Anytown Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Anytown Youth Leadership Institute?

The Anytown Youth Leadership Institute, a program of NCCJ St. Louis, is a unique 6-day residential program for high-school-aged youth. Anytown's goal is to prepare youth to be effective leaders and change agents who are dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and oppression. Youth participate in experiential learning activities and dialogue sessions designed to increase their understanding of human relations issues and of their own responsibility to create a community based on inclusion, trust, and mutual respect. 

When will this year's Institutes take place?

July 9-14, 2019

Is Anytown like other summer camps?

No. Anytown is more of a personal growth experience than a traditional summer camp. Activities include discussion groups, role-playing, learning exercises and presentations on a variety of human relations issues. Young people will be able to participate in, and learn from, activities that focus on ethnic and racial identity, stereotyping, communication, family issues, gender issues, sexuality, prejudice, and more. Most of the time is spent in discussion groups. There is some recreational time each day and traditional camp activities such as swimming, football, soccer, community building activities, games, and more are available.

Who can apply?

Anyone who is currently in the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade, in high school, or who is 15-18 years of age; current seniors are accepted on a limited basis. Students should be physically and emotionally capable of participating in an intense program that challenges them to discuss their experiences with, and attitudes about, human relations and social justice issues. NCCJ St. Louis encourages people of all racial, religious, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, class, cultural, physical ability, and other identity groups to apply.

How do I apply?

Complete the Anytown Youth Leadership Institute application on our website by clicking the link, filling out the application, and hitting the "submit" button.  It's that easy!

How many participants will be attending?

A maximum of 50 participants attend each Anytown session. Participants are supported throughout the week by 20-25 staff members, allowing for a low participant to staff ratio.

What about the Institute facility, housing and meals?

Anytown Institutes are held on a college campus. Sleeping spaces are air-conditioned, as are all meeting spaces. Meals are served three times a day and snacks and water are available throughout the day. Staff will handle basic medical needs; medical emergencies are handled by a nearby hospital.

Where does NCCJ get its Anytown staff?

Anytown staff is made up of a diverse group of NCCJ staff. The diversity of the staff is around many identities including age, socioeconomic class, sex, race, sexual orientation, gender, and religion. It consists of high school and college aged-youth who are Anytown graduates and adults from diverse professional backgrounds and life experiences. Staff receive over 40 hours of extensive training prior to Anytown.

How will I know if I am accepted?

You will receive a confirmation email and/or packet from NCCJ. It will include a confirmation letter, a map to the site where Anytown will be held, a list of what to bring to Anytown, and other important information.

What do I do if I need to cancel?

If for some reason you cannot attend the Institute, please call the NCCJ St. Louis office at (314) 432-2525. It is important that you notify us as soon as possible so that we can fill your space with someone from the waiting list. There will be no refunds of any fees for cancellations less than 30 days before the Institute or no-shows.