I attended Anytown Leadership Camp in 2018 as a delegate and Anytown has changed my life.
For starters, I made a lot of friends at Anytown. I liked that we would get together to do ice breakers and fun activities to start the day and sing by the campfire with everyone in the evening.
During the day we would participate in exercises that brought awareness to issues facing our world.
We got to have interesting conversations during and after the activities on what we saw and how we felt and learned about how everyone has different experiences. I got to learn about different cultures and religions and the activities that we did brought so much awareness to me. Every moment of what we did was powerful.
The topic that really got to me at camp was learning about Ableism.
Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities. The Ableism program really affected me. During this program at camp, I started to feel proud of who I am and proud for having Autism. When I shared about my experience I didn’t feel shame and saw others being proud of who they are too. I grew so much confidence during Anytown, that on Talent Night, I went up and performed the song “Scars to Your Beautiful” in front of everyone.
In one of the last activities of the week, Anytown had us write down our goals and obstacles on a wooden board. We were then going to learn to break the boards. When I wrote mine down, I decided that I was ready to break my board on the “obstacle” side to show that I am not going to let any obstacles that I face keep me from wanting to achieve goals for myself.
When I left camp, I always kept the Anytown spirit with me. Anytown inspired me to keep moving forward. I left camp not only with leadership experience, but with wanting to spread love and kindness to everyone. I continue to be involved at school and out in the community.
I recently started to volunteer with an organization called Lucha. I’ve been volunteering with Lucha for almost 2 years. When I learned about what Lucha was and what they stood for, I knew at that moment that it was something I wanted to do and be a part of. We invite people to our events and talk about the issues happening in the Latinx community. We talk about voting and how every vote matters. Like Anytown, we talk about how to use our voices to make change.
Lucha has motivated me to use my voice to stand for my community. Tu Lucha es mi Lucha!
And – I thank Anytown for where I am today. I hope to one day return as an Anytown counselor and to get more youth to come to camp so they can learn and have the same experience I did!
Ivonne Estrella Dominguez
Maryvale High School
Anytown Alumni Class of 2018