All Solar Youth programs feature youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs). Through the C-SAP process, youth identify an environmental or community issue they want to address, research the issue, identify a solution, design an action plan, take action, and evaluate their results. C-SAPs range from litter clean-ups to advocacy campaigns to garden and tree plantings. Through the C-SAP process, youth learn critical problem solving, cooperative teamwork and communication skills and serve as agents of positive change in their communities. More than 250 C-SAPs have been completed during Solar Youth’s founding.
In Solar Youth programs, youth also design and present Public Education Projects (PEPs) that teach friends, family and community members what they learned and accomplished during the season. PEPs can include designing posters, postcards or PSAs, composing songs, raps or poems, and performing skits on New Haven Green and other public places. By teaching others, youth deepen their own learning as they are also recognized by others for their service. Through Solar Youth’s history, over 200 PEPs have been completed.
Youth investigate the local ecology of their community through lessons, games and outdoor exploration. Explorations range from afternoon hikes in a local park, to trips to museums and aquariums, to making S’mores around the campfire and overnight backpacking trips. By discovering nature and their communities in a hands-on way, youth understand that learning can be fun and broaden their horizons by exploring places outside of their neighborhoods.