by Lauren Scheller-Wolf
Hey everyone! I’m Lauren and I attended Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp this past summer at the beautiful Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, a sanctuary for rescued farm animals in High Falls, New York. It was an awesome experience. I learned SO much and I met so many new people while also having fun!
A great thing about YEA Camp is that it’s 100 percent vegan, so no meat or animal products like eggs or milk are used in any of its food. This is awesome for a lifelong vegan-since-birth teen like me because, while it’s getting easier to be vegan every day, it’s still nice to go somewhere and be surrounded by like-minded people!
I know what you’re thinking. If you’re vegan, you’re probably thinking something like, “That sounds amazing! I want to go to YEA Camp!” and if you’re not vegan, you might be thinking, “No meat or eggs or dairy? That sounds horrible!” or maybe, “I don’t get it, why would they have that policy?”
Well, first let me explain a little bit about why I’m vegan.
My parents went vegan before I was born. I’ve never eaten meat or animal products and I never will; once you’ve held a baby goat, or petted a cow and realized how much they remind you of your dogs (except bigger), there’s really no going back.
How could I eat something that has been killed just so I could eat it?
I go to the grocery store and look at the meat department and see peaceful, sentient beings whose only fault was being born a cow or a pig or a chicken. I couldn’t eat someone who spent his brief life crammed in a tiny cage with no space to move. Someone who has never seen the sun or felt the grass under his feet. Someone who has seen her babies get ripped away from her year after year. Someone who has spent his or her entire existence listening to the screams of creatures being slaughtered.
And, even if the animals were raised “humanely,” death is still death.
That’s why I’m vegan. Now, why YEA Camp is vegan…
Here’s what YEA Camp’s website says on the subject:
“YEA Camp is all about changing the world, and we feel it would be hypocritical if we served food similar to the standard American diet, which has led to skyrocketing rates of diet-related diseases, ecological disasters, and cruelty to animals, among other injustices of modern agriculture.
YEA takes pride in every meal at camp being delicious, as well as modeling the sustainable, ethical, and compassionate world we look to create. We are being the change we wish to see at every meal… All of the food at YEA Camp is vegan, fair-trade, local and organic to the greatest extent possible… It is also delicious! This is in alignment with our intention to practice living in the most sustainable and compassionate ways possible during our brief time at camp.”
I can’t say it any better than that! And the food is delicious!
Ok, so maybe you’re still concerned. (“Are we going to eat nothing but broccoli? What is there left to eat?”) If so, check out this video. Actually, you should check it out even if you weren’t thinking that. It’s pretty awesome.
You won’t notice the lack of meat, I promise! And if you’re still not convinced, check out YEA Camp’s page on its website, which gives examples of what it serves its campers every day.
PS: If you’d like to learn more about veganism, please check out the following links:
-Farm Sanctuary is a sanctuary for rescued farm animals. It also has a lot of info on veganism: http://www.farmsanctuary.org/
– ChooseVeg has a lot of information on many different aspects of veganism: http://www.chooseveg.com/
Want to learn more about YEA Camp, which helped inspire Lauren’s passion for animal rights activism? Check out YEA Camp.org to see if it’s right a young change-maker you know!