On May 17th, National Day Against Homophobia, Rainbow Camp, an LGBTQ2+ camp in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario is launched a national crowdfunding campaign, Help Rainbow Camp to help fund their camp and promote a safe space for queer youth.
With the help of well-known Canadian actors Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath, whose daughter recently announced her gender transition, Rainbow Camp has a strong support system. Due to the growing numbers of inquiries, Rainbow Camp has expanded to three weeks for 2018. They are looking to raise $45,000 to help support this year’s camp season.
Founded in 2012 by Harry Stewart of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Rainbow Camp has been a one week safe-haven for 35 campers to truly be themselves in an inclusive and supportive environment.
“51 weeks out of the year, most of our campers don't have a safe space to be themselves. Many of our campers come from foster homes and can’t afford to attend camp. Some even come from as far as the states. It is our job to try and find the means to bring these youth to camp which sometimes even includes airfare,” said Harry.
This year, Rainbow Camp has expanded to three-weeks to accommodate the requests from LGBTQ2+ youth from across North America. However, the current camp is only a rental space and accommodates a maximum of 35 campers per week. If successful, the crowdfunding campaign would not only help with supporting campers this year but it would also help Rainbow Camp find a permanent space to call its own.
Colin and Deb performed in 2016 at a Rainbow Camp fundraising event and were inspired by the importance of camp and they offered to help raise funds and awareness.
Rainbow Camp is operated by Welcome Friend Association and is a two-week camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, 2 spirit and plus (LGBTQ2+) along with Allied youth, their siblings and children in Queer families. Rainbow Camp is committed to developing a camp community which honours creativity, individual choice and social justice.