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ABOUT

ANYTOWN® empowers thousands of young people to create more inclusive and just schools and communities where everyone is treated with respect and understanding.

Community Tampa Bay’s ANYTOWN® begins each summer with an intensive 5-day, 4-night residential program and continues with a year of ongoing opportunities for service and leadership development utilizing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed at ANYTOWN®.

Each ANYTOWN® session brings together 50 to 60 high school youth who look differently, live differently, and love differently to build a culturally diverse and inclusive community from the ground up. It is staffed by 20 to 30 volunteers, with a ratio of one volunteer for every two to three participants. The participants are delegates of their schools and their communities who live, learn, and socialize alongside each other throughout the week. When delegates graduate from ANYTOWN®, they will have engaged in transformative dialogue and meaningful cross-cultural interaction and be ready to build inclusive schools and communities free from all forms of discrimination.

The most important thing I’ve ever done in my life is travel a few miles from my home, and out of my comfort zone, to a little place called ANYTOWN.
— ANYTOWN® Graduate
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APPLY

We're so excited you're interested in joining us at ANYTOWN®!

The 2020 application will be available January 1st! The application will include dates for ANYTOWN® sessions and instructions on how to submit once it's completed. If you have any questions, please contact Sam Obeid, Program Director, at sam@communitytampabay.org.

ANYTOWN® Application Countdown

 

Visit our Media page to see ANYTOWN® in action and hear from delegates and volunteers.

Visit our FAQ page for more information.

 
 
 
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 IMPACT

I have learned that ANYTOWN is not just a program, it’s a way of life.
— ANYTOWN® Graduate

How We Know It Works

Community Tampa Bay works with the Community-AID Lab at Michigan State University to evaluate the effectiveness of ANYTOWN®. For each of the measures below, statistical analyses suggest the average increase in participants’ scores exceeds variations that could be expected by chance.

64% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program increased their scores on a multi-item measure of social responsibility after participating in the program.

65% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program increased their scores on a multi-item measure of identity development after participating in the program.

66% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program reported an increase in a questionnaire assessing their belief in their own ability, and responsibility, to contribute to their community and pursue justice after participating in the program.

54% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program increased their scores on a multi-item measure of the ability to take a perspective other than their own after participating in the program.

85% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program reported an increase in the number of friends they had whose background differed from their own in terms of gender, religion, ability, ethnicity, or sexual orientation after participating in the program.

66% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program reported an increase in their acceptance of others who are both similar to, and different from, themselves after participating in the program.

65% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program increased their scores on a multi-item measure of overall resilience (i.e., the ability to recover from, and overcome, adversity), after participating in the program.

38% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program increased their scores on measure of social skills that foster resilience, after participating in the program.

40% of participants in Community Tampa Bay’s 2018 ANYTOWN® program increased their scores on measure of cultural strengths that foster resilience, after participating in the program.

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 MEDIA

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FAQ

ANYTOWN Frequently Asked Questions

Because ANYTOWN® is such a robust and transformative program, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions for your convenience. If you happen to have a questions that you can’t find here, always feel free to contact us!

Why would a young person want to go to ANYTOWN®?

First and foremost, ANYTOWN® is a program designed to give YOU the power to change your school and community. ANYTOWN® is facilitated by both youth and adults, and is a great way to jumpstart or advance your leadership skills. Secondly, ANYTOWN® is a fun experience away from all the other stress of life. We play games, hang out in college dorms, enjoy all-you-can-eat-food three times a day, meet new people, and talk about ourselves! Students in Pinellas public schools also receive a half social studies credit for attending. Did we mention it is completely free?

How old do participants have to be to attend ANYTOWN®?

Delegates must be attending high school in the following school year (entering 9th – 12th grades) and/or youth must be between the ages of 14-18. Graduating seniors are only accepted on a case-by-case basis, but are encouraged to submit a complete application.

Who goes to ANYTOWN®?

All youth in the Tampa Bay area are encouraged to apply. There is no grade, GPA, extracurricular, income, behavioral requirement or exception. We intentionally accept a diverse class of 60 students for each session with respect to gender, sex, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, faith, class and ability.

I live in Pasco/Polk/Hernando/Other counties. Can I still apply?

Preference is given to Pinellas and Hillsborough County residents, due to both contractual funding obligations and our ability to follow up after ANYTOWN®. Additionally, all of our year-round ANYTOWN® opportunities after the residential portion of ANYTOWN® will be located in Pinellas and Hillsborough, and delegates are expected to provide their own transportation. However, a limited number of spaces may be available for other counties, and additional youth may be able to attend at full cost ($1160). Please call the office for details.

What is an average day at ANYTOWN®? What do we do?

Every day is different at ANYTOWN®. We spend a lot of our time as a large community, engaging in interactive workshops, icebreakers and teambuilders. We get to know each other individually over meals three times a day and spend time in small groups reflecting on how prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes affect our own lives. We start and conclude our days in the dorms with our dorm families, a group of participants and counselors who often become lifelong friends.

What do we talk about at ANYTOWN®? By “discrimination”, do you mean racism?

We talk about all kinds of diversity topics including racism while at ANYTOWN. Other topics that revolve around stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination are sexism, homophobia, mass atrocities and genocide, privilege, interfaith, ableism, leadership, and many more.

When is it? Why are there only two sessions? What if I’m not available during those dates?

ANYTOWN® is a life-changing opportunity that utilizes a lot of time, people, and resources to facilitate. We are excited to offer two opportunities to attend this summer. If you are unavailable and not graduating next year, please keep us in mind for next summer. With more sponsors, we will be able to offer more sessions of ANYTOWN®. Please let us know if your business or place of employment would like to sponsor a delegate’s experience.

I have another event / I will be on vacation / out of town. Can I arrive to ANYTOWN® late / leave early? Can I leave for an event in the middle of the week and come back?

Delegates must stay for the full five-days, four-nights of programming. Unfortunately at this time, we cannot accommodate individuals who are unable to commit to the full length of the residential program.

What time is lights out?

Lights out is different every day, depending on when we end our programming. It is usually between 30 minutes – 1 hour after we end our last large group activity for the day.

I’m a picky eater / I have dietary preferences. Will there be enough food for me to eat?

Eckerd College does a great job providing buffet-style meals with many different options at breakfast, lunch and dinner for even the pickiest of eaters. If you let us know your religious or medical dietary preferences in advance, we can alert the cafeteria staff to your needs. If you have any specific requests, please let us know, so we can prepare accordingly.

I saw that delegates are not allowed to bring cell phones. Why can’t I have my phone?

ANYTOWN® is an opportunity to connect with a new community outside of our existing relationships. Additionally, we are very busy, and have very little “down time” to be on our phones. In addition, given the nature of our programming, many of our teens share sensitive information about their lives because they believe ANYTOWN® is a safe and trustworthy environment. A large part of that trust is built because our delegates not only spend their time at ANYTOWN® investing in each other without the distraction of their cell phones, but also rely on the fact that none of the personal information they have deliberately chosen to share in this space will find its way to social media. As part of our confidentiality agreement, all ANYTOWNers acknowledge that “what’s said at ANYTOWN® stays at ANYTOWN®, what’s learned at ANYTOWN® leaves ANYTOWN®.

However, we understand that not being able to stay in contact with loved ones can be anxiety provoking. Which is why we host Community Night, our mid-session programming that is open to family, friends and the entire community.

How will I get in touch with my parent / guardian / child / significant other?

ANYTOWN®session directors will make an effort to call your parent/guardian when you arrive at ANYTOWN® to let them know you arrived safely. In case of an emergency, you will be able to use one of the Co-directors’ phones to contact your family. Should the need arise, your parent/guardian may call the Co-director(s) as well.

Can I choose to be in a dorm or Dialogue Group with my friend/cousin/sibling/significant other?

We feel confident that you will find ANYTOWN® to be a welcoming, safe, and exciting new community, regardless of whether you come alone or with people you know. To make sure everyone gets comfortable creating a new ANYTOWN® community together and to ensure diverse spaces, Co-Directors will randomly assign dorm and dialogue group members. However, we are together as a large group for long parts of the day, so you will definitely see your friend or relative throughout the week.

Where is it? Do we get to interact with college students?

Community Tampa Bay facilitates ANYTOWN® on Eckerd College’s campus in south St. Petersburg, FL. Although you get to experience college life through the dorms and cafeteria, we will not spend our time interacting with Eckerd students or other groups using the space, so we can keep building our own ANYTOWN® community.

Can I get community service hours for going?

Attending ANYTOWN® as a delegate will not grant you community service hours. However, staying involved in our year-long programming, including participating in Advocacy Academy and potentially volunteering at ANYTOWN® as a staff member, will afford many opportunities to complete hours and change your community.

Why do you need my social security number?

Students enrolled in Pinellas County Schools receive an unweighted half social studies credit upon completing ANYTOWN®. We need your social security number and date of birth to ensure you receive this credit. If you would like to give us your social security number over the phone or have any other concerns regarding this process, please call us. If you would not like to receive the half credit, please contact your principal or withhold your social security number from the application. All ANYTOWN® applicants must provide date of birth.

I live close to Eckerd College. Can my parents drop me off?

It is our preference that all delegates ride the provided bus to and from Eckerd College to get the most out of their ANYTOWN® experience, and minimize supervised time spent waiting for other arrivals. However, if Eckerd College is closer to your home than the other bus stops, let us know, and we can accommodate a limited number of drop-offs.

I would like to donate to Community Tampa Bay to enable other youth to experience ANYTOWN®. How do I do that?

Thank you so much! We would not be able to function without donors like you. The easiest way to make a one-time donation is to submit a payment online here or send a check or money order to our offices. The most impactful way to support our mission is to become an ongoing giver as part of our Circle of Change, pledging monthly or annually to maximize your impact. Please let us know if you would like more information.

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The Legacy of an ANYTOWN® Graduate

Devon Grimmé is a graduate and former ANYTOWN® volunteer who passed when he was 27. He had a tremendous impact on friends, family, and his community. His mother, Laura, created livelikeDevon in his memory to inspire people to live by Devon's message: "Everyone matters."

Laura saw the influence ANYTOWN® had on Devon. Here's an excerpt of one of her goals with livelikeDevon and how you can contribute:

Devon attended Anytown when he was ready to enter 10th grade. He said it changed his life. And I saw the change - can you imagine my face the first time he said to his younger brother or sister, "Let's talk this out," instead of "You'd better run?!" We all need to talk things out. Let's have conversations, let's build bridges.

It costs $1160 to send a teen to Anytown for a week, and my goal is to be able to send one teen per summer through the sale of luggage tags. Please help me send teens, conversations and luggage tags around the world by buying luggage tags.

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