Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Times They Are a-Changin'

In January 1964, Bob Dylan released  a song with lyrics that read: 

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

I couldn't agree with you more, Bob.

Veggie Pride Parade 2010. (Photo courtesy of Alan Rice)

This song title popped into my head as soon as I woke up this morning, because I've been consumed with the notion that the world really is evolving towards a more compassionate way of living. I've seen it evident in my family members - from the way my brother talked my dad into eating a slice of vegan pizza this past weekend, to the way my mom ordered coffee at a restaurant on her birthday, and, upon finding out that they didn't carry soymilk, sent her coffee back (and my mom is HUGE coffee lover). I see it in the community around me - the amount of support I have found from you while doing this blog, and in the vegan living blogs that have popped up and grown around me like a beautiful veggie garden. I see it in the way New York has begun to make the words "vegan", "vegetarian", and "veggie" more mainstream phrases - I mean, this past weekend alone, New York veggie-lovers attended Veggie Prom in a swank Brooklyn hot spot and celebrated the Third Annual Veggie Pride Parade,  which rocked the streets of the West Village in Manhattan. Jessica Mahady and Robyn Lazara, organizers of Veggie Prom, know all too well about the current boost in support for veggie-lovin' events - Jessica founded and Robyn helps to organize Veggie Conquest, the NYC vegan amateur cooking competition which I attended and covered on the blog earlier this month. 

As for my own personal experience at the Prom, I have to say - it rocked my world! This event had all the benefits of a prom - dancing, dressing up, and hanging with friends - with none of the detriments - bad food, awkward social interactions with teachers, lack of alcoholic drinks (well, at least at my prom) - and so much more.

Highlights included the massive table of delicious vegan desserts, a cash bar, hoppin' music that spanned several generations of awesome, prom photos taken by the charismatic and vegan-lovin' Ben Strothmann, happily socializing with fellow activists, and being nominated for Prom Queen (say what?!). Yep, this little lady was nominated for an honor my own Quaker highschool did not partake in - Prom Court. Instead of what is usually deemed a popularity contest, this version boasted nominees that were hard-working animal activists and vegans - qualities that made it difficult not to root for your fellow "competitors."

This blogger's verdict: can Vegan Prom happen every Friday please? 

Change is not only occurring in New York, but in many other states as well, and I'm happy to report that the focus is slowly expanding past the vegan grown-ups and to the youth activists of the country. One huge example is a San Francisco and Portland-based organization called YEA (which stands for Youth Empowered Action). Founded by activist Nora Kramer, YEA is a fun and inspiring residential summer camp for caring 11-16 year olds who are passionate about food activism, environmental activism, and more. On their website, you will find a brilliant overview of the camp which includes the following passage:

" At YEA! Camp, you will choose an issue of importance to you, and leave camp with new skills, a plan of action, increased self confidence, and a community of friends and mentors to support you for years to come! Maybe right now you don't think of yourself as a leader or know an issue that's important to you. That's totally fine! Maybe you've never even thought about how you could make a difference in the world. Or maybe you've already done a lot! Either way, you'll fit right in -- you don't have to have it all figured out already. Our experienced staff and phenomenal campers will work closely with you so that by the time you leave camp, you are fired up and ready to go and inspired by how powerful you are and the difference you can make. "


The kicker? At YEA (which happens to be sleepaway camp), campers eat an entirely vegan cuisine. Talk about compassion in action!

If you're living in the West Coast area and looking to give your pre-teen or teenager a fulfilling and exciting experience, then please visit www.yeacamp.org and sign your child up for camp. My guess is that you won't regret it.

Today, let's celebrate the fact that our world is slowly changing for the better because of individuals like Jessica Mahady, Robyn Lazara, Norah Kramer, as well as the children and grown-ups - like you! - who are spreading a nationwide message of compassion. I don't know what I am more proud of - the examples I see all around me proving that it really is our individual actions that promote positive change, or the fact that I actively want and choose to be a part of it all. Either way, I am fired up and ready to go, and I hope you are too!

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

5 comments:

Plate+Simple said...

I went to summer camp as a kid and absolutely loved it. It learned confidence, individuality and made some awesome friends that I still keep in touch with to this day.

I am DEFINITELY going to keep this camp in mind for Maya when she gets old enough.

And the veggie prom? I'm so jealous! Looks like an amazing time!!

Rachel @ The Cupcake Sprinkles In Life said...

I also agree-

in my little nook of the world we have found a rockin cool burrito shop that sells vegan burritos- Holla! Robburitos... a grocery store that sells vegan foods... and a pediatrician that is on board with our idea of raising veggie kids. (whom are 99% vegan- except for the occasional ice cream cone and gold fish crackers)

How Exciting!!! We have no veggie prom here- or a lula's apothecary... but my farm raised father in law, who grew up on sausage, fresh milk and eggs... devoured my vegan "sausage" and potato casserole like there was no tommorow... yay!

Times are a-changin in deed!!!! :)

Myra Wolf said...

Your grandfather just made me smile Rachael :)).
A really interesting blog Lindsay. I like the overnite camp.

(We need one for adults...just like that..there are plenty of displaced adults out there and...maybe we could see if there are any available...or start one :)).

Jeri@GodsDreamsForMe said...

I'm with you Myra...we need a camp like that. I would totally go.

Woohoo! The times really are changin'...YEAH!

danielle said...

I agree with many of the comments above that the YEA camp sounds amazing and makes me almost wish I had kids so I could kindly convince them that they should go (so I could vicariously live through the awesomeness it seems to be)!