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Author Topic: Summer Camp for Gay Teens  (Read 5575 times)

Feral

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Summer Camp for Gay Teens
« on: November 06, 2006, 10:17:55 PM »

Summer camp for gay teens urged

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A Winnipeg volunteer trying to start Manitoba's first summer camp specifically for gay teens and young adults is aware the concept could draw opposition.

"(The camp) is not about hooking up with people. It can't be about that. It's about leadership and self-development and community -- it's not about having sex," said Jennifer Davis, dismissing the notion the proposed $60,000 camp is a "free-for-all" for participants.

The camp's an idea Davis brought to Manitoba after volunteering at a similar camp in Edmonton last summer. Targeted at youth between 14 and 24 years of age that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (commonly known by the acronym GLBT), Davis and other local volunteers want to create a similar four-day program here in August.

Davis said the camp will focus on boosting the self-esteem of often marginalized young GLBT men and women, some of whom hail from remote Canadian communities where they're ostracized for their sexual orientation.

"There's a no sex, no drugs, no alcohol rule," she said. "It comes up, especially with critics, with the way people often think about gay men. Unfortunately, it's a reality in our world that people don't think about what they're saying."


Bah -- the bigots think plenty about what they're saying. They're morons. I like the idea of gay summer camps so well that I will do the organizers the favor of not telling their potential charges how really very strict a gaggle of mother-hen queens can be.

Before I quite hop on-board the bandwagon I'm going to want to know how many kids we're talking about. I'd surely like to see the volunteers compensated for their time, particularly if it means better qualified staff, but $60,000 seems a bit much to me for four days. For that matter, four days seems entirely inadequate. My recollections of summer camp involve one to two weeks.

Some existing programs of this sort in North America:

(Note that there are quite likely others -- these are just the ones that proved easiest to find.)

YES Summer Camp
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
New York

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The purpose of the YES Summer Community Camp program is to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people with the support, knowledge and skills they need to take charge of their own health and well-being. Because so many LGBT youth lack a support network that is affirming of their identities, we seek to create a supportive network through the camp program.


Camp Ten Trees
Kitsap Peninsula, Washington State

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Camp Ten Trees is an overnight summer camp located in Washington State.

Camp Ten Trees features one week for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, and one week for the children of LGBTQ families.

At Camp Ten Trees, children and youth build self-confidence and strength in diversity in an environment which challenges homophobia and provides a range of traditional camp activities.


Camping.OUT
Triangle Foundation
Michigan

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Camping.OUT is a safe and unique opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied youth to participate in a traditional summer camp and be engaged in how they can become leaders in their community. While the camp's primary focus will be the types of fun activities you would expect from a summer camp, campers will have the opportunity to participate in group discussions, workshops and activities designed to improve their skills as community leaders.

Because Triangle Foundation believes that youth deserve to be listened to and respected, Camping.OUT is designed to engage youth and not simply entertain or occupy them. Camping.OUT will utilize a free choice programming model, which allows campers to decide for themselves what they would like to do from a variety of activities being facilitated by our trained staff. Each activity period will offer a different set of activities to choose from and campers will be able to provide input to the staff on what types of activities they would like offered.


Camp Fyrefly
Edmonton, Alberta

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Description:
Camp fYrefly is Canada's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified and queer youth leadership retreat. The third annual camp will be held from July 6-9, 2006 in Edmonton, Alberta.

To obtain a youth application package, or for more information email: outisin@ualberta.ca

Background:
Camp fYrefly stands for fostering, Youth, resiliency, energy, fun, leadership, yeah! It was created by Dr. Andre P. Grace and Mr. Kristopher Wells in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. The camp is designed to build the leadership capacity and resiliency of sexual minority youth.

Objectives:
The Camp is facilitated by trained adult educators, youth workers, and youth leaders who offer a wide range of powerful youth focused workshops and creative skills-building activities. The Camp is jam-packed with drama, music, writing, visual art, empowerment, reflection, anti-oppression work, personal growth opportunities, and in depth learning activities about specific youth social issues.


Note that while Camp Fyrefly claims only to be the largest program of its sort in Canada, other sources say that it is the only program of it's sort in Canada. I know of at least two additional camps in Canada that focus on the needs of the children of gays and lesbians. The proposed program in Manitoba is thus most welcome and quite necessary.
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vanrozenheim

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Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2007, 11:21:13 PM »

Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
Quote
Maya Ashmore was one of 55 participants from their mid-teens to late 20s at this year's Camp fYrefly, an acronym for "fostering youth, resiliency, energy, fun, leadership -- yay!" The camp, which had a waiting list, ended Sunday. It aims to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered young adults explore and own their sexuality and become leaders in their communities, said the camp's co-founder Kristopher Wells. Wells founded the camp in 2004 with Dr. Andre Grace, his PhD supervisor in the University of Alberta's department of educational policy studies. Now in its fourth year, fYrefly has grown from 30 to 55 campers. As fYrefly's popularity grows, Wells said they're looking into making more camps across Canada, with the possibility of a Camp fYrefly East in Halifax. Wells said the camp gives young adults not only an improved sense of self-esteem, but a sense of social esteem because they know they have a peer support network.


That's the way to go. Take more of them, make the Camp permanent and you have a Gay town. Isn't it wonderfull that those kids have understood so early what many adult Gays can't grasp (due to the decades-long conditioning): that it is GREATE to be with your people, in a loving surrounding?
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berto

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RE: Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2007, 05:05:36 PM »

And from a queer town, it's not that big a step to a queer city, territory... nation.
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berto

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Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2007, 01:38:03 PM »

Manitoba camp for gay youth hailed as a success

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Manitoba's first camp for gay youth, called an "absolutely amazing success" by organizers, was launched by a group of gay adults who remember their own camping experiences as unbearable.

Camp Aurora's inaugural four-day program ended Thursday, with 29 youth between the ages of 14 and 21 taking part. "Everyone was talking about how they were already excited for next year," camp director Jonny Sopotiuk told CTV.ca.

The camp's goal was to provide some acceptance, support and camaraderie not easily found outside Winnipeg's relatively small gay community.

Modeled after a similar camp in Alberta, Camp Aurora focused on "building and nurturing the leadership capabilities and resiliency of LGBTT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified and Two-spirited) and allied youth."
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Feral

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Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2007, 02:45:04 AM »

Quote
"absolutely amazing success"


Well, of course it was a success. Why would it not have been? I see nothing "amazing" here.

Which leads me to my question -- is there some vernacular usage of the word 'amazing' in Manitoba (or Canada, for that matter) that I'm not getting?

The program really should be longer -- four days is inadequate. Were they to organize these outings every month (or most months, considering how very moosey Manitoba can be), then four days would be sufficient. They should stop calling it a camp though.

This, by the way, would be one of the more important bits:

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"It's hard to find this in our community, this kind of support," 20-year-old Scott Childs said.


It is unclear from its context in the story just what Mr Childs means by "this kind of support." Someone should probably get around to finding out... and then providing with all haste. There is no excuse whatsoever for our youth to have trouble finding support of any kind in the Gay community. It is not their task to locate it; it is the duty of the community to make it readily available.

I'm not too troubled by the omission though. The story also manages to cleverly omit the name of the organization that produced this fine program. It manages to be completely ignorant of the name of the similarly fine program in Alberta. It manages to tease about "plans to launch similar camps in Halifax and other cities across Canada" without ever dropping a single clue that the reporters have any idea who plans these camps and where.

Whatever. Somehow I already know the answers to most of those questions, and a simple e-mail would get me the answer to the last one (should curiosity start to burn), so a reporter's seemingly deliberate ignorance is of little import to me.

You can toss some Loonies at Camp Aurora (and other activities) here. (You can read about donating here, as well, though reading about donating is not at all the same thing as coughing up dollars.)
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vanrozenheim

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Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2007, 03:17:15 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Quote
"It's hard to find this in our community, this kind of support," 20-year-old Scott Childs said.


It is unclear from its context in the story just what Mr Childs means by "this kind of support."


I strongly suspect that he actually means "any kind of support" -- both from the straight society and the Gay community. Excessive support on the one side can compensate for the lack of such on the other, but if there is no support from anybody, it's really a hard time.
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Feral

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Camp offers young gays acceptance, self-esteem
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2007, 10:32:45 AM »

I think you may be right, though without asking, there is no telling just what is on the young man's mind exactly. In any event, the Rainbow Resource Centre, who claims to provide "support and resources to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and two-spirited communities of Manitoba and North Western Ontario" can stop patting themselves on the back at once (though really, Camp Aurora was, by all accounts, a brilliant success) and redouble their efforts elsewhere.

Mean of me, I know... but I didn't write RRC's mission statement -- they did. It seems to me self-evident that they need to apply their efforts differently.
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