2022 will mark Rainbow Camp’s® 10th year of offering 2SLGBTQ+ inclusive camps. To mark the occasion, they are doubling the number of sessions and adding new programming for this summer.
Rainbow Camp® welcomes young people who are two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning (2SLGBTQ+) and allied youth, no matter what their financial situation; as the camp offers financial assistance and grants for those in need. Situated in the wilderness East of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, campers come from across North America.
According to Mallory Brennan, Assistant to the Executive Director, there will be 5 sessions of Rainbow Camp® for campers ages 12-14, and 15-17. “We’re excited to offer both 1- week and 2-week sessions this year,” Brennan said. “It’s a large increase from 2019 when we only ran 3 weeks.” Additionally, Rainbow Camp® is offering a Leader in Training (LIT) program for ages 17-18. The LIT program aims to foster skills in collaboration, accountability and leadership through the lens of camp counsellors and leaders in the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
There are three main streams of programming: education and activism, active outdoors, and artistic endeavours. They also have a new adventure week for those who want to take part in a week-long canoe trip, and no previous experience is necessary.
At the campers’ and parents’ request, Rainbow Camp® has returned to a face-to-face experience this year. “COVID has created so much isolation that kids were hoping that we would have actual camp,” said Harry Stewart, co-founder with his husband Chris Southin. “Many parents are looking for a ‘safe place’ for their kids to be themselves.”
There is space for 200 campers for the summer 2022 season, and registration is now open, with camps running from July 3 to August 21. Stephanie Voyer, Rainbow Camp Director, says “We believe camp can change a young person’s life. “Rainbow Camp® sells out annually, but hopeful campers can add their name to a waitlist if they aren’t able to register.”
About Rainbow Camp®
Rainbow Camp® is a welcoming, inclusive, safe space for 2SLGBTQ+ 12-17-year-olds to experience summer camp. Founded in 2012 and run by members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community (including many former campers), Rainbow Camp® is committed to developing a camp community honouring creativity, individual choice, and social justice, while having fun. Situated in the pristine wilderness just East of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, Rainbow Camp® has welcomed over 500 campers from across North America since 2012. Over 70 percent of campers are subsidized based on financial need, to ensure that everyone can attend. Campers call it a life-changing experience, and in some cases, a life-saving experience. Husbands Harry Stewart and Chris Southin, were recently selected as recipients of the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal for co-founding Rainbow Camp® and for their work in support of 2SLGBTQ+ youth. The camp is organized by Welcome Friend Association, a registered charity that provides outreach to and support for people affected by gender and sexual issues. They are online at: www.WelcomeFriend.ca