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Camps for Youth

What do you get when you combine s’mores, archery, arts, wilderness skills, and bug juice with a safe space for LGBTQ youth and families? The camps below all fit the bill, offering the activities you’d find at a traditional summer camp with a safe and nurturing environment for LGBTQ kids.

Brave Trails Brave Trails is more than just your average summer camp. While we have a lot of elements of a typical camp, our main focus is helping our campers grow in to the brave leaders they are destined to be. Our program focuses on four key elements: Leadership, Community Building, Self Realization, and Service. We 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. In addition, our campers will have the knowledge and confidence to be more impactful leaders and implement innovative social change in their communities.

Camp Ga’avah (Pride)  A new camp introduced by the Friedberg Jewish Community Center in Oceanside, NY for LGBTQ children ages 6 through 17. The camp strives to provide a safe, welcoming place for kids who identify as LGBTQ as well as gender fluid, gender creative and gender questioning. Allies, such as a sibling or friend, are also encouraged to join.

Camp Highlight Camp Highlight is a week-long camp for children ages 8 to 15 who have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parent or parents. The camp’s experienced counselors and staff engage campers in a wide variety of recreational and team-building activities that help them develop self-confidence, social skills, and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment.

Camp Lightbulb Launched in August 2012, Camp Lightbulb celebrates LGBTQ young people by providing a positive week-long, overnight summer camp experience for LGBTQ youth, aged 14 to 17. Based in Provincetown, MA, Camp Lightbulb campers come from across the US and identify along the full LGBTQ spectrum. All staff members are subject to references and background checks. Roughly 40% of campers receive full or partial scholarships.

Camp Lilac Camp Lilac is a summer camp in Ohio for transgender and gender diverse youth. Since 2017, they’ve been creating a safe, welcoming, and confidential space in which gender diversity is the norm. Their program is designed so that campers emerge with an increased sense of confidence in their identities and a strong community of peers and supporters.

Camp OUTdoors! Based in Phoenix and Prescott Arizona, with collaborative partners throughout the state and country, Camp OUTdoors! helps Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth ages 11-24 develop collaboration and leadership skills, and the development of a strong sense of self and community. The camp’s emphasis on low tech and high engagement is reinforced via activities like horseback riding, zip-lining, a drum circle, and educational workshops.

Camp Outright Camp Outright is a program of Outright Vermont. It’s open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and straight allied (LGBTQQA) youth, ages 13-18. Counselors-in-training ages 19-22 and trained adult volunteer staff facilitate programs based on campers’ interests, including traditional summer camp activities like soccer, archery, tennis, swimming and boating, as well as visual and performing arts, and special topical workshops that address social justice issues within the queer, trans, and questioning community.

Camp Ten Trees At Camp Ten Trees, campers participate in camp, group, and individual activities that strengthen old skills and develop new ones in a structured outdoor setting. In addition to specialty waterfront and archery areas directed by nationally certified instructors, the camp offers arts & crafts, boating, swimming, creative writing, cartooning, dancing, nature walks, low ropes challenge, archery, discussions, music, sports, youth organizing, and much more. The Leadership, Education, and Development (LEAD) Camper Program lets campers ages 16-17 gain the skills needed to become summer camp volunteers. Camp Ten Trees takes justifiable pride in the fact that they have never had to turn away a camper for financial reasons.

Harbor Camps Nick Teich dreamed of a safe and fun place for youth who felt like they might not fit in at other camps because of their gender. To meet their needs, he founded Harbor Camps in 2009. Camp’s mission is to build confidence, resilience, and community for transgender and non-binary youth and their families through camp experiences. They offer summer camp for ages 8 – 15, a counselor-in-training program for campers 16 – 18 and weekend families camp in New Hampshire. Harbor Camps serves over 900 campers a year.

kin·dom camp kin·dom camp is an opportunity for LBGTQIA+ youth ages 12-17 to come and experience a week of affirmation, celebration, and FUN! kin•dom camp will include plenty of “traditional” camp activities and recreation, plus some specialized programming to incorporate activities and conversations around mental health, yoga and embodiment, and LGBTQIA+ history and culture. While kin•dom community is a spiritual community, camp is a space where faith-related activities are opt-in only.

Odyssey Teen Camp A safe environment for all kids to be exactly who they are, in an inclusive community that fully embraces diversity! A safe place for teens to be exactly who they are. LGBTQ+, shy or anxious, and everyone in between can have fun, relax and make great friends.

One Heartland One Heartland’s mission is to “improve the lives of children, youth and families facing significant health challenges or social isolation.” The core programs that support that mission are a series of summer camps, including Camp Heartland (for youth infected or affected by HIV/AIDS), Camp Hollywood HEART (a Malibu-based arts camp for youth affected by HIV/AIDS), Camp Northstar (for children and youth living in transitional housing), Camp 5210 (for youth working to achieve a healthy lifestyle), and Camp True Colors (for youth identifying as LGBTQ). Once a year, the organization also runs OneFutures, a youth retreat for ages 16-22, which is open to all populations served by One Heartland.

Rebels of the Moon A summer camp built for young women and gender non-conforming folks who are interested in connecting to nature, yoga, social justice, community and radical self-love. They will spend each day focusing on one of the 7 energy centers in the body exploring what it means to step into one’s personal power and voice.

The Naming Project The first camp for Christian LGBTQ youth, The Naming Project provides a safe and sacred space where youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities are named and claimed by a loving God. Campers are given a place to explore and share their faith among a healthy and life-giving community, while being given the tools to reach out to others and advocate for systemic change in church and society.

TYEF Camp Run by the Maine-based Trans Youth Equality Foundation, TYEF Camp is for kids ages 7-17. Camps are held in the summer and fall, and include kayaking, arts, hiking, zipline, archery, bonfires, support groups, and more for transgender youth.