Summer camp is a big part of summer for children and teenagers as it is not only very fun but provides the opportunity to build friendships and your confidence.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of young LGBTQIA+ children and teenagers who do not feel comfortable attending these camps due to the fear of not being accepted.
Every LGBTQ young person deserves the chance to attend a summer camp that is safe, inclusive, and affirming.
Why You Should Go to an LGBTQIA+ Camp
There are many reasons why you should take the plunge and go to a summer camp that has LGBTQIA+ people in mind.
One of these reasons is that you will have the opportunity to build new friendships that you will relate to in terms of gender identity, expression, and sexuality.
If you do not have a support system at home, then this will provide you with the love, respect, and acceptance that you deserve.
You will also experience a lot of team building activites such as workshops and tasks which will help you build confidence which can often be knocked down as part of growing up as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
There are also plenty of relaxing activities that you can take part in as well which includes building bonfires on the beach, swimming, creating art, or hanging out and playing instruments with one another as you share stories.
By going to an LGBTQIA+ camp, you will have complete peace of mind that you will be accepted as who you are and will face no discrimination or bullying just for being who you are!
1. Camp Aranu’tiq
Through camp experiences, the objective of this camp is to create confidence, resilience, and community for transgender and non-binary adolescents and their families.
Summer camp for children ages eight to 15, a counselor-in-training program for campers ages 16 to 18, and weekend family camp in New Hampshire are all available. Every year, Camp Aranu’tiq feeds around 650 campers.
2. Camp Highlight
Camp Highlight is a week-long camp for children aged 8 to 15 whose parents are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Campers are engaged in a broad range of recreational and team-building activities by the camp’s skilled counselors and staff, which helps them develop self-confidence, social skills, and leadership qualities in a secure and loving atmosphere.
3. Rock Camp SLC
Rock Camp SLC is a summer camp for females, transgender, and other gender queer kids aged eight to 17.
Youth of all ability levels learn to play an instrument, join a band, compose a song, and play their song on stage for friends, family, and hundreds of adoring fans during the week-long day camp.
The camp’s organizers think that sharing ideas, cooperation, and creativity foster camaraderie among females, transgender, and gender-expansive adolescents.
4. Camp Laurel
This is one of the few free LGBTQ camps available, and it is funded by the Laurel Foundation, which has been supporting and organizing free camps for adolescents with HIV/AIDS for the last 25 years, and which began a camp to help trans and gender nonconforming youth in 2017.
Open to young people aged 10 to 17; provides a safe environment for young people to be themselves while being mentored by adult trans role models.
5. Camp Lightbulb
Camp Lightbulb provides spectacular summer camp experiences for LGBTQ+ adolescents ages 14 to 18 that are full of fun, self-discovery, pride, community, friends, support, and memories to last a lifetime.
This urban camp reinvents camp by holding it in a city rather than a forest! Whale viewing, beach bonfires, self-discovery courses, and excursions into town are all available. Campers are housed in a local hostel only feet from the beach.
6. Camp Lilac
The objective of Camp Lilac is to create a secure and welcome atmosphere for transgender adolescents to be themselves in a pleasant, supportive, and youth-focused setting.
Since 2017, they have been working to create a secure, friendly, and confidential environment where gender diversity is the norm. Their curriculum is aimed to provide campers with enhanced confidence in their identities as well as a solid network of peers and supporters.
7. Camp Quinebarge
We provide a secure environment for individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community to be who they are while immersing them in a safe, fun, and enriching experience as an LGBT friendly summer camp.
Though our program is not explicitly designed for LGBTQIA+ folks, we are committed to providing an intentionally open and inclusive atmosphere for those who desire to participate.
Camp Quinebarge is a deliberately inclusive community in which all people are valued and respected, but also embraced and welcomed. Along similar lines, they appreciate and recognize that everyone is unique, including their gender expression.
8. Camp Ten Trees
Ten Trees was one of the earliest LGBTQ youth camps. This is the spot for LGBTQ campers who enjoy swimming in lakes, meeting individuals who share their ideals, and singing songs about having two mothers.
This camp is focused on social justice, and in addition to traditional camp activities, students will participate in age-appropriate programs that examine identity, oppression, social justice, and activism. You can attend as a family or just bring your children.
9. Brave Trails
Brave Trails is a nationwide non-profit focused to LGBTQ+ youth leadership development. They provide approved summer camps, family camps, mentoring programs, meet-up groups, and leadership programming year-round.
All of their programs are geared around assisting LGBTQ+ adolescents in locating what they require most in order to thrive: their people, their place, and their passion.
Every member of the camp staff has gone through a rigorous application, interview, and background check procedure. Before campers arrive, the Brave Trails crew must go through a necessary, rigorous onsite safety training.
10. Camp Odyssey
Camp Odyssey is in Oregon and is not your typical summer camp. Camp Odyssey, has an inclusive and development program for Oregon youth aged 14 to 18, promotes appreciation, understanding, and respect for cultural differences while developing leadership skills.
While participants have a good time, they also leave with the life skills necessary to transform not only themselves, but also their communities.
11. CampOut Family Camp
The objective of CampOut is to create a loving and carefree environment for LGBT families to enjoy the magic of summer camp together.
CampOut, located halfway between Chicago and Detroit, provides an all-inclusive conventional camp experience for the entire family over a long weekend.
In a gorgeous environment, enjoy programs, camp traditions, and over 30 land and water sports such as tennis, paddleboarding, water skiing and rock climbing.
12. Camp Fyerfly
Camp Fyerfly is Canada’s first national leadership retreat for young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, asexual, intersex, queer, questioning, or allied.
It is a place of joy, excitement, curiosity, and contemplation. It is also a place for introspection and identity discovery. Sometimes we’ll be in a quiet sharing circle, and other times we’ll be in a crowded lodge.
There are seminars where you may have serious conversations about identity and sing songs over a campfire. You may learn new things about yourself and others, and many campers leave camp with new friendships.
13. Camp Outright
Outright Vermont’s Camp Outright is a program. It provides typical summer camp activities such as arts, hiking, swimming, theater, yoga, campfires, talent shows, and other activities, as well as seminars and discussion groups focused particularly toward satisfying the needs of LGBTQIA+ adolescents.
Counselors-in-training ages 19-22 and trained adult volunteer staff organize programs depending on campers’ interests, such as soccer, archery, tennis, swimming, and boating.
The camp also features visual and performing arts classes, as well as unique topical workshops that address social justice concerns in the trans, queer, and questioning community.
14. The Naming Project
The Naming Project, the first camp for Christian LGBTQ youth, provides a safe and holy environment for adolescents of all sexual orientations and gender identities to be named and claimed by a loving God.
Campers are provided a safe space to explore and express their religion in a supportive and life-giving community, as well as the tools to reach out to others and fight for structural change in church and society.
15. Camp Ga’avah (Pride)
The Friedberg Jewish Community Center in Oceanside, New York has launched a new camp for LGBTQ youth aged six to 17.
The camp tries to create a safe and supportive environment for children that identify as LGBTQ, gender fluid or gender questioning. Members such as a brother or a friend, are invited to join as well.
As the years go by, more and more summer camps are being founded that specifically have LGBTQIA+ youth in mind.
They are usually owned by those who also identify as LGBTQIA+ and therefore really understand what it feels like to not have a safe space that uses the correct language and lets them grow and flourish in who they are.
Some of these camps also allow for the whole family to attend which may be able to help parents get a better understanding of what it means to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
They will also have the opportunity to talk to other parents or legal guardians who are also going through the journey of bringing up an LGBTQIA+ child.