Summer camp doesn’t have to be a thing you age out of. While you may have already mastered knot-tying and fire-building back in your scouts days, we could all learn how to be a better vegan advocate. YEA Camp, which specializes in leadership and social justice programs for teens, is hosting its second YEA Camp for Adults this summer for those looking for a fun alternative to their typical summer vacation. The week-long program offers the same campfire experience while teaching practical skills to improve your advocacy. Here are five reasons why we can’t wait to go to camp!
1. Tune up your vegan activist muscles
Vegans make a huge difference in the world with every bite they take. However, it’s often hard to see these incremental benefits, and some choose to do more to help the animals and the planet. Think about it: if you can convince just one other person to change their diet, you double your impact. The daily activities at camp offer specific and engaging training led by experienced activists on the topics of communication, how to launch a campaign, how to turn your passion for animals into a career, and more. You’ll walk away confidence, equipped with skills to employ your ethics into action and make a positive difference in this world.
2. Cuddle up with farm animals all week long
Ever given a pig a belly rub? What about sitting down to really get to know a group of goats or a talkative turkey? All of these animals have personalities, and they can light up your day just like your dog or cat might do. While vegans don’t eat animals, many of us have never spent quality time with the animals we save. Since YEA Camp is held on the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary grounds, each day offers an opportunity to interact with these friendly rescued animals. And don’t worry; you won’t be roughing it in the cow barn! There are modern facilities, including wifi and cell reception, so you can post that pig-hugging InstaStory in real-time.
3. Let someone else do the (vegan) cooking
Most vacations force us to constantly inquire about a vegan option or worry about subsisting off sad salads and French fries for the entire trip. At YEA Camp, all the meals are vegan, and it’s not just standard beans-from-a-can camp fare. Guests will enjoy an abundance of mouthwatering food prepared by personal vegan chefs. The spread includes dishes from a variety of cuisines ranging from curries to falafel plates to pizza, all accompanied by a robust salad, side of fruit, and a decadent dessert. There are even options for those who adhere to a whole foods plant-based diet. No researching, worrying, or modifications necessary!
4. Make new like-minded friends
While the virtual community of vegans is strong, sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one if your immediate social network doesn’t hold the same values. YEA Camp allows campers to connect with fellow vegans and build lasting relationships, because, let’s face it: it can be hard to make new friends in general, vegan or not. The fun, silly, and even transformational activities at YEA Camp are designed to help people quickly establish strong connections with fellow change-makers who can support one another long after camp ends.
5. Learn to give yourself some TLC
For many of us, our days are wrought with low-level stress. There’s work, bills, the current political climate … we could all use a few days to just relax. Sure, you could do that on a beach or at a resort, but then you’d have to worry about where to eat, your activity itinerary, and the local transportation system. But all of that is taken care of at camp, so you can focus on enjoying your experience. Plus, animals are natural stress-relievers, and the seagulls at the beach just don’t cut it. Take a deep inhale and exhale, then surrender to the bliss while giving the animals at Woodstock a thorough stress-relieving belly rub!
Nora Kramer is the founder and director of YEA Camp and is in her 20th year as a vegan and activist for veg causes.
Photo credit: YEA Camp