Over 100 students from New York City and across the Hudson Valley gathered at the Ashokan Center in Olive Bridge for the three-day Youth Empowerment and Sustainability Summit (YESS!) to educate themselves on climate change and how they can be a catalyst for change in their own communities.

"The truth of the matter is a huge part of what's happening right now in the climate change movement is happening because of the power of young people," said Tim Guinee of the Hudson Valley Climate Reality Project. 

Participants gathered Thursday to kick off the weekend — which will include workshops on climate justice and how to effectively communicate about the climate crisis. Some students traveled from as far away as Sweden and the UK for the program.

"I want to get more knowledge so I can inform more people, so I can reach out to more students, more young people like me, to get climate engaged," said Dayamis Sabourin from the Trelleborg School in Sweden. 

"We're at the situation now where we're of the age that we're gonna have to step up because it's going to be our world. And if we don't do something, we'll be affected and then our generation will also be affected," said Sian Kerney of the Passmore Academy in the U.K. 

Students also got a chance to learn how to compost and eliminate food waste, followed by a talk from world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James Hansen.

"It all does depend on you; I don't mean to put too much of a burden on you, but you can have a big impact on the future," said Hansen.  

It may seem like a big undertaking but these students say they are up for the challenge.

"If everyone can try, we can really make a big impact and I think we can really change this world for the better," said Kerney.