Final San Diego Boot Camp Youth Projects

Aug. 5, 2012 / By


In July 2012 the Media Arts Center San Diego, with funding from The California Endowment, hosted a three-day boot camp to train Southern California youth journalists how to effectively tell individual stories within a community context. The boot camp was based on the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) model for its Youth Advocacy Boot Camp held in April 2012 (and annual Producer’s Institute) in San Francisco. Seventeen youth from San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, South Kern and Coachella wrote blogs on issues in their home communities and co-produced radio and video pieces about Healthy Neighborhoods, School Meals and School Discipline in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.

Youth participants were affiliated with BAVC, New America Media, AjA Project, Coachella Unincorporated, Boyle Heights Beat, South Kern Sol, Voicewaves and Venice Arts – with mentors from these organizations as well as Berkeley Studies Media Group, KPBS San Diego, The San Diego Union Tribune, Voices of San Diego and NBC Universal. In addition to learning media production and journalism skills, students gained an understanding of the news cycle and developed important media literacy skills such as how to craft effective pitches for different types of media outlets.

Students conceived, produced, edited, and made deployment plans for the following community health themes:


Did you know that where you live can predict how long you’ll live? Where you live determines the quality of the air you breathe – kids who live near freeways have higher rates of asthma because of pollution from trucks and cars. Where you live also can make it harder or easier to exercise – people are more likely to be active when there are sidewalks and bike paths, and when they aren’t afraid to go outside because of violence. In rural areas, some neighborhoods don’t have safe drinking water or are exposed to pesticides from farms. The projects produced under this theme aim to raise awareness of environmental issues and raise the visibility of community efforts to make neighborhoods healthier, safer places to live.
Radio and Video Projects:



The federal government sets rules that define what foods and how much can be served to kids at school. This summer, new standards will require school meals to be healthier, with more fruits and vegetables and less greasy food like French fries. For many kids, this is their main meal of the day, so the new rules can have a big impact on the health of kids in California. School cafeterias will need to buy and cook different kinds of foods to meet the new rules. The projects produced under this theme raise awareness of one school that is working hard to ensure healthy menus will be enjoyed, and not wasted.

Video Projects:



It used to be that being suspended or expelled only happened in response to very serious actions such as carrying a weapon or selling drugs at school. But today, suspensions happen frequently for misbehavior that is not dangerous. More than 40% of suspensions in California are for defiance – talking back to the teacher, swearing or being disruptive. California schools issue more than 700,000 suspensions each year. The research clearly shows that suspension not only harms individual kids who fall behind, but overuse of suspensions doesn’t make schools safer or students more successful. The California legislature is considering five new laws aimed at reducing suspensions and expulsions, and promoting positive alternatives. Projects produced under this theme aim to make parents, voters and lawmakers more aware of this problem.

Radio and Video Projects:



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