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YouthCARE was started in 1974 as the Wilderness Work Camp, a summer work and camp program for youth working in the Twin Cities summer youth employment programs.

In 1977, the name was changed to Camp Sunrise and we initiated the YouthLEAD program to meet the school-year needs of the youth involved in the summer program.

In 1990, the Young Women’s Mentoring Program was established to provide opportunities for young women to gain meaningful employment opportunities and develop their leadership skills as they mentored younger girls.

In 1993, the organization's name was changed from Camp Sunrise to YouthCARE (Youth for Cultural Appreciation and Racial Equality) in order to more accurately reflect the organization’s commitment to cultural appreciation and racial equality.