As an upbeat story, I want to share that our Camp Fire Teens in Action in Santa Maria are thriving. We recently celebrated five groups who finished their first eight-week experience in completing a community service project using the Thrive methodology. The teens are very proud of what they have accomplished, but even more exciting is how they want to make an impact in their community and how Thrive is shaping and directing their passions.
We continue to hear from dynamic youth who express their desire to do more projects. In fact, several of them are emerging as outstanding leaders. They have inspired our Camp Fire council to develop a Youth Leadership Academy, which we are finalizing in hopes of launching in the near future. Our plan is to make it a yearlong program.

I would like to once again thank the Weingart Foundation for matching the Thrive Foundation in making this experience possible. We are looking to work with 200 students this upcoming year, primarily with Hispanic youth, in Santa Maria. These high-risk youth are taking full advantage of the opportunity to have a voice and to address social and school issues that are meaningful to them. It has been a very exhilarating experience for me and my staff to witness the enthusiasm and change in our youth.

By Kenneth Miles, Executive Director, Camp Fire Central Coast of California