Summer is here! (…Finally). While some of us might be found at the beach, some folks with kids will have to get creative to help find ways to keep their kids happy and entertained. Many parents send their kids to a summer camp! Choosing the right camp for your child is a very important decision. Parents browse hundreds of camp websites, carefully selecting camps that appeal to their child’s interests. All of this work can often leave the parent (and campers) unsure of which camp to choose.
Here is your BEAU list of fun, LGBTQ-Friendly summer camps that provide a safe and secure environment and offers the opportunity for your kids to have fun during the summer.
- The Spiritual Pride Project in Austin, Texas creates affirming space where LGBTQIAA youth and young adults may explore their spirituality in direct relation to the aspect of themselves that may have marginalized them in a religious context. The project is in the form of a retreat for people ages 12-30 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex or asexual, and straight allies ages 14-25. Participants are involved with outdoor activities and workshops.
- Campus Pride in Charlotte, NC will be holding its annual Camp Pride from July 15-20. Campus Pride is an organization that promotes LGBT and ally student leaders and campus organizations in the areas of leadership development, support programs and services. The goal is to create safer, more inclusive LGBT-friendly colleges and universities, and to develop, support and give “voice and action” in building future LGBT and ally student leaders.
- QORDS Radical Days of Summer, in Durham, NC is a week-long overnight summer camp for queer youth or youth of queer parents, with special focus on youth in the South. Each day campers attend band practice, which includes instrument instruction, song-writing workshops, and general practice with band members. Additionally, they attend workshops on issues related to gender identity, consent and sexual health, organizing for change, and sexual orientation as well as engage in other camp activities like arts and crafts, creative writing, dancing, drag, hiking and canoeing. At the end of the week, campers put on a showcase of their original music and poetry for family, friends, and community members at a local venue.
- Rock Camp in Charleston, SC presented by the Carolina Youth Action Project is a one-week summer camp for girls, transgender youth, and gender nonconforming youth, similar to camps around the world connected by the Girls Rock Camp Alliance. Camp is open to youth ages 9 to 17. Campers form bands and take instrument classes in guitar, bass, keyboards, or drums and participate in workshops that explore ways to use music and art to address social issues that impact our communities. At the end of camp week, bands perform original songs at a live showcase event in front of family, friends, and Charleston community members.
- Camp GB in Upstate, SC is an immersive experience that host workshops, name change clinics, thought provoking seminars, and more! Don’t be fooled by the word “campground”! They sleep in cabins and dorms and the beloved camp staff cooks that cook 3 delicious meals per day! They bring in speakers and host all sorts of fun activities. There’s a yearly dance, bonfire, and the annual talent show (a GB favorite)!
- Camp Lightbulb, takes place around the nation in in the heart of vibrant LGBTQ communities. Camps are small and intimate, allowing for a hands on and individualized experience for every camper, with a high counselor-to-camper ratio, staffed by counselors that reflect our community, who are full trained and subject to references and extensive background checks. Campers come from across the US and identify across the wonderful LGBTQ spectrum.
- ASPYRE Camp in Greensboro, NC. A Safer Place for Youth to Reach for Excellence (ASPYRE) Leadership Camp is for middle-school and high-school LGBTQ and allied students to learn how to make a difference in their schools and communities through team-building activities and presentations.
- Fluid Revolutions Queer Youth Circus Summer Camp in Durham, NC is Queer Youth Circus is a group for LGBTQIA+ youth ages 13-18 to learn circus arts and bring awareness to issues affecting them through performance. No experience is required!
- Camp Warrior in Monticello FL, where campers will move into a screen free city where they will quickly become a part of a tightly knit community. They will grow immensely while learning about independence, responsibility, how to be a team member as well as a team leader, all while having a ton of fun!
- Brave Trails in Maryland is more than just your average summer camp. While they have a lot of elements of a typical camp, the main focus is helping campers grow in to the brave leaders they are destined to be. The program focuses on four key elements: Leadership, Community Building, Self Realization, and Service. They use workshops, adventure and artistic programming, service projects, peer connections, and positive role models to create a safe space where youth can thrive. With the skills learned at camp, our campers will be primed to thrive in their schools, workplace, and personal life
And for you Adults there is Camp Camp: Enjoy a traditional summer camp making new friends and playing like a kid again! 2018 will mark their 22nd season, and the week-long camp will be held in Maine this year. Accommodations are based on gender (men’s cabin/women’s cabin, and one gender-neutral cabin). Each session has about 200-250 attendees, slightly more men than women (though they strive for 50/50), ages 21-70, though most are in their 40s, 80 percent singles. This is the perfect vacation for folks who like the outdoors, being active, and meeting new people!
Have fun this summer!
Words by Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez