vegansaurus!

07/29/2014

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.

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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.

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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 InstagramFacebookTwitter and at Power to the Veg! on Facebook.

03/31/2014

Faux Moccs: Stylish vegan shoes for kids are here!  »

Finding vegan shoes for children isn’t very easy. I had been searching high and low for about six months with only a few questionable pairs to show for it when I heard about Faux Moccs, a company created by Kortney Campbell, one of the Vegan Housewives, I knew that I had found my solution. I interviewed her for an in-depth look into this vegan mom-run company. 

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According to Kortney, the soft-bottom design of Faux Moccs is especially important for the development of baby and toddler feet. The sylish design of the Faux Moccs encourages babies and toddlers to spread their toes and feet naturally while still offering protection from the outdoors. The fact that children’s developing feet were taken into consideration in the construction of the shoe makes them worth their weight in eco-friendly material. They are made from either nylon or polysester fiber matric manufactured in the USA (the vast majority being nylon). They are breathable and water resistant with no PVC, vinyl or plasticizers. Eco-friendly, vegan, AND biomechanically sound? This is a combo unlike any I’ve ever seen in the kids’ shoe department.

Kortney came up with Faux Moccs when she was having a hard time finding cruelty-free footwear for her 17-month-old son, Judah. Once she realized that other moms were probably having the same issues, she decided to veganize a shoe that would fit her (and his) needs. She tapped into her love of moccasins, her degree in fashion design, and her hero, Betsey Johnson, for inspiration. The resulting design is nothing short of genius. The array of colors offered combined with the handsome look of the shoe are sure to make any mom happy to dress up her little one for a playdate. Kortney says she hopes to release new designs with each season — our kids can be fashionable all year long as they outgrow their stylish vegan shoes.

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Check out Faux Moccs here.

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. Images courtesy Faux Moccs.

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