Discover your own best self

Discover your own best self

The American Youth Foundation inspires people to discover and develop their personal best, to seek balance in mental, physical, social and spiritual living, and to make a positive difference in their communities and in the wider world.

We’re a nonprofit youth development organization that engages thousands of youth year-round through community and school programs, summer camps, and leadership conferences at our beautiful properties, Merrowvista in New Hampshire and Miniwanca in Michigan.
Since 1925, we have welcomed young people from around the world to our campuses to discover the richness of our outdoor environments, the fun of interacting with a positive community, and the challenge of self-discovery.

Our communities, our nation, and our world are being changed daily by the coronavirus pandemic, and so too are the program possibilities for the AYF in 2020. We have come to the difficult realization that we will not be able to gather for residential programs at Miniwanca or Merrowvista this summer.

This cancellation includes summer camp at Miniwanca and Merrowvista, the National Leadership Conference, Summer Seminars for Women, and Alumni and Family Camp. Along with national leaders in outdoor programming, we are announcing that we need to make a major change of course this season. In this time of physical distance, we will offer only free online programming to connect our community until we can safely gather in person.

Read the complete message from AYF President Anna Kay Vorsteg

Invincible Summer 2020

July 6 to July 31

The AYF will offer a free month of online programming to supplement the work we do each year at Merrowvista or Miniwanca to help campers become their best selves and to connect with their camp communities.

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Set on 360 wooded acres and a mile of private Lake Michigan shoreline, Miniwanca Girls Camp and Boys Camp is a breathtaking and inspiring setting for growth.

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New Hampshire

Set on over 600 acres in the pristine Ossipee Mountains of New Hampshire, Merrowvista draws you into a life that is rustic, uncomplicated, and filled with excitement.

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National Leadership Conference

June 12-19, 2020

An 8-day conference for high school and college students, held in June at Miniwanca in Shelby, Michigan.

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Wow. Thanks. Help. An important COVID-19 update from the AYF

Dear AYF Community, Author Anne Lamott says there are essentially three prayers that get us through tough times: Help, Thanks, and Wow. This summer has …

Merrowvista, Miniwanca campers flock to Invincible Summer  

AYF campers across the country have spent the last two weeks building forts, logging miles on their virtual Four Trails treks, and teaching their families the sudsy fun of Arlos and Dishland.    Invincible Summer, the …

NLC-Z 2020: Final Presentations

In mid-June, participants from NLC convened online for this year’s National Leadership Conference on Zoom. They engaged in programming that connected them with their community, …

Zebra Crossings, AYF offer camp experiences for children with chronic health issues

For almost 100 years, the American Youth Foundation has built and relied upon a community of life-giving partners to ensure the growth and success of …

Learn to be an active anti-racist ally with Kids4Peace Boston

The American Youth Foundation’s longstanding partner, Kids4Peace Boston, is offering a free online training for preteens and teenagers who want to learn more about anti-racism work and how they can enact …

Wash Your Hands, Send Your Letters: Chapter 4

Coordinators Kal Bowers is back with another chapter of their of their original story, Wash Your Hands, Send Your Letters. This week, he checks in …

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