Nature’s Other Green

Two children at Alum Rock summer campMoney, and where to find it, may occupy the human mind more than any other topic. Although everyone realizes that it is the means to an end, not an end in itself, it has become the first argument in many of life’s equations. These days money buys goods; it buys power; it buys time–and it buys summer camps for kids.

This year YSI has sought and received grant money from the Sierra Club for summer camps for children who normally would not be able to attend them. The Sierra Club is often in the forefront of controversial issues concerning the earth and its uses. But it has a softer side. One of its primary missions is to help connect people with the earth so that they will want to care for it wisely. They reason that people need to know the earth in order to want to care for it.

In the for-profit world money creates a bottom line that drives decisions. It is the force that creates or destroys jobs, that causes a business to prosper or to fail, that attracts or denies investment dollars.

In the non-profit world money plays a similar role. The major difference is that the bottom line is not measured in dollars returned to the individual investor, but in services, like summer camps and school programs, returned to the community as a whole.

Even though YSI–like many non-profits–charges a fee for its services, that fee does not come close to covering the costs of the service. So YSI, like most non-profits, must seek financial “investments” from other sources. Grant money is one of these sources.

The Sierra Club has made grant money available to organizations such as YSI that help young people connect with the world. YSI has received a $28,000 grant to give 120 children who could not otherwise afford it a chance to have a week outdoors in a summer science camp.

YSI summer camps are available for a $5 administrative fee at Alum Rock Park’s Youth Science Institute for children ages 3 through 6th grade who are from families that qualify for the school lunch program. The camps, which run throughout the summer, are for one week starting at 9:00 a.m. and lasting two and a half to four hours, depending on the age of the child. Transportation to and from Alum Rock Park must be provided. If you are aware of children who would qualify for this summer opportunity, please call YSI at (408) 258-4322.

Every year James Lick High School provides a Death Valley trip for its students. They spend a week learning the ways of the earth. One of the participants one year said that the thing she liked most about that trip was that when she was close to the earth, it was the first time she had ever felt safe. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could return the favor? What a great thing for money to buy!

View camp information at or call for a brochure (408) 356-4945.