Anytown

“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

About ANYTOWN

Community Tampa Bay’s signature summer leadership program ANYTOWN® empowers thousands of young people to create more inclusive and just schools and communities where everyone is treated with respect and understanding.

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.

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 partners with the Community-AID Lab at Michigan State University to evaluate the effectiveness of ANYTOWN® each year. New areas of research have been inspired by the innovative approaches of ANYTOWN®, including the importance of understanding one’s own social identity and others’ identities to effectively practice inclusion. 
ANYTOWN® consistently has a positive impact on social responsibility, identity development, acceptance of others, and belief in one’s own ability.

In 2019, 100% of ANYTOWN® delegates experienced meaningful cross-cultural interactions. 96%  of them increased their comfort and ability to facilitate dialogue, 93% gained a stronger sense of social identity, and 98% gained skills to engage in service, advocacy, or leadership in schools or communities promoting inclusion.
Stories of ANYTOWN® Graduates
Divya Kumar

Divya Kumar

Divya Kumar attended ANYTOWN® in 2007 and continued her involvement as a volunteer and member of the Hillsborough Youth Collaborative. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 and is an editorial assistant and Hillsborough County Community Reporter.

Abby Sterensis

Abby Sterensis

Abby Sterensis attended ANYTOWN® in 1999 and has continued to be involved with Community Tampa Bay in a variety of roles including as a residential ANYTOWN® volunteer, a member of the Board of Directors, an Advisory Board member, and as a sustaining donor.

Aemon Mostafa

Aemon Mostafa

Aemon Mostafa attended ANYTOWN® in 2018 and returned as a volunteer in 2019.  Going through the program for the first time, he simultaneously paid attention to how he could serve as a volunteer while also realizing that he needed to take the next steps toward increased action.

Elois Hannah

Elois Hannah

Elois Hannah has a passion for advocacy. She first joined the Community Tampa Bay family in the summer of 2017 as an ANYTOWN® delegate where she met some of her closest friends that she now considers family. She then went on to be a part of Community Tampa Bay’s Advocacy Academy as part of the first cohort to go to Tallahassee.

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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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.