Youth Empowered Action vegan summer camp? Sign me up! »
… said my inner 13-year-old. When I first heard about Youth Empowered Action (YEA) camp, I started mentally packing my bags. All of the food is vegan, though the campers, kids ages 12 to 17, range from vegan to vegetarian to omnivorous and everywhere in between.
I got the skinny on YEA from founder and executive director Nora Kramer, and man, does she make me wish I could relive my teenage years. This is not your run-of-the-mill soggy-sandwich, papier-mâché-crafts, learn-to-swim camp. This camp is something incredibly special. Campers who attend YEA are on a mission to make effective change in one area of their choosing — factory farming, vegetarianism, the environment, gay rights, bullying, education. Talk about covering the spread! I don’t remember being half as passionate about anything more than how many inches of exposed leg I could get away with at that age.
At YEA, campers build skills to address the issues most vital to them. YEA covers four core areas of activism: knowledge, skills, confidence, and community. By the end of the weeklong stay, campers will have created an action plan to hopefully implement in the real world. YEA alumni have done some incredible things! Some campers have successfully petitioned for veg options at their schools; others started animal rights clubs, organized fundraisers for charities, created online stores for cruelty-free crafts, and gotten rid of dissection in their classrooms. It’s no wonder YEA camps are fostering the next generation of game-changers, law-makers, activists, environmentalists, and vegans. These kids are set up to succeed through confident and effective activism.
YEA camp is structured to allow every camper to tell their story and share their cause with their peers. By the end of camp, everyone has learned something new about the issues of their peers, and some even take steps to live a cruelty-free life once they leave camp. That, in addition to the vegan camp food, really makes YEA not only the perfect place for budding philanthropists, but for helping shape the future generations of our compassionate world.
A typical day of food at YEA camp looks like this:
- Breakfast: French toast or pancakes, with cereal, soy milk, and fruit.
- Lunch: veggie burgers, burritos, and sloppy Joes.
- Dinner: pizza, pasta, vegan sushi, and a veggie tofu curry.
- Dessert: brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and s’mores.
ALL VEGAN. You know I had to leave you with the goods.
These kids not only learn how to better care for the world and solve its problems, but, most importantly, they develop sense of community with their peers who are doing the same. And Nora, if you ever decide to start an adult YEA camp, sign me up!
You can find more info about YEA and their ongoing summer camps online. This year, there are sessions in Oregon, California, and Massachusetts; the California session began on Sunday, and Massachusetts’s begins August 9. If you have a young activist on your hands, check this place out, and help them become the leader they were born to be.
Jessica Schoech is the founder of The Vedge App, an up-and-coming app that will revolutionize the way we find veg food worldwide. She is a self-professed crunchy vegan mom (cloth diapers, anyone?), wife, and foodie, who finds the most joy in welcoming people of all backgrounds to the green side, especially vegan parents and children. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at Power to the Veg! on Facebook.
Help spread veganism on BART in under 10 seconds! »
Dude, this is very exciting. It’s an opportunity for vegan outreach group Factory Farming Awareness Coalition to get $40,000 in BART ads for FREE!
Here are the details:
The BART Blue Sky Contest, which awards over $40,000 worth of ads to the top three nonprofits that get the most votes on Facebook, is happening right now. The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition is going for a three-peat this year!If you’ve dreamed of seeing pro-animal messaging on BART, this is your chance! This contest is an unprecedented opportunity to expose over 300,000 people per day to the impact of factory farming on animals and the environment.
Take 1 minute to vote, and please share with all your friends on Facebook!
Help Seals and Sea Lions in Dire Conditions at the Morro Bay Aquarium!
The Morro Bay Aquarium has held seals and sea lions and other sea animals in horrific conditions for nearly 50 years now. The one seal and three sea lions who currently live there spend their entire lives in pools no larger than a Jacuzzi. It isn’t only that they live in small spaces, unable even to swim, but also that they are not provided proper care. The aquarium has been cited for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act over the years, and their attending veterinarian is a local small animals veterinarian who says he has no knowledge of how to treat marine mammals. What is even more heartbreaking is that from the records maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we know that at least 24 seals and sea lions have died there and, appallingly, only one of natural causes. Some have drowned, some have died from being kept in water contaminated by sewage, others from preventable or treatable illnesses, and one, the owners reported, died because he was “love sick.”
Thankfully, the lease for the space is up for renewal and we now have a narrow window of opportunity to close down the aquarium forever. While the owners are eager to renew the lease, the space is public property, and so it is up to the Morro Bay City Council. If the lease is renewed, more seals and sea lions will undoubtedly continue to be exploited. Those of us working to help the seal and sea lions at the aquarium need your help now! We need you to write to the Morro Bay City Council and to the mayor asking them not to renew the lease. Please explain to them why this kind of treatment of animals is simply unacceptable, and tell them you won’t visit Morro Bay unless the aquarium is closed.
We need you to act soon because the council will decide June 25th whether or not to renew the lease or to consider proposals for other uses of the site. We are facing stiff opposition as the owners have many friends and family in the community who believe there is nothing wrong with exploiting animals for human entertainment. Please help us ensure that no more seals and sea lions will suffer and die in this horrific place. The seal and sea lions living in these deplorable conditions thank you, and so do those of us who are working on their behalf!
- Sarah Spengeman
Your easy activism for International Human Rights Day: Ask Clif Bar where their chocolate comes from »
It’s International Human Rights Day and Food Empowerment Project is honoring this important day by drawing attention to Clif Bar’s lack of transparency when it comes to an important issue such as child slavery in the chocolate industry.
If you haven’t yet, please sign the petition to Clif Bar, asking them to answer the easy question: WHERE IS THEIR CHOCOLATE FROM? It’s a simple question, and should be easy for them to answer. Again, we are only asking Clif Bar for the country of origin, so if they send a LONG response and say anything other than answering that question – they are avoiding it. Please, don’t let them do this.
If you’re feeling extra activist-y — please post questions on their FB page and/or ask them on Twitter. They are a large company with many followers, so we need a lot of people to ask them to make it an issue. Let’s go!!
Remembering the Turlock chickens: Watch a video and sign a petition! »
Remember the Turlock Hens? Silly question, of course you do. How could you forget feeling like your heart was literally being ripped out of your chest after reading the story of the 50,000 chickens left to starve in California’s Central Valley?
Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary has begun an online petition drive through Change.org. The petition is asking for the prosecution of Andy Keung Cheung, by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office, for willfully starving 50,000 hens for two weeks. The goal is 10,000 signatures, and as of publication of this post, there are almost 3,800. Read more about it and sign the petition here.
Harvest Home also made a short video of the hens before they were rescued. It’s sad stuff. The hens are hungry, and some are dead, and it is very upsetting to be part of a species that lets this kind of thing happen.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
The amazingly effective activists over at Compassion Over Killing are now running ads on Hulu, including the one above. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!? Everyone watches Hulu, even babies and great grandparents and probably even our alien overlords somewhere in the future, ala Lrrr and Single Female Lawyer! Anyway, I’m trying to wrap my mind around how many people this is going to teach about veganism and it makes me very happy that I can’t do the math. Also, it makes me very sad that I can’t do the math. Thanks, American School System!
If you’ve got some extra monies laying around, or even if you don’t, it wouldn’t hurt to send them to COK so they can keep these ads up and running. Let’s do this!
S.F. Bay Area, here’s your chance to help tons of animals! Let’s do this! »
We’re all gonna leaflet for the animals, OK? Leafletting is one of the best forms of activism around. It’s making a lot of people immediately aware of what’s going on with animals, and that knowledge is incredibly powerful. It’s something I definitely want to do more of, and as a means of motivating myself, I am motivating the rest of you to GET UP ON THIS! Because I know a lot of you suffer from the same guilty feeling of not doing as much as we could be doing and I’ve found that leafletting even once a month helps alleviate that. Seriously, it’s powerful stuff! And if you do it once, you’ll do it again. The first time is always the hardest! Where have I heard that before? Ew, sorry. Grab a friend or brave it solo and LET’S DO THIS!
This Friday, Nov. 4, Theo, a major volunteer with Vegan Outreach, is leafleting the AP Tour at the Regency Ballroom (1290 Sutter St., S.F.). He’s flying solo right now, and would love some leafletting buddies. Leafletting at events like this is actually pretty fun; people are usually the nicest cause they’re all happy to be at a show, and you’re with friends, so if anyone says anything stupid, you can make fun of them the whole ride home. Also, after leafletting once, it’s so easy to do it again, because you’re like, “Fuck it, I ain’t scared of you people!” and then you imagine everyone naked and are like, “Whatever, I got this.” Or you know, whatever your process is.
POINT IS, the more people who leaflet, the more people reached. I know lots of folks who are vegan today because they were handed a leaflet; it’s powerful activism for the animals, and it’s only a couple of hours of work! EVEN BETTER, Theo is so rad that he can also help out with rides from the Oakland/Berkeley area, SO NO EXCUSES! You can reach Theo via email or call him at (510) 853.2773. Do it to it!
Brian Grupe, who heads up Vegan Outreach in the SF Bay Area, is looking for folks to join him at colleges. Young minds, ripe for learnin’! About animal exploitation! I mean, how many of you went vegan in college? EXACTLY. If you have an unusual schedule where you’re free during the day sometimes, get at him! Shape America’s youth! Into something other than selfish pieces of shit! JK, we’re all selfish pieces of shit, some of us just try to suck a little less.
Finally, a list of upcoming events that Brian needs help with. If any look right for you, please please please email him. THANK YOU AND I LOVE YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!
Monday, Nov. 7
Jack’s Mannequin at the Regency Ballroom, S.F.—out from 10 to 11 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 8
Pierce the Veil and Miss May I at the Regency Ballroom—out from 10 to 11 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 10
Black Veil Brides at the Regency Ballroom—out from 10 to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13
The Green Festival at the S.F. Concourse Exhibition Center (HELLO, we all need to go to this one!)
Monday, Nov. 14
Gym Class Heros and Dirty Heads at the Regency Ballroom—out from 10 to 11 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 16
New Found Glory, Set Goals, etc. at the Regency Ballroom—out from 10 to 11 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 17
Devil Wears Prada at the Regency Ballroom—out from 10 to 11 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 21
Katy Perry at Oracle Arena (KATY PERRY, Y’ALL)
[photo via Vegan Outreach]
You guys! Occupy Oakland needs food! And I bet all the other occupies need food, too! Why not make it vegan food?! Remember how much success Rachel had?? Today is a good day to get started as it’s the general strike, and there will be even more hungry angries to feed than ever!
According to them, occupiers especially need hot food and drinks, like maybe a delicious vegan casserole or tasty seasonal soup?? Or if you’re flush, maybe you want to pick up tons of food from a nearby supportive local business, like Golden Lotus? And maybe even bring some Go Vegan flyers while you’re at it? Or order some free ones for next time you go! Seriously, this is an amazing activist opportunity, and according to the Oakland-based Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter folks, the backyard slaughter dumb-dumbs are all up in it, and we need to combat their “we kill chickens for a stupid snack and think it’s okay because we are totally qualified to murder in our backyards and are saving the world!”
A rep from NoBS says:
Food Not Bombs has been serving vegan food since the beginning of Occupy Oakland — and many other Occupy locations. While occupying Oscar Grant Plaza a few weeks back, people from all walks of life were really open to talking about a compassionate diet, and living free of animal products. It was liberating to be in a space where people were open to changing the way we live and eat in a way that respects the interests of other animals, as well as people. This movement is bringing so many positive changes — and veganism is one of them.
So get down to your local occupy movement, and be a change agent! One who brings delicious vegan casseroles!
The Trader Joe’s in BERKELEY isn’t stocking vegan items!? Let’s talk at them! »
So, word on the street is employees of the Trader Joe’s at University and Martin Luther King Jr. in Berkeley have told several people that they don’t stock vegan items because they don’t “earn” their shelf space in the store, which is why a lot of our favorites are sadly not there. Come on, how is that freaking possible? I object!
I think all people who shop at that store or might ever shop at that store (East Bay vegans WHAT!) should write to TJ HQ or drop by the store in person to fill out a suggestion card to request they begin re-stocking a greater variety of vegan items. Right?!
You don’t even have to send an email, they have an easy-peasy form where you can just be like, “More vegan items in Berkeley, please and thank you. Pretty pease let me know when I can expect to see these items back in the store. I Also, you are so pretty, Trader Joe’s! Signed, Laura P.S. Love that Fearless Flyer!” This example works for several reasons: You’re politely making yourself heard, asking for what you want, requesting a response, and perhaps most importantly, letting TJ’s know that, hey, you are attracted to them, and that makes a person/corperation feel good! Plus, you complimented their work on the Fearless Flyer,* which I can honestly say is my favorite magazine. DONE AND DONE!
Finally, let’s enjoy the TJ’s video that everyone loved so much in 2009:
*Groupon totally gaffled their lame-ass voice from TJ’s Fearless Flyer. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Steve-O as vegan activist: Exhibit A »
A loud and proud vegan since 2009, Jackass star Steve-O stormed out of a Celebrity Go Kart Tournament benefiting the American Diabetes Association last weekend after discovering the meat-laden catering menu. Steve-O was lined up to compete before he learned about the impending lunch, but left angrily before the race could even begin, asking some of the children in attendance if they wanted to take his driver’s seat for the competition.
In true Steve-O form, not pulling any punches, he voiced his outrage with a woman from the Children’s Hospital on his exit: “I came here because I thought this was about promoting a plant-based diet as diabetes prevention, and they’re serving meat here—so I’m outta here. It’s like serving alcohol at an AA meeting,” said Steve-O, who has publicly battled substance abuse issues in the past, “It’s kind of an outrage to me…it’s stupid.” Not surprisingly, the ADA has shrewdly responded with ‘claims’ and ‘opinions’ suspiciously void of fact: “There’s no rule that you can’t eat meat if you have diabetes—every person is different, and should be on a meal plan that works best for them. Eating animal flesh isn’t necessarily bad for diabetics.” How delightfully unspecific and uneducated of them.
Suffice to say, Steve-O is presumably too busy leading an active, healthy lifestyle to bother with any response. For the record, we are LOVING us some Steve-O as an educated, unlikely, and surprisingly AWESOME spokesperson for veganism.