The University of British Columbia is running a new camp for queer, trans, questioning and allied youth from across the province this summer. After the success of last year’s pilot project, UBC’s Access and Diversity office is launching CampOUT! from August 5 – 8.
“We are so pleased that we will be able to offer this camp as a resource to these diverse communities,” says Janet Mee, director of UBC Access and Diversity. “The knowledge and expertise at UBC, a leading research institution, will be directly available to the campers. CampOUT! connects youth to a wider community and the university.”
For youth aged 14 to 21, CampOUT! aims to create a camping experience that fosters practical social, spiritual, educational, health, and leadership skills in an inspiring and welcoming space.
“I am excited to be involved in developing an innovative program for CampOUT! that will allow youth to discover the unique gifts they have as individuals, and how to use those gifts to better their lives, and the lives of those around them,” says camp director Anna White.
Programming for the camp is being developed based on suggestions made by the Youth Advisory Committee and the Community Advisory Committee — a group of UBC faculty and staff and community members who have expertise in the issues facing queer, trans, questioning and allied youth. The committees will ensure the programming is imaginative, critical, and innovative.
Youth leaders and adult volunteers will support and mentor participants throughout their journey at camp.
“The peer led approach to CampOUT! will establish a network and sense of community for queer youth across the province,” says Paul Hillsdon, member of the Youth Advisory Committee. “Campers and leaders will learn from each other’s experiences, and create a support network that will last long after the camp is over.”
Last year researchers at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health hosted Camp Fyrefly, a camp program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning, and allied youth developed at the University of Alberta in 2004. The camp was a success and illustrated the need to develop a camp that meets the distinct needs of B.C.’s communities.
“For my daughter, the camp was like ‘coming home’ to a new community,” says Bergen Amren, whose daughter participated in the pilot camp last summer. “She has continued to benefit from this experience, keeping in touch with several individuals from the camp and carrying a greater sense of self-confidence into all her relationships with family and friends.”
UBC has joined forces with several community partners including TELUS, Out in Schools, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Scotiabank and Coast Capital Savings, to provide additional programming activities.
Thirty campers have registered so far, and CampOUT hopes at least 60 youth will be able to participate. Camper applications are due June 8. Applications to be a youth leader or adult volunteer are due by June 8 and June 16 respectively.
For more information, please visit: http://campout.ubc.ca