(Image courtesy LDS Media Library)

Especially For Youth is popular among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and for good reason. Youth love the program because it’s fun and inspiring, and parents love it because it helps youth build testimonies in an environment conducive to gospel living.

However, the popularity of the program has made it difficult for everyone who is interested to participate. Here are four alternatives.

1. BASECamp 

BASECamp was founded by Greg Tanner, a Cedar Hills resident who directed the Especially for Youth Programs Department at BYU for 12 years. The camp focuses on helping youth learn and teach the gospel, preparing a new generation of Church members to participate in the hastening of the work of salvation.

BASECamp is so named for two reasons: first, a base camp is the place where mountain climbers prepare for the ascent ahead, which has symbolic meaning; second, BASECamp is an acronym for Believe. Act. Serve. Endure.

BASECamp sessions are currently held in Utah, Idaho, Virginia and Illinois and offer a Family Affordability Act, which gives half-price registration to siblings after one registers at full price. Visit the BASECamp website for more information.

2. Humanitarian Experience for Youth

Humanitarian Experience for Youth, or H.E.F.Y., is headquartered in Provo and will be available in 11 countries around the world in 2015. The group conducts international service expeditions to help youth build character, gain life experience, embrace world cultures and build lasting relationships. The humanitarian service provided by participants in H.E.F.Y. blesses individuals and families in extreme and impoverished circumstances.

Visit H.E.F.Y.’s website for more information, including cost and availability.

3. Adventure For Youth 

The BYU–Idaho Outdoor Learning Center hosts Adventure For Youth, a week-long summer program that aims to strengthen youth though learning and recreational activities. The program includes a river rafting trip, horseback riding, a hoedown dance, devotionals, a High Adventure Ropes Course, a giant Slip ‘n’ Slide and more.

AFY is held in 10 sessions during the summer and can accommodate about 140 youth per week. Learn more by visiting the AFY website. 

4. Church pageants

Though not a direct alternative to EFY, Church pageants welcome youth participants (though they often come with their families) and can provide many of the same spiritually uplifting and social experiences available at other youth camps.

Church pageants in Palmyra, New York; Nauvoo, Illinois; and Manti, Clarkston and Castle Dale, Utah; require the cumulative efforts of thousands of people to produce every summer. Learn more about these pageants — including how to apply — by visiting their websites.

Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this article, BYU-Idaho has stopped offering sessions of AFY. A similar program now available is called Outdoors for Youth, or OFY, which is based out of Idaho with a similar vision to AFY’s mission. 

2 Responses

  1. I can vouch for BASEcamp. My daughters got tired of attending EFY because the program and activity never changed. Each year was the same week with a different coat of paint. My girls were hesitant to try BASEcamp at first but after returning couldn’t say enough good things about it. The program is a breath of fresh air and is headed in a great direction. We can’t wait to send the girls again this year!

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