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Introducing Ember: YSS’s New Youth Recovery Campus

YSS officially released the designs for its new youth recovery campus and announced the campus name: Ember.

“Ember symbolizes a small glowing fragment of a fire that can be revived when nurtured and cared for. The name reminds families and youth there is always hope,” said Andrew Allen, YSS President & CEO. “At Ember, YSS will help youth find the fire in their hearts to overcome life’s challenges.”

When completed, the 50-acre campus near Cambridge, Iowa, will offer 70 beds for emergency shelter, crisis stabilization, and residential addiction treatment for youth. The nature-based and trauma-informed facility will provide a welcoming environment that facilitates hope, wellness, and healing.

At an unveiling event July 19, the public had the first opportunity to view the campus renderings and floor plans. Leaders from YSS, RDG Planning & Design, and Woodruff Construction were on hand to answer questions.

The “Hub,” which is the main building on the campus, will offer a welcome center, family visit room, staff offices, classroom, gathering spaces, fitness center and gym, café, and kitchen. The cabins will include youth bedrooms, as well as caseworker offices, a living room, and spaces for group therapy and activities.

With 50-plus acres of prairie land and timber, Ember will provide opportunities to connect youth to nature through shade shelters, walking trails, a pond, playground, sensory garden, and recreational activities such as pickleball, basketball, and ropes courses.

Ember is a project years in the making, made possible through generous donors and grants including a $10 million lead investment from CICS. With the help of Julie Stevens, associate professor of landscape architecture at Iowa State University, YSS involved youth clients and staff in a trauma-informed design process.

“Each year, 7,000 Iowa youth need treatment but don’t get it. Our goal is to create a space to meet youth where they are and provide services that give them hope and opportunity,” Allen said.

YSS will break ground at a ceremony on Aug. 9, 10 a.m., at the campus site in Cambridge.

Learn more about Ember.

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