents?

No, LYF Camp is held at conference centers or youth camps. Campers will be living in gender separated cabins with their small groups, which are equipped with bunk beds and bathrooms. Activities are held both outdoors and indoors, in large meeting halls.

What is the food like at Camp?

Our campsite provides three well-balanced meals daily, and vegetarian options are always available. The kitchen staff strives to provide a nutritious menu that appeals to all of our campers. Please make sure to indicate all dietary restrictions on your child’s registration form.

What is the weather like at LYF Camp?

In June, average temperatures in Los Gatos, CA, range from 73F to 55F. Note that depending on the year, environmental allergies at Green Mountain Retreat may differ.

Can I visit my child at Camp?

Unfortunately, we do not allow families to visit the campers during the week because it interrupts your child’s adjustment to LYF Camp.

What does my camper need to bring to Camp?

A LYF Camper Info Packet will be emailed as LYF Camp approaches. It will include a complete packing list, as well as a schedule and map of the campsite. Some essentials are clothing for 7 days, closed-toed shoes, swimsuit, pillow, toiletries, flashlight, and water bottle. Do not bring any electronics such as computers, gaming devices, tablets, mp3 players, etc.

How can I get involved with LYF Camp?

LYF Camp is a purely volunteer run organization, there are many opportunities to help out! Directly, you can volunteer for LYF Camp staff as a counselor or synthesis member. Please contact lyf@tacl.org for more information about volunteering.

I can’t take a whole week off of work to volunteer at LYF Camp, how else can I help?

Indirectly, LYF Camp needs food, snacks, craft supplies, office supplies, and other miscellaneous items to make camp happen. Donating these items or making a monetary contribution will greatly assist us in making LYF Camp bigger and better. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our donation page here. LYF also volunteers at other major community events such as the Taiwanese American Cultural Festival, Kids N’ Fun Festival, and we host a Summer Family Camping Trip for kids, parents, and families of all ages. Please contact lyf@tacl.org for more information.