Eagle Scout AY Young, 30, is attracting worldwide attention, both through his activism (which started with his Eagle Project) and through his music. Young has dedicated his Eagle Project to his activism and currently spends much of his time ensuring that underprivileged communities have access to electricity. With his music, Young released two albums full of personal and inspiring songs.
“The idea for me in life is to bring everyone together, because deep down I feel like we are all the same and one big family,” he says.
Growing up in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, Young made it his goal to change the world. He created The battery tour – a renewable energy concert series – which raises funds through donations to provide portable solar boxes to villages in countries that do not have reliable access to electricity. Some examples are Haiti and Honduras.
Out of 18,000 nominations, Young was recently selected to be one of 17 Young leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations. He is the only person in the United States to have achieved this title. Young describes this moment as “incredible”.
“When I look back (almost crying) it’s been 10 long years of trying to connect with the world and make an impact with everyone working together. The UN gave me the credentials and the validity to really amplify the impact.
How it all began
The idea started to germinate in the late 2000s – that’s when Young started thinking about ways to empower his community using music. He later brought his idea to life with the help of his Eagle Project, which involved researching how to power a concert using renewable energy, building a device that could use pre-existing technology, and hosting a concert. .
“I built the energy box I call the ‘Outlet’ and started fueling my concerts by using the Outlet itself to raise awareness about sustainability and fundraising to bring in. electricity to people around the world, ”he said. “So the Battery Tour was born and connected to over 17 countries to date.”
The energy box is a suitcase-sized box with a cover that captures solar energy and stores it in batteries. On the outside of the box are several outlets – allowing people to plug in cords to charge their music equipment, laptops, phones, and more. Young is the first artist to power a concert using these energy boxes.
Young decided to name his project “Outlet” after discovering that nearly a billion people around the world did not have access to electricity. He had also learned through playing that everyone is an outlet for change.
“I remember playing and looking back and saying, ‘Uh, my name is AY and… it’s the Battery Tour. I think I said that because there were batteries behind me, ”he says. “That’s when spectators and spectators started donating money to keep the Battery Tour running. They said, “We are your points of sale. We feed the tour.
Today, the energy boxes are further enriched thanks to the partnerships that Young has with technology companies like 1773 Innovation company and many more.
Raise awareness of sustainable development
As a young leader for the SDGs, Young has partnered with the UN to raise awareness about sustainable development through Project 17, which consists of three phases.
“This is the first project of its kind and it will build bridges between all facets of humanity such as the world’s best artists, the most popular influencers, the biggest companies and the most remarkable charities. While putting people and their passion at the center, inspiring them to take action and together creating real change. “
In the first step, Young and some of the world’s most popular artists, such as Billie Eilish and Coldplay, will record the world’s first lasting album. It will feature 17 songs, each representing a sustainable development goal.
Next, the artists will perform the album at 17 festivals across the United States starting in May 2022. Their goal is to clarify and share the message behind each sustainability goal.
Finally, Young will help promote the Project 17 education program in schools and colleges across the country. And it will help create a guide for the music industry, which will teach musicians how to sustainably produce and tour, collaborate with key players and more.
Passion for music and scouting
Young began his journey as a performer and music producer by writing poetry.
“I wasn’t allowed to listen to hip-hop or rap music, so I wrote about what I saw,” he says. “One day my brother was playing guitar and I started talking about what I wrote about music.
Young’s music draws attention to community development, education, the environment and more. He believes people of all ages will identify with his music, especially children.
“My music will fuel your dreams,” Young says. “I was hassled and bullied a lot for the way I spoke and how I dressed. Don’t worry about what other people say; as long as you are yourself, it’s beautiful and all that is. necessary.
Young, who was with Troop 1024 in Kansas City, Missouri, earned the rank of eagle in June 2009. He thanks his parents and the Scout organization for playing such an important role in his life and success. . He says Scouting made him the person he is today.
“I am blessed. I don’t know if I would have this career, this life and this dream if I hadn’t had scouting to move me forward and prepare me,” he said. “My father supported me. in Scouting and helped me. I owe a lot to Scout Leader David Penner of Troop 1024. And my mom kept me going when I was distracted by sports.
Traveling the world comes with many challenges for Young, especially being away from friends and family. However, he says it’s amazing to know that there are other Boy Scouts in the audience at his concerts.
“You have no idea how difficult it was to power nearly 900 gigs across the United States when most people didn’t even understand sustainability or energy storage,” he says. . “And knowing that others have gone into battle, know the Scout Oath and Law – Patrol Leaders, Star Scouts, Life Scouts, Cub Cubs – it’s so cool to be connected to a group of people who understand. “
AY hopes the Boy Scouts take away a positive message after listening to his songs like “Say Hey”, which inspire people to be themselves. This is one of the important things he learned in life.
“Love yourself. Trust yourself. Be yourself,” Young said.
With all he has accomplished so far, Young wants all Boy Scouts to know they can do whatever they want, regardless of rank.
“It’s been tough, but I’m fortunate enough to finally have a platform through Scouting to hopefully amplify my efforts to bring positive change and real impact,” Young says. “Whether you are an Eagle Scout or not, I am here to prove that you can do it all. So let’s show the world what Scouts are made of!