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LGBT organization announces national summer camp for youth
Detroit’s Triangle Foundation invites gay youth from across the country to attend

by Jean-Marie Navetta

The staff of Camping.OUT 2006 pose for a photo after several days of training.
Photo Credit: Philip Reames
Straight kids aren’t the only ones who get to go to camp anymore. Triangle Foundation, in cooperation with national supporting organizations the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; the National Youth Advocacy Coalition; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; and the National Center for Transgender Equality, has announced that the second annual CampingOUT will be open to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied youth from across the United States.

“Camping OUT was the one place where I didn’t have to worry about what I said and if people were going to like me. For once I was accepted for who I was,” says Robert Proffer, a participant at Camping OUT 2006.

This year’s camp, which will be held in Michigan from Aug. 14–19, will build upon the success of last year’s Camping OUT, according to coordinator Greg Varnum.

“Our camp offers campers the opportunity to decide what programs they want to participate in each day,” Varnum explains. “They may decide to go swimming or canoeing in the morning, for example, and then have a group conversation about leadership facilitated by a nationally-known LGBT activist in the afternoon. The young people who attended last year’s camp loved the format — but most importantly they loved the freedom to be open and out — to play, to think out loud together, to relax and be themselves. We’re looking forward to offering the Camping OUT experience to even more youth from around the country this year.”

The camp will be open to youth aged 13-17 and will provide a welcoming, accepting place for LGBT and allied youth to have fun, make friends and expand their leadership and activism skills. The registration fee for the event is $525 — but no young person will be turned away for lack of funds, says Varnum.

“Triangle is currently raising funds for Camping OUT to make sure that any young person who wants to come, can,” he emphasizes.

More about Camping OUT
Camping OUT is a safe and unique opportunity for LGBT 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.

Camping OUT’s programming model also provides campers with plenty of time to enjoy some non-activity time where they can relax, chat with their new friends or learn about the staff’s experience in community activism.

Here is a list of just some of the activities campers may take part in during Camping OUT:
• Kayaking
• Arts & crafts
• Large group games
• Swimming
• Drama games
• Group discussions with LGBT leaders from around the country
• Ultimate Frisbee
• Campfires
• Hiking
• Painting
• Canoeing
• Presentations on issues affecting the LGBT community
• Singing
• Teambuilding activities
• Volleyball
• Sculpting
• Biking

— For more information on Camping OUT, or to make a donation to allow a young LGBT or allied youth to come to the camp, visit www.campingout.org or contact Greg Varnum via email at greg@tri.org or by phone at 313-537-3323, ext. 108.

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