A Vegan Summer Camp for the Next Generation of Activists

Written by Drew Wilson

Do you know a young person who’s looking to make a big impact? Be sure to let them know about Youth Empowered Action (YEA) camps! YEA is a summer camp for motivated young activists where they learn skills and meet like-minded people from across the country. And you’ll  be jealous of what they’ll be eating while they’re at camp.

yea

Whether you care about veganism, animal rights, homelessness, climate change, bullying, all of the above, or another issue all-together, YEA Camp aims to empower today’s youth (ages 12-17) to work towards building a better tomorrow.

In this week-long experience, campers will develop leadership and communication skills as well as gain knowledge and confidence to grow into the change-makers who they want to be. And guess what? The food is all vegan, too from pizza, mac & cheese and tacos to Tofurky sandwiches, veggie burgers, french toast, and cupcakes! Plus plenty of fresh veggies and fruits too.

YEA Camp alumn Melissa volunteering with COK

YEA Camp alum Melissa volunteering with COK

What happens after camp? YEA alumni have an impressive track record. Melissa, a 2011 camper from California, has become a superstar young activist. She started a veg club at her school, has hosted vegan feed-ins with COK, and is a consistent volunteer at the Los Angeles COK office. Joseph, from the same YEA camp session, has been helping out COK events in LA for years. Clara started and runs her own vegan bakery — Clara’s Cakes. Jasmine lives in Connecticut, and after her first session at YEA camp, she became a summer intern at COK’s office in DC helping mentor other interns as well as organizing outreach activities.

Other YEA campers accomplish big things on a variety of different issues: they run anti-dissection campaigns at their schools, they join school committees against bullying, they get involved with women’s rights groups, organize demonstrations, and lot of other amazing things.

The camp is a kick starter for young, budding activists who are motivated to make a difference but lack the skills or support network that they need to get started. YEA camp isn’t just about learning — it’s about connecting with other like-minded individuals. Campers have an opportunity to build a strong network of friends who support them throughout the year. They also get connected with a mentor who has experience in grassroots activism or sometimes the mentor works for a national non-profit. Jaya Bhumitra, COK’s Director of Campaigns has been mentoring a YEA camper for a couple years, helping her be active at her school and in the community. After camp, everyone has an action plan for how they are going to stay involved in activism and their mentor helps keep them on track and get the resources they need. It may only be a week-long camp, but through connections, campers receive on-going support and guidance.

lodgeThree Sessions this Summer:

There are sessions on the East Coast and the West Coast, but space is limited so if you know someone who’s interested, fill out an application right away.  Dates:

  • Northern California, near Santa Cruz: July 14 – 21, 2013
  • Portland, Oregon: July 27 – August 3, 2013
  • Charlton, Massachusetts: August 10 – 17, 2013

Scholarships are also available. More info YEACamp.org.

Drop me an email if you know a young activist who is interested but has questions or wants to learn more before applying.

back to the blog