Founded in 2003 by Chad Johnson, Elevate International gives youth the opportunity to become leaders and express their creativity through arts and athletics.
Johnson Attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp when he was 17 was Johnson’s first step toward Elevate. After that he became a youth pastor, and the first Camp Elevate was held in 2003.
Elevate International partners with organizations in Haiti and Puerto Rico, but there is also large focus on youth in Maricopa County. Elevate is headquartered in Phoenix, with the camp taking place in Prescott during the end of June. The camp serves 300 to 600 kids every year.
“We got to start an arts program two years ago,” program coordinator Kiersten Willis says. “It’s undeniable that arts and athletics is a perfect way to reach out to young people and offer the opportunities. We partnered with the City of Phoenix to provide free dance classes to under-served populations. We really want to be able to get opportunities to kids to have outlets to express and to develop.”
The main goal of Elevate, Willis says, is to empower young people to become leaders. The camp and organization provides them with all the resources to make it happen, and teach them how to bring it back to their community.
The camp, lasting four to five days, helps to bring the kids away from distractions and surround them with people who care about them, Willis says. There are outside field games and activities. After the camp, the kids are able to sign up for a number of different mentor programs.
For more information on Elevate International, visit elevateinternational.org.