Former YEA Camper Claire Tamburello has been impressing us since the beginning. As soon as she got home from camp 3 years ago, we saw her share one story after another on social media about all the activism she was doing at school and in her community. We were so blown away that we invited Claire to be our first ever Counselor In Training who was under 18 (she did an amazing job mentoring our youngest girls) — she just had so much experience, it made more sense to have her on staff!
It’s been an inspiration to see her continue to do activism now that she’s in college, and to see her change-making evolve as she matures. We were thrilled that she agreed to share more about her experience with all of us!
YEA Camp: Hey, Claire! Tell us about the activism you’ve done and what you’re working on now!
Claire: In the past, I’ve focused mainly on animal rights issues. I’ve led a circus protest in my Michigan hometown that brought so much attention that the Kelly Miller Circus was asked not to return to my town. I have participated in and led many demonstrations and protests against factory farming, fur stores, SeaWorld, and other establishments that exploit animals. I have also gone to the state capital to advocate against a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula when the issue was being voted on.
In 2016, I was an intern for The Humane League and informed classes and individuals at my college about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Currently, I’ve shifted gears and am helping to organize a student walkout and rally on my campus to call on lawmakers to reform gun laws in light of recent mass shootings in the United States.
YEA: That’s amazing! How did you get involved with activism and what you’re currently working on?
CT: My volunteer opportunities mainly come through my university’s environmental clubs.
YEA: What challenges have you faced as an activist and how have you dealt with them?
CT: Time and time again, I’ve been told that I can’t make a difference, that I’m just one person and nothing will change because of me. That’s hard to hear but easy to ignore. Simply reminding myself that change is made through many small steps rather than one big one is very encouraging.
YEA: What advice do you have for new activists just getting involved?
CT: Get connected! The best way to stay encouraged is to have a go-to group of like-minded individuals who have been through the struggles you face as a new activist.
YEA: How did YEA Camp help you in your activism, if it did?
CT: YEA Camp absolutely helped me with my activism. It gave me many tools to make me a better activist. For example, YEA Camp includes a workshop on leafleting which includes amazing tips on how to effectively spread your message.
YEA: What activist goals do you have in the future?
CT: I am very passionate about reforming gun laws. As previously stated, I’m helping organize a gun reform walkout and rally on my campus. I hope to have a real impact on the students at my college and inspire them to want to make change as much as I do.
YEA: You’re awesome! Anything else you want to tell us?
CT: Everyone who is able to should attend YEA Camp! It has made me a more effective activist and an all-around more considerate person.
YEA: Awww! So glad to hear that!
Claire is 19 years old and a sophomore at the University of Tampa. She was a camper at the 2014 Massachusetts session and a CIT at the New York 2015 and 2016 sessions.