When we first met Lauren Scheller-Wolf at YEA Camp, she was a little bit reserved, but we have learned over the years that sometimes our quieter campers do the most activism! Lauren shows that activists can make a difference while working to address several different causes and pursuing multiple passions. Not only does Lauren volunteer for an animal sanctuary, she also performed in a play to raise awareness about dating violence, and is on an all-girls robotics team that challenges the male-dominated fields of STEM. And she’s also an amazing intern for YEA Camp! And she’s been volunteering since she was 11!
Sorry, we don’t mean to give away all the spoilers! We were happy she fit this interview with YEA Camp into her busy schedule and are glad to let her tell you more.
YEA Camp: Tell us about the activism you’ve been doing.
Lauren: I’ve volunteered with two organizations for several years now – Animal Advocates (an animal shelter where my family and I take care of cats) and Global Links, which packs and sends donated medical supplies to hospitals that can’t afford to buy their own, or to places that have recently gone through a natural disaster. For instance, right now, we’re sending a lot of stuff to Puerto Rico.
In addition, I’ve written several articles and blog posts about activism, animal rights, and veganism for different websites and organizations.
I’m also on an all-girls high school robotics team (The Girls of Steel). Our mission is to empower women and girls in the pursuit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) by exemplifying female success in robotics. STEM fields are still very male-dominated – our mission is to change people’s attitudes about women in STEM and helping young girls know they can be successful in a STEM career.
How did you get involved with activism and what you’re currently working on?
My parents were vegan and doing animal rights activism before I was born, and I’ve been explaining veganism to people since forever, so I guess you could say I was born an activist! However, I started volunteering when I was about 11, and I started writing and doing other forms of activism after attending my first session of YEA Camp in 2015.
Right now I’m working on a few things, along with writing, volunteer work and Girls Of Steel. I’m on Farm Sanctuary’s Youth Advisory Board, giving input on pamphlets etc. they want to create for younger activists, as well as kids that want to learn about veganism.
In addition, I’ve done a few art-activism things. I just finished performances of a play called “You Belong to Me” with a local theater company. This play aims to raise awareness about, and prevent, teen dating violence, and it’s an incredibly powerful piece that has been performed in schools all around the Pittsburgh area. I want to be an actor when I grow up, so this was a great way for me to combine acting and activism!
I’m also a YEA Camp Intern!
What challenges have you faced as an activist and how have you dealt with them?
Time management has always been a bit of a problem for me, but I’ve discovered it helps me be the most effective if I have one specific goal (maybe it’s to “Write one article before Sunday”) and then I budget my time over the week to make sure I get it done; vs having an open-ended goal (“Write as many articles as you can this week”).
What advice do you have for new activists just getting involved?
Go for it! Even if you don’t think you’ll be good at it. Even if you can only do something you consider small or unimportant. You’ll get better (and gain confidence) with practice and every single action matters and will make a difference, no matter the size or scope.
How did YEA Camp help you in your activism, if it did?
YEA Camp helped me in tons of ways! I gained more knowledge (about many things, but specifically about how to answer tricky questions), as well as a lot more confidence in myself and my abilities as an activist. YEA Camp also connected me to a ton of organizations and people that I have worked with or could work with in the future. It’s also helped me a lot to just know that there are amazing people out there who care as passionately about issues as I do.
What activist goals do you have in the future?
Gain more confidence. Reach more people. Take part in more activism.
Have you been involved with any organizations or used any as resources for your activism?
Do you care about making a difference just like Lauren does? Want help getting more involved? Come to YEA Camp this summer!
Lauren Scheller-Wolf is a 17-year-old activist for many causes, though her focus is on animal rights. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended YEA Camp New York in 2015 and 2016.