Activist Profile: Jon Camp
One benefit of being involved with Vegan Outreach is working with some of the best people in the world. One of the finest we’ve met is Jon Camp, Vegan Outreach’s Director of Outreach.
As of May 2011, Jon has handed booklets directly to over 700,000 students across the country – and thousands and thousands more at other venues – since the inception of the Adopt a College program in 2003. For years, he has inspired many new people to get involved with Vegan Outreach – leafleting and contributing.
and humility are matched only by
his total dedication to the animals.
It is an honor to count Jon as a
colleague and friend.
Jon can be reached at jon (at) veganoutreach (dot) org.
—Anne Green, Jack Norris, & Matt Ball
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Antioch, IL which is about an hour north of Chicago, an hour south of Milwaukee. I now live in Takoma Park, MD, a progressive, pretty town on the outskirts of Washington, DC.
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
I enjoy running, working out, playing on a Monday-night indoor soccer team, reading, playing guitar, and hanging out with friends and family.
Who has been / is a major influence in your life and why?
I’m continually influenced and inspired by those who work to better the lot of others, especially my DC activist friends and the VO leafleters and donors I’ve gotten to know. Also, growing up, my parents provided me with an environment that encouraged kindness and independent thinking.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
In the spring of 1995, I took an ethics course at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL. One day, the professor talked about factory farming and animal rights issues. He gave some arguments that I couldn’t refute, and I started to grasp the depth of suffering that so many of today’s animals endure. From there, I slowly got more and more involved in activism.
What made you decide to start leafleting? If you were nervous the first time, how did you get over it?
In late 2000, as a way to step up my efforts for animals, I attended a feed-in put on by Compassion Over Killing in Washington, DC. While some activists were handing out vegan food to passersby, others were leafleting. There was a need for more leafleters, so I tried it; it was painless and fun!
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
There is no one event that stands out as the definitive, most positive leafleting experience. But I’m always thrilled when individuals come up to let me know that, because of being handed a VO booklet, they are now vegetarian, vegan or thinking differently about the treatment of animals. This happens all the time.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
Don’t think too much about it -- jump in! It’s ok to ask someone if they’d like to take a booklet and consider some information. You don’t need to be an extrovert or an encyclopedia on animal issues; being friendly and sincere is all that is needed. Part of life is challenging ourselves to go beyond our comfort zone so that we can live more fully in accordance with our ideals. Leafleting is a great opportunity for this, as well as a hugely effective way to push the ball forward for the animals. Go get 'em!