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To challenge systems of privilege, and explore the individual and social impacts of oppression through experiential education and programming for youth and adults of diverse backgrounds
Camp Odyssey is Oregon’s only statewide, comprehensive program designed to both confront prejudice, oppression, and privilege and empower Oregon teens to become ambassadors for social justice, leadership, and civic engagement in their communities. Beyond a mere summer camp, Odyssey provides support for youth to transform their vision for a better community into action and breaks down barriers that keep underprivileged youth from accessing leadership development opportunities.
Camp Odyssey was founded by Class III of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon in reaction to the brutal murder by skinheads of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student, on the streets of Portland in 1988. The program ran for 12 years, until 2001, and transformed the lives of over 1000 diverse youth from every corner of Oregon. In 2010, a group of the original teenaged campers, now in their 30’s, took action to revive Odyssey for the benefit of future generations of Oregon youth. In 2011 Odyssey was designated an official Oregon Solutions sustainable program, affirmed by Governors John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski and a multi-sector group of statewide leaders. Camp Odyssey XV, the fifth iteration of the successfully revived camp, will take place in August 2015.