Culture Jam Is…
the Oregon Country Fair’s dynamic summer gathering for up to 55 youth ages 14-18. It takes place three weeks after the Fair on a parcel of the site we call Alice’s Wonderland. This inspiring 8-day,arts-based experience uses the exciting Creative Empowerment Model created by Charlie Murphy and Peggy Taylor (www.partnersforyouth.org). Today, Charlie and Peggy’s model is being replicated by youth organizations all over the world, empowering diverse teens to value their differences and live positive, engaged lives through discovering their unique sense purpose and creative potential.
“There’s a hunger for connection, there’s a hunger for authenticity, there’s a deep desire on the part of creative, caring adults to connect with the young generation in a meaningful way. Kids that come to the camps become part of a growing network of people who care about each other, who understand the power of creativity, and that understand that the nature of our time is really calling forth our ability to connect and create. We form a community that’s characterized by a deep sense of safety — so that people can, in a very natural and gentle way, discover their most powerful next steps.” – Charlie Murphy, co-founder of Power of Hope and Partners for Youth Empowerment
See Charlie explain how it all began, why so many of us have been inspired to do this work, and what happens during week-long camp model.
What Goes On?
Youth get to take part in a whole lot of high-energy, experiential, arts-centered workshops and activities. They also have the unique opportunity to learn from and create meaningful relationships with adult social change activists, artists and nature educators who come to spend the week and share their expertise. The workshops are a part of daily life with choosing from multiple workshop opportunities the norm: dancing, drumming, spoken word, nature appreciation, circus arts, theatre improvisation, fashion arts and singing, inner work and community activism — just a sampling. Writing and hip hop, painting, teaching each other things that are important to us; there is something for everyone. Culture Jam is also a place where learning about and sharing many points of view add to the mix. Staff and youth alike are thrown into the creative soup to create a tight-knit community that recognizes the power of appreciating difference.
How it Happened
In 2000, Leslie Scott (General Manager of the Fair at the time), brought Charlie and Peggy’s exciting youth work to the attention of the OCF Board. With her signature tenacity and enthusiasm, she encouraged them to allow the Fair to produce a youth event based on their approach. She argued that this arts-based, change-the-world, youth empowerment model was a perfect program match for our organization. It took some time and support of many to convince, but in time, board members voted a unanimous “YES!” and began moving toward the production of a one-week event.
Within a year, City of Eugene Recreation Services got on board by providing staff and transportation for water activities, scholarship support and youth outreach. This rich partnership continues to this day. The partnership with Charlie and Peggy’s Partnership for Youth Empowerment has also continued. To date, CJ has received support from several organizations through grants including the David C. and Lura M. Lovell Foundation of Arizona, Jayne an Stephen Lovell and The Rex Foundation. Many generous individuals and businesses continue to donate everything from art supplies, quality food for the kitchen, and charitable gifts. Fundraising to help support Culture Jam continues.
Thanks to Leslie, the steady endorsement of the OCF Board, and Culture Jam’s heartfelt volunteers and supporters, this life-giving event is alive and well!
Volunteers are central to a successful Culture Jam gathering. Every year we bring together an dynamic group of youth, artists, activists, youth workers, educators, and other creative adults. To apply to be a Youth Mentor or work in the Culture Jam Kitchen click for more info about volunteering.
Tuition for the 8-day sleep-over event is $450, scholarship funding is available. We are committed to making Culture Jam available to all youth regardless of economic circumstance.
Financial assistance is available through the Culture Jam Scholarship Fund. Ask about the scholarship process when you register.
How to Register
Returning Youth: Email the Fair office between April 1st and April 15th (email address is below). A minimum of $100 toward your tuition is required to save your space unless you will be applying for scholarship. If you will be seeking scholarship support, this is the time to ask about the process and get it started.
New Youth Lottery Entry: Email the Fair office between April 15th and May 1st (email address is below). Make sure to include full name, birth date, gender identification and cultural background of the teen entering. No deposit is necessary at this stage. Notifications will go out on or before May 16th. If you are notified of placement, a minimum of $100 toward tuition will be required to save the space unless you will be applying for scholarship. If you will be seeking scholarship support, this will be the time to ask about the process and get it started.
If you have further questions feel free to contact us:
c/o The Oregon Country Fair
442 Lawrence St., Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 203-0296