LGBTQ Camps and Retreats 2021 List

NOVEMBER 2021: I have now posted my 2022 list, which has the most up to date info about camps for summer 2022. Find it here.

JULY 2021: I have done my best to update the camp to reflect covid cancellations and current 2021 camp dates!

DEC 2020: This list, first published in 2015 and then updated annually since 2018, continues to be the main reason that folks land on my blog. (You can find the 2020 list here). Looking at my blog statistics and seeing that folks have searched “LGBTQ camps near me” or “gay camps for teens like me” brings me so much joy! I am glad that people have found this resource and I hope that you are able to find something that works for you or your family!

The list includes traditional week-long summer camps, 3-4 Day Retreats, themed camps (music, art, sports, spiritual), and camps for college students, families, and adults. For each camp, I have provided a synopsis, cost info, and dates when available.

As camps update their information about registration, dates, and prices over the next few months/next year, I will continue to edit the list. And as always, I welcome comments and emails letting me know about new camps or camps that I have somehow missed! (Or letting me know about broken links/typos/incorrect info. I do my best, but this is a mammoth document, and I make mistakes, and URLS change).

Please note: currently this list is for LGBTQ-specific camps. I know that there are also an increasing number of LGBTQ-friendly and affirming camps, and at some point would love to add a section/list for the ones who are doing that important work of inclusion as well but for now don’t have the capacity to keep another list. Feel free to add a comment with your camp info if you are an lgbtq-friendly camp and want to spread the word.

As some of my long-time readers know, I hope to one day add my own camp to this list. My dream is to organize an arts and theatre camp for LGBTQ youth on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Please be in touch (jessica dot vooris at gmail dot com) if you would be interested in supporting this kind of project or want to be on the contact list for your family/child! (Currently hoping to run a weekend retreat in Fall 2022).

In May 2019 I also created a map for a quick glance to see if there are camps near you. Note that some of the locations are aproxímate as many camps keep their exact sites private for safety reasons. LGBTQ Summer Camp 2019 MAP! (I don’t have time to update it for 2021, but many of the camps are still running).

Thank-you everyone who has emailed me about your camp over the years, it is exciting to watch this list continue to grow!

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Week-Long Summer Camps

2. Weekend/3-4 Day Retreats

3. Art, Music and Theatre Camps

4. Spirituality-Based Camps

5. Sports-Focused Camps

6. POC Specific Camps

7. Camps Outside of North America

8. College Students

9. Camps for children with LGBTQ Parents

10. Family Camps (For Parents and Children to Attend Together)

11. Summer Camp for Adults!

1.

TRADITIONAL WEEK-LONG SUMMER CAMPS.

Camp Aranu’tiq for trans kids is a part of Harbor camps, which also includes Camp Seneb for kids with dwarfism, and Camp Reflections for kids with cranio-facial differences. Camp Aranu’tiq is for trans and gender-variant youth aged 8-15 years. Unfortunately, due to so much interest, as of 2018 new campers can only enroll from age 8-13. Fourteen and 15 year olds must be returners–note that family camp counts as “returning.”

They also started a camp program for counselors in training, which replaces their “leadership camp” for 16-18 year olds, and they host two family weekends in the fall, Labor Day Weekend and the weekend before. They are located in New Hampshire, and have a beautiful 116 acres property on a lake! Camp activities include swimming, kayaking, arts and crafts, campfire songs, archery, Gaga (a form of dodgeball), drama, birdwatching, D & D, storytelling workshops, and more. They emphasize kids just being kids and having fun at a “traditional” camp, there are no formal conversations about gender/sexuality. Full Camp Cost for folks who can afford it: $1,175 per week. Subsidized rate (no questions asked): $795 per week. Scholarships available for folks who can’t afford the subsidized rate.

2021:

3 weeks: June 27-July 16th
2 weeks: July 18th-July 30th
1 week: August 1-7th

Camp Brave Trails. The first leadership camp for LGBTQ youth and allies (aged 12-20) in California, Camp Brave Trails had their first camp in 2015. They have one week and two week sessions available in California, and also host a one week camp in western Maryland. Activities include a low ropes course, swimming, archery, culinary arts etc, along with workshops on activist storytelling, gender identity and expression, body image and self-esteem, Lgbtq history, and drag make-up. The whole camp also participates in a day of service. This camp highlights the importance of leadership skills and learning about social justice. Select campers aged 18-20 will have the opportunity to participate in the Unicorn Justice League, building leadership skills and leading a few workshops. Brave Trails also hosts year-long programming for their campers, including Brave Space–once a month get togethers–and a mentoring program where youth are paired with an adult counselor/mentor for a year.

Cost: $1200 for one week plus $150 COVID Fee. Fundraising/Financial Support available. There is an $20 app fee.

2021 Dates: 

SESSION 1 California: July 4 – 10, 2021
SESSION 2 California: July 18 – 24, 2021
SESSION 3 California: August 1 – 7, 2021
SESSION 4: Maryland: August 19 – 25, 2021

Épanouie: Pasadena, California. A day-camp (10am-2 pm) for trans-feminine youth ages 10-12. Épanouie is 5 days, and youth will connect with others who have a similar gender journey to them, having a ton of fun playing indoor and outdoor games, making art, and engaging in team-building activities. Activities focus on increasing resilience, while also “providing youth with skills and information for body positivity and puberty awareness.” Organized through a collaboration between the Los Angeles Gender Center, the Institute for Girls’ Development, and the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Cost: early bird–$570 (till June 9th), then $610. Bring a friend discount of $50. Some partial scholarships available.

2021 Dates: Monday, June 28 – Friday, July 2, 2021

Camp Fire/Camp Waluhili. Tulsa, OK. Alongside other programming, Camp Waluhili hosts an LGBTQ+ specific camp for campers aged 8-17. (16-17 years olds are in the CIT program). “This camp is for youth of all genders, gender expressions, sexual and romantic orientations, and to the youth allies who support them.” Like many camps, youth engage in a variety of fun activities (which they decide on daily), and build strong friendships. Camp Fire has a strong commitment to diversity, especially around disability, and LGBTQ identities, as they want to make sure that every camper is able to come to camp! Cost: $385 per week. (If I am looking at the correct info). Limited camperships are available, but due to high demand, no full scholarships are available.

2021 Dates TBA–Not sure they are running their LGBTQ session in 2021.

Camp Indigo: Oakland, CA, and Boulder, Colorado. (Two locations!) This day camp is organized by three different age groups, 4-12 year olds, 12-13 year olds, and 14-17 year olds. There are scholarships/financial aid available.

For the 4-12 year olds: “Camp Indigo follows a structured model of learning and play. Kids are grouped by age and rotate into art, science, maker, and outdoor play classes. Campers can interact and play across age groups at snack time, lunch, and during our all camp activities!”

Camp Indigo will be in Boulder this year, for the first time!

2021: June 7th-11th (Boulder), June 21st-July 2nd (Oakland), August 2-6th (online)

Laurel Foundation’s Camp Mulberry: Bear Lake CA. FREE. One of the only free LGBTQ camps out there, sponsored by the Laurel Foundation which has been supporting and running free camps for youth with HIV/AIDS for the last 25 years, and in 2017 started a camp to support trans and gender nonconforming youth. Open for youth aged 10-17; provides a safe space for youth to be themselves and to be mentored by adult trans role models. See an article about the camp here. Again, it is FREE. (Funded through several big corporations including Wells Fargo, which I understand could be a sticking point for some folks). This year with covid, campers will be organized in small cabin groups with two counselors.

2021 Dates: August 1-6th

(Family Camp: October 9-10th 2020)

Camp Lightbulb. Provincetown. This camp “celebrates LGBTQ youth 14-17, and 18-20 with magical, overnight experiences.” They began in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 2011, and have also held camps in Los Angeles and NYC. In summer 2021 they will celebrate their tenth anniversary! This year, due to covid, they have been hosting weekend virtual camps. Camp is always organized around six elements: “camp fun & art & the outdoors & community & well-being & service.” Camp Lightbulb also connects campers to the rich LGBTQ history and LGBTQ communities in each of the sites where their camps are held. Unlike many camps Camp Lightbulb is not completely cell-phone free, campers are allowed to use them at specific hours of the day, which may be considered a bonus for many campers and families!

Cost: “We are keeping our rates unchanged for the third year in a row! Our Early Bird Special is $999, which will last until December 31. Starting January 1, ticket prices will increase to $1,250 for our Regular Rate. Need more time? Secure your place with a $250 deposit on the Regular Rate before December 31! Campership details will be available in the New Year.”

2021 dates:
Provincetown Week 1: July 4 – 10, 2021
Provincetown Week 2: July 11 – 17, 2021

Camp Lilac. Ohio. A week-long camp for transgender and gender-diverse youth aged 12-17, organized through TransAction. The purpose of the camp is to provide a safe, nurturing, youth-led environment and participants can do a variety of traditional camp activities, including arts and crafts, high-ropes course, and archery, as well as trans-specific workshops. “This summer, Camp Lilac is going virtual! We’ll be hosting TWO online camp sessions…and we can’t wait to see you at one (or both!) of them.” COST: $450 per week

2021 dates:

Week 1: June 27th to July 2nd
Week 2: July 11th to 16th

Camp OutRight. Vermont. This is a week-long residential summer camp in Starksboro, Vermont for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, queer, questioning, and allied youth aged 13-17. Youth aged 18-19 are encouraged to join the counselor in training program. Camp activities include traditional camp fun like archery, swimming, boating, tennis, as well as arts and theatre, and social justice related workshops. Cost: $625. There are a limited number of partial scholarships available for VT youth who are in financial need.

“Camp Outright is a unique program for LGBTQ+ youth that weaves together community, justice, and FUN! We are committed to this life-changing program – even as we navigate the realities of the COVID-19 panna cotta. This year, we are committed to providing safe, in person Camp – offering TWO distinct sessions for the first time ever! That means more joy, more laughter, and more room to breathe for LGBTQ+ youth than ever before. Heck yeah!”

2021 Dates: July 3 – 9 and July 11 – 17.

Rainbow Camp: Arkansas. Diverse Youth for Social Change Camp for LGBTQ and Allied youth aged 13-22.  This summer camp is a chance for young people to develop their leadership skills and build community. For more info email: CARLGBTQ@gmail.com.

Camp Rainbow Phoenix: PFLAG Durham, Ontario, Canada.For LGBTQ youth aged 13-17. “Youth Leadership Camp focuses on building and nurturing the leadership potential and personal resiliency of youth in an effort to help them become agents of positive social change in their schools, families, and communities. ” This camp is FREE, and is funded through donations from the community. Due to covid, Rainbow Camp will be virtual in 2021.

2021: July 20th – 22nd, and August 17th – 19th.

Camp Speers YMCA LGBTQ Week: Outside Philly, PA in the Poconos Mountains. This YMCA hosts it’s first LGBTQ week this year! for LGBTQ youth, allies, and children with LGBTQ parents, grades 7-12. This will be a safe space for all campers to have fun and participate in traditional camp activities while building confidence and focusing on the four YMCA values.

NOTE: “**We apologize that in our initial registration form there are only two gender options. We are working with our registration system developers to have more gender-inclusive options. Please bear with us as we work to make our system as inclusive as we are.**

Cost: $965, contact them for financial aid.

2021: June 27-July 2nd

Camp Ten Oaks: Canada. Two locations, one near Ottawa, and one closer to Toronto. This is a “sleep-away camp for children and youth ages 8-17 from LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, queer) identities, families and communities.” It is the first of its kind in Canada, and opened its doors in 2005. Activities at Camp Ten Oaks include sports, waterfront activities, hiking and nature exploration, as well as social justice discussions, and they believe in empowerment through play.

“Sadly, overnight camp programs will not be running this year. HOWEVER! We are excited to be offering alternative programming in partnership with Out to Play in the form of two weeks of day camp in Ottawa at a farm and forest school! Register here! There are limited spots available (only 16 campers per week, divided into two cohorts of eight) and we know this is not geographically accessible for some of you; for those of you who won’t be joining us this summer, you will be so missed.”

Camp Ten Trees. Pacific Northwest. This was one of the first camps for LGBTQ youth, and they have grown tremendously since their beginning in 2001. They have a week-long summer camp for LGBTQ youth, as well as weekend camps in the Spring and Fall for LGBTQA youth aged 13-17, and also a summer camp for youth and children (aged 8-17) of LGBT and non-traditional families. In 2019, they had their first trans-specific week for trans, gender-variant, and non-binary youth. This camp is social justice-oriented, and along with the typical camp activities, the campers will engage in age-appropriate workshops that explore identity, oppression, social justice, and activism. For select older campers, aged 16-17, there is a change to gain leadership skills through the LEAD camper program. Tuition is based on a sliding scale from 100% of tuition to 35% of tuition. Pay what you can. Full scholarships also available.

2021: NO CAMPS in 2021, sadly.

Camp True Colors. Willow River, Minnestoa. This camp is organized by One Heartland which serves youth of different social identities who may be navigating isolation/stigma in their lives. True Colors is their camp for LGBTQ youth and in 2021 they will host 3 separate sessions! Camp activities include canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts and talent shows, as well as educational sessions on matters pertaining to the LGBT community.

2021 Dates:
June 20 – 25, 2021 – Ages 12-17
June 27 – July 2, 2021 – Ages 7-17, transgender and/or nonbinary, or otherwise gender expansive
July 18-30, 2021 (two week session) – Ages 13-17

Camp Unicorn: Pasadena, CA. A summer day camp (1pm-4 pm) for trans and gender non-conforming kids aged 6-10. Connect, create, empower! “Join others on a similar gender journey for four days of arts, crafts, games, and unicorn magic!” Includes a unicorn pop bake-off, face-painting, water balloons, and a magic show. Organized through a collaboration between the Los Angeles Gender Center, the Institute for Girls’ Development, and the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Cost: early bird: $360 (till June 1st), then $385. Bring a friend discount of $50. Some partial scholarships available.

2021 Dates: July 19th-2022

Welcome Friend Association’s Rainbow Camp:Summer camp located in Northern Ontario, Canada for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, 2 spirited, plus and Allied youth, their siblings and children in Queer families, aged 12-17. They also have a two week Leaders in Training program for youth 18-19. This camp includes traditional camp activities as well as workshops that focus on gender, sexuality, health, community, leadership, and creating safe spaces.  This is one of the cheaper camps. Although it costs approximately $1000 per camper, cost is only $350, due to fundraising, and there are additional subsidies available and travel funds if needed. LIT: $500. (I assume these are Canadian dollars).

Unfortunately, due to covid, Rainbow Camp is online again in 2021. See more info here about their virtual programming.

2021 Dates:  Artistic Endeavours: July 4-9, July 11-16, Leadership and Activism: July 18-23, July 25-30, Music, Movement and Mayhem: August 2-6, August 9-13, Let the Gaymes Begin: August 15-20, August 22-27

Camp YouthSeen: Colorado. A camp for LGBTQ teens on “61 acres that offer a mix of alpine, prairie, and riparian ecosystems. ” Camp provides a space for interdependence, friendship and community belonging, and campers are supervised by dedicated counselors who provide a safe space for youth to be themselves. Cost is $700 for the week, and scholarships are available.

2021 Dates: July 17th- July 24th

Back to Table of Contents.
2.

WEEKEND/4-DAY CAMPS/RETREATS

ASPYRE Camp: Greensboro, NC. A Safer Place for Youth to Reach for Excellence (ASPYRE) Leadership Camp is for middle-school and high-school LGBTQ and allied students to learn how to make a difference in their schools and communities through team-building activities and presentations. Due to donations, cost is only $25 per student. Usually held a weekend in March.

2021 Dates: Postponed due to covid.

Camp Aurora: Manitoba, Canada. Hosted in Whiteshell Provincial Park, this is a weekend retreat for 2SLGBTQ+ youth aged 14-19. This is an inclusive environment for youth to themselves and feel supported, while doing the typical summer camp activities like canoeing, swimming, crafts, s’mores, a talent show, and more! Cost: unknown, but one of their goals is to support youth of different socio-economic backgrounds.

2021: TBA

Camp Dragonfly: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “Camp is open to kids who are trans+, Two-Spirit, genderqueer, non-binary, gender creative, agender, gender diverse, and all gender minorities, along with their siblings and friends who are between the ages of 6-13. Join us for a day and a half of arts and crafts, dance, music, sports, and more.” Note that this is a day camp, not a sleep-away camp! Cost: $50 per kid. $125 cap for families sending more than one kiddo! If cost is a barrier, please get in touch.

Camp 2021: August 21-22.

Day 1 of camp will be held virtually on August 21, 2021 from 10.00am – 4.00pm. 

Day 2 of camp will be held virtually from 10.00am – 12.00pm. In person community meal and play time will be in person from 1.30pm – 4.00pm for those who feel safe enough to attend. In person time will be outdoors. 

Camp Eclipse: Newfoundland, Canada. “Camp Eclipse: OUT in the Woods”takes a strength based, harm-reduction, and solution focused approach to the issues faced by lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGTQ) youth,” and provides a space for youth to build relationships, find support and have fun! For youth 16-24, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Info from 2015: Cost is $400, youth and families are asked to pay what they can. Minimum $25. I am not sure this camp is still running, as all of the info dates to 2019.

Summer 2021: August 26th – 29th 2021

Camp FYrefly.Canada. Founded in 2004. This camp  is a 3-4 day educational, social and personal learning retreat with camp locations in EdmontonCalgarySaskatchewan, and Ontario. They seek to honor the Indigenous land that the camps are located on, and acknowledge continuing colonial violence. They are open to Campers who are lesbian, gay. bissexual, trans*, genderqueer, non-binary, two-spirit, queer, questioning, pansexual, asexual, and allied youth between the ages of 14 and 24. “fYrefly is an acronym which stands for fostering, Youth, resilience, energy, fun, leadership, yeah!”

They are still figuring out whether they will run virtual or in person in 2021. Last update in March 2021.

There is a $25 app fee, and the fee for the camp is $300.They will not turn anyone away because of financial need. 

2021 Dates: TBA

Glitter Camp: Olympia, WA. USA. Organized through Stonewall Youth, although you don’t have to attend Stonewall Youth to attend Glitter Camp. For LGBTQ+ youth aged 12-21.”At camp, there will be youth-led workshops, an open mic, free time, plenty of great food, opportunities for nature walks, storytelling, and sitting by a cozy fire. We spend some time visioning Stonewall’s future programs, as well as engaging in community building, anti-oppression, and self-care centered activities. We’ll all share the pleasure of cooking, eating, and cleaning together.” Cost: $170. Pay what you are able.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Camp OutDoors: Based in Phoenix and Prescot, AZ, USA. “Out of the Closet and Into the Woods.” This is a camp for LGBTQ youth aged 11-24, and is one of the biggest LGBTQ youth camps in the nation. They have a 5 day session for ages 11-17, and another one for ages 11-24. This camp is aimed at helping youth build leadership skills, work collaboratively, and create community. “Camp activities vary and evolve each year and range from educational workshops on topics like “LGBTQ History” and “Non- Violent Communication” to community activities like our 250 person drum circle, horseback riding, and zip-lining.” FREE to all. Youth are housed based on age, not gender or sexual orientation. The retreat was in Nov. in 2020, and was held virtually.

2021: Postponed until 2022.

Project Acorn (Camp Ten Oaks): Washington State, USA. ”a radical community-building space for youth aged 16-24 from LGBTQ+ identities, families, and communities. This 4 day retreat is full of workshops, urban camp-like activities, and connecting with other youth. Cost is $300, and there are subsidies available.

2021 Dates: Not Running This Summer

P10/Project 10 Summer CampMontreal, Canada. P10 runs an annual bilingual weekend retreat in July which gives 2SLGBTQ+ youth aged 14-25 the chance to connect with each other, relax, and have fun in the woods! Activities include hiking, swimming, s’mores, a talent show, crafts, sports and more. In 2019 they hosted a staycation in Montreal instead, which included lots of adventures around the city. Cost $5-275 (Canadian dollars), sliding scale. In 2021, most groups have moved online, and I can’t find info about camp.

2021 Dates: Postponed.

Queer Wilderness Project: Boulder, Colorado, USA. This is a program of the Women’s Wilderness organization which runs programming for women and lgbtq + folks. In Fall 2020, they held two programs for queer youth ages 14-19. “The goal of Queer Wilderness is to create safe spaces for queer-identified people to enjoy the outdoors, learn skills, and connect with each other.”

In 2021: There is a an on-going Summer Session. June 6th-July 12th, Ages: 9th – 12th Grades, Mondays, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM. This signature program is tailored to high schoolers who identify as LGBTQ+. In this 6-week course, participants will connect with queer-identified peers and their own inherent resilience as they explore how it emerges in both nature and queerness. Sessions will feature outdoor activities and games, space for reflection and relief, and time to have fun and socialize with one another.

Backpacking Session for 9th-12th graders. July 19th-25th

Camp Rainbow at Echo Pond, Newfoundland, Canada. For trans, gender-creative, and two spirit kids aged 7-15. (This is the youngest overnight camp I have seen). 3 days, in 2018 it was held in July. Cost is $100, and funds are available for those who need them. Siblings of kids under 10 are also able to apply, although trans/gender-creative kids will be prioritized. Kids will participate in traditional camp activities, and learn about gardening, solar power, and wind power. Camp provides a place for them to build confidence, make new friends, and have fun!

2021 Dates: Unknown

Sam and Devorah Foundation Retreat: Berkshires, MA. USA. This organization hosts several different weekend retreats for trans youth. Next year they will host a Teen Retreat for youth aged 13-17, and are also in the process of organizing other events as well. From a description of the 2018 retreat on their website: “[T]eens participated in support groups, yoga, educational workshops such as legal issues, and a gender journey session. Interspersed were recreational activities including a rope course, nature walks, art projects, and a giant campfire with singing, skits, and s’mores. A hairstylist was on hand giving participants gender-affirming haircuts. The counselors and teens spontaneously organized a drag make-up night as well as a late bunk night where teens were encouraged to ask the counselors anything and everything about being trans. Connections and friendships sprouted everywhere; a safe, caring and supportive community formed.”

Cost: Estimated $175-200. Full and partial scholarships available.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Camp Ten Trees. Pacific Northwest. Along with its week-long summer camp, Camp Ten Trees has expanded to hosting weekend camps in the Spring and Fall for LGBTQA youth aged 13-17 as well as a summer camp for youth and children (aged 8-17) of LGBT and non-traditional families.This camp is social justice-oriented, and along with the typical camp activities, the campers will engage in age-appropriate workshops that explore identity, oppression, social justice, and activism.

2021: No camp for 2021 due to covid.

Camp Unirondack’s QSA Retreat Upstate New York. A weekend for LGBTQ high-school students to connect and have fun, and talk about LGBTQ issues. $40 per person if accompanied by an adult adviser. $60 if coming as an individual. I learned about Camp Unirondack (A UU Camp/Conference Center)at the Tri-State Summer Camp Conference and their regular summer camp was one of the first in the country to offer gender-inclusive cabins, and their summer camp isn’t even an LGBTQ specific camp! They are awesome. They have many different kinds of programming, including this GSA weekend which is held in May.

2021 Dates: May 14-16th 2021

TYEF Youth Retreats: Weekend retreats in the summer and fall in a confidential New England location. TYEF retreats focus on providing a space for trans and gender non-conforming kids aged 7-17 (or till end of HS) to socialize, have fun, and participate in a variety of traditional camp activities like swimming, kayaking, archery, arts and more.  Cost: $250 a camper, partial and full scholarships available.

2021 Dates: No dates for Summer 2021, hopefully camp will run in Winter 2021.

The Youth Project:This camp is located in Nova Scotia and has three 4-day long camps. Note that you cannot attend both Coyote and Seahorse due to high-numbers of enrollment. 2021 Camp Will be Virtual.

Camp Coyote is for trans-identified and gender-questioning youth age 20 and under, providing a safe space and an opportunity to meet new ppl and engage in activities like “trans-health discussions, campfires, scavenger hunts, swimming, arts & crafts, resources, and more!” Dates: Thursday August 5th – Sunday August 8th

Camp Seahorse is for LGBTQ + identified youth aged 20 and under, providing a fun place to be free of homophobia. “Activities include: writing, arts & crafts, scavenger hunts, support & discussion groups, resources, campfires, ghost stories, swimming, and much more.” Dates: Thursday July 8th – Sunday July 11th

Back to Table of Contents.

3.

MUSIC, ART AND THEATRE BASED CAMPS: 

QORDS: Haw River Summit, North Carolina. “A Queer-Oriented Radical Days of Summer” This is a 5-night/6-day camp where campers get instrument instruction, learn song-writing skills, and how to work in groups in preparation for a performance at the end of camp. Open to queer and gender non-conforming  youth or youth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQQIA) families, aged 12-17. There is one camp for youth aged 12-14, and one for youth aged 15-17. Campers will also attend workshops on “queer heroes, social justice, consent, gender” and also participate in traditional camp activities like dance, archery, hiking, rock-climbing, and campfires. Check out this awesome Buzzfeed video to get a sense how much fun this camp is! Founded in 2012, inspired by Queer Rock Camp of WA. Tuition is $640 plus $10 deposit, installment plans available, as well as financial aid.

In 2020 and 2021 due to covid camp has been held online.

2021 Dates: Both Sessions Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, July 12th-24th

Gender Generations: Victoria, BC, Canada. (Formerly known as the Trans Tipping Point). This is a biennial retreat organized by the Victoria Pride Society which allows trans youth to connect with other youth, and creatively express themselves. They managed to host a retreat just before the covid shut-down, and have two books coming out in 2021. I am not sure if they will be hosting a retreat in 2021 or not.

Back to Table of Contents.

4.

SPIRITUALITY-BASED Camps/Retreats:

The Dubois Center’s Rainbow Camp: Illinois. Started in 2015. A one day of fun activities, including swimming, horseback riding, archery, pontoon rides, and an end of the day BBQ. “DuBois Center is a place where everyone is welcomed as a child of God. Come experience camp in the beauty of God’s creation and have a whole lot of fun.Rainbow Camp is for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer singles, couples, and families. Straight allies are welcome too.”Cost $40 for adult, $35 for child. Horseback Riding is extra, and there are some early bird rates available.

2021 Dates: Saturday, August 7th 2021

Keshet Teen Shabboton Gatherings For LGBTQ & ALLY TEENS.”Meet new friends, learn about LGBTQ organizing and identities, and celebrate Shabbat with a warm, vibrant community of LGBTQ and ally teens and adults.These peer-led Shabbaton weekends of learning, Jewish ritual, and community building are open to LGBTQ and ally Jewish teens grades 8-12.” Cost: $54 for food, lodging, programming, and group transport from select locations. Limited scholarships and air-travel help available.

Dates and Locations: January 16-18th 2021 (Virtual Camp!)

Machane Lev. This is one of the first Jewish camps in Canada for LGBTQ youth, or youth who come from LGBTQ families, and it was founded in 2018. It is for kids aged 8-16. Machane Lev means “Camp Heart.” “It’s a place where you can bring and be your whole heart. There are many ways to be Jewish. There are many ways to be family. There are many ways to be. You are valuable, and belong.” Camper Cost: $1000 CAD (scholarships available).

2021 Dates: Sunday August 22nd to Sunday August 29th.

The Naming Project: Minnesota. Camp for youth aged 14-18 (or who have completed 8th-12th grade) who want to explore gender and sexuality in relation to their spirituality. Typical camp activities of canoeing, swimming, campfire songs, hiking, along with bible study, worship and reflection time. This year The Naming Project is virtual only, and costs $75.

2021 Dates: July 25- 30, 2021. Virtual camp activities will begin at 9a/11a/12p and will wrap up by 6p/8p/9p each evening. There will also be a significant break in the afternoon for free time and offline activities.

Pilgrim Lodge Camp Pride: Maine. Camp for LGBTQ youth and allies (entering 10-12th grade, and recent graduates). “Camp Pride exists as a space for us to explore our identities, our faiths, and ourselves, in addition to all the regular summer camp activities like swimming, hiking, boating, arts & crafting, and enjoying the beautiful shores of Lake Cobboseecontee. We are an interfaith camp hosted by Pilgrim Lodge, a camp of the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC).” Atheists or youth of no faith are welcome to attend, but should understand that spirituality will be a frequent part of conversation. Campers are housed by age, not by gender. Cost: $495-650. Contact them about scholarships. For an article about their 2017 camp, go here.

I am not sure what is happening at Pilgrim Lodge this summer in regards to their LGBTQ camp.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Camp Talahi Retreat and Nature Center: Michigan, about 30 mins from Ann Arbor. Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth Camp. Ages 13-17. “Our Transgender Youth and Family Retreat was so popular [in 2018], we’re adding a week long session just for Transgender Teens to enjoy a whole week at camp! Spend a week in a supportive, relaxing environment while partaking in traditional camp activities such as lake front, camp fires, arts and crafts, hiking, boating, and more.” Cost: $415-485 (3 tiered options). Horse-back riding and archery additional fees.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Spirit Pride Project: Texas.“Spirit Pride Project (SPP) exists to create a welcoming and safe community for youth and young adults of all sexual orientations and gender identities to experience and share spirituality, community and acceptance.”This camp is for LGBTQIA people, and children of LGBTQ people aged 12-30, applications are divided between 12-17 yr olds, and 18-30 year olds. Allies aged 14-25 are also welcome. Folks are housed according to age. Located in East/Central Texas, cost is $200 per camper, and they work with folks to make it possible for everyone to come.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Back to Table of Contents.

5.

SPORTS:

Able to Sail: Longmont, Colorado, 20 miles north of Denver. This camp focuses on building self-esteem, confidence, and a sense of empowerment through learning how to sail! They will have an LGBTQ week this summer, for any LGBTQ-identified folks aged 12-21. The cost is $345 (if you can pay) or what you can afford/donate.

Summer 2021: July 12th-15th

Venture Out: New England and Pacific Northwest Trips. “Backpacking and Wilderness Trips for the Queer, Trans, and LGBTQ + Community.” Run for queer people, by queer people, supporting leadership development, creating a safe space for queer and trans people to be in the outdoors, with the added goal of supporting QPOC access to the outdoors. They include youth trips for kids aged 13-19 in New Hampshire, cost is $875 and includes food and equipment. Scholarships available! They also have adult trips (see adult camps below for more details) and a Family Camp for parents (see below “children and parents”).

For lesbian folks 21 + check out Lezathlon below.

Back to Table of Contents.

6.

POC-SPECIFIC CAMPS

Get Free: A Summer Program for Trans/Queer Youth of Color:This is a FREE summer program for trans and queer youth of color aged 16-21 in Oakland. “Get Free is a week-long artistic, intellectual, emotional and practical program for queer and trans youth of color that focuses on the inner work it takes to Get Free in a world where, for us—people who experience oppression based on race and queerness or transness—just surviving is a feat. Through writing, dreaming, screaming, owning up, and facing who we are, who we have been, and who we might become, we aim to start an emotional r/evolution that will reverberate throughout our lives and our communities.” Food and lodging provided. Travel funds also available.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Back to Table of Contents.

7.

CAMPS OUTSIDE OF NORTH AMERICA:

Gendered Intelligence. Essex, UK. In 2018 they celebrated their tenth year anniversary. From their site: “We ran our 10th and 11th camps in July and August 2018. We celebrated by making camp supersized! Super Camp involved us taking 170 young trans and non-binary people aged 18-25 camping for 5 days and 4 nights…Alongside Super Camp we ran ran an 11 – 17 year olds camp for 35 young people, going for our usual 4 days and 3 nights.” In 2020, they held virtual camps due to covid.

2021 Dates:

Camp 1 – For 11-17 year olds
Prep Day (in person in London): Saturday 10th July
Camp (near London): Friday 6th August – Monday 9th August
Camp 2 – For 16-26 year olds
Prep Day (in person in London): Saturday 24th July
Camp (near London): Tuesday 10th August – Friday 13th August

Hojokamp: The Netherlands. A camp for LGBTQ + youth aged 13-25. I don’t speak Dutch, this site was suggested to me by a scholar I know from the Netherlands but here is what I was able to understand. Organized by Stichting Outway, this camp has existed since 2002. It is 6 days of different activities, including workshops. Cost: 189 euros

2021 Dates: August 7-11th and August 11th-15th

Mosaic Camp: Wales, UK. Near Snowdonia. Delicious food, good company and interesting workshops! Under 18 requires parental permission. Cost: £377. Partial scholarships available. Refugees are welcome–with the fee waived for any refugees or asylum seekers who apply.

Not sure they are running in 2021.

OASIS. near Barcelona, Spain. (website in Spanish). Their first camp was held in 2015, and their program has grown from 3 days to a week. They serve youth of diverse gender and sexual identities and expression. I can’t find information about age, but it seems to be teen/adolescent focused. They write that camp is a fun place to socialize with others like yourself, and includes workshops on different identities, comprehensive sex ed, arts and crafts, as well as workshops for parents. They also have sports activities, including kayaking and hiking, and performances by LGBTQ artists.

2021 Dates: June 5-10th

“OASIS ofrece espacios de encuentro y socialización para adolescentes con expresiones y identidades de género y sexualidades diversas. El proyecto se inició en julio del 2015 mediante un encuentro de tres días que tuvo lugar en Barcelona. La segunda edición seria una semana de colonias de verano…Durante los campamentos de verano se realizarán, entre otras, las siguientes actividades:
• Talleres con temáticas vinculadas a la diversidad sexual y de género:
Educación afectivo-sexual, autoestima, herramientas para afrontar el acoso escolar, video fórum, entre otros.
• Actividades deportivas y de naturaleza: gincana, kayak, excursiones.
• Actividades creativas y expresivas
• Concierto-espectáculo de artistas LGBT
• Encuentro con referentes positivos
• Espacios de expresión emocional
• Taller con las familias de los y las adolescentes.” (Oasis dossier)

Camp OUT. Australia, near Sydney. “We are a camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer (LGBTIQ), and sex and/or gender diverse teens, same-sex attracted, curious, and questioning teens aged 13-17.” Camp gives a chance for youth to hang out away from home and be themselves. There are lots of fun activities, including art, movie nights, music, and sports as well as workshops on coming out, dealing homophobia or transphobia, and how to be a good ally. I love that this camp is open about having a queer lens, rejecting the gender binary, and “helping campers to queer their ideas about the future.” They are also an anti-racist, anti-ableist, and feminist organization. Cost: suggested $200, on a sliding scale.

2021: September 27th-October 1st

Inside Out Hui, Porirua, New Zealand. Shift is a “national hiu (gathering)” for youth of “minority sexes, sexualities, and genders!” It is for young people aged 15-20. “Hui is the Māori word for a gathering and we use it to mean an awesome gathering/queer camp! Our hui are usually held on a marae over a few days with awesome guest speakers, workshops, a talent show and all sorts of fun.” More info here. Cost is a suggested $100. Minimum $10, but folks can pay what they can.

2021 Dates: April

Back to Table of Contents.

8.

COLLEGE STUDENTS:

Camp Pride, is a camp organized through Campus Pride. This is a leadership academy for undergraduates (from 2 year, 4 year, HBCU, southern, religiously-affiliated and TCU colleges/universities, aged 18 +), with a social justice focus and emphasis on learning leadership and organizing skills. There is a separate track for faculty/advisers called Adviser Boot Camp. Tuition cost (in 2018) $937 with early bird registration $1175 after that. Full and partial scholarships available on limited basis.

2021 Dates: digital three-day livestream on  Friday, July 16, Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18, 2021.  

T*Camp: An InterCampus Retreat for Trans/Genderqueer & Gender Questioning Students. Southern California. This is a 3-day retreat for college students from different campuses to discuss gender and learn from each other. Organizers are hopeful that this will be especially valuable to students who may not have many other trans/genderqueer/questioning students on their campus. Cost: $150.

2021 Dates: Unknown (Last info is from Jan 2020)

Back to Table of Contents.

9.

CHILDREN WITH LGBT PARENTS:

Camp Highlight: Located in Wernersville, PA at a 600-acre camp facility, founded in 2010. This is a week-long summer camp for children (8-15) of LGBT parents, where kids get to meet others like themselves, and build a strong support network. Campers are housed by age. The camp curriculum focuses on the “universal virtues of peace, respect, honesty, acceptance, unity, generosity, responsibility, courage, and cooperation.” Camp activities include hiking, swimming, fishing, mountain boarding, arts and crafts and more.

There is also a Camp Leadership Academy for kids aged 16-18 to learn social skills, and leadership skills. Teens will attend workshops, go on fieldtrips, and have independent time to explore camp. In 2018, Camp Highlight ran a Family Camp in April and October, see more details below. They also host a Winter Reunion each year. Registration opens in January for summer camp.

Cost per camper: (8-15) $1099, (aged 16-18), $1199.

2021 Dates: August 15 – August 22, 2021

Camp Ten Trees. Pacific Northwest. They have week-long summer camps for LGBTQA youth aged 13-17 and for youth and children (aged 8-17) of LGBT and non-traditional families, and also hold winter and fall weekend retreats. See website for dates. This camp is social justice-oriented, and along with the typical camp activities, the campers will engage in age-appropriate workshops that explore identity, oppression, social justice, and activism. Not Meeting in 2021.

Welcome Friend Association’s Rainbow Camp: Summer camp located in Northern Ontario for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, 2 spirited, plus and Allied youth, their siblings and children in Queer families, aged 12-17. They also have a two week Leaders in Training program for youth 18-19. This camp includes traditional camp activities as well as workshops that focus on gender, sexuality, health, community, leadership, and creating safe spaces. Although it costs approximately $1000 per camper, cost is only $350, due to fundraising, and there are additional subsidies available and travel funds if needed. LIT: $500.

2021 Dates: ONLINE only: Artistic Endeavours: July 4-9, July 11-16, Leadership and Activism: July 18-23, July 25-30, Music, Movement and Mayhem: August 2-6, August 9-13, Let the Gaymes Begin: August 15-20, August 22-27

Back to Table of Contents.

10.

For FAMILIES AND CHILDREN to Attend Together

Camp Aranu’tiq is a part of Harbor camps, and hosts two family weekends for families of transgender and gender-non-conforming youth (Labor Day Weekend, and the weekend before Labor Day Weekend) as well as week-long overnight camps for kids 8-17.

Camp Brave Trails. California. In 2018 Brave Trails hosted their first family camp weekend for LGBTQ parents and their kids. There were yoga classes, parents-night off, hiking, arts and crafts, teen adventures, toddler town, family games and more! Cost: Adults (18+):$200.00, Older Youth (10-17):$145.00, Youth (4-9):$105.00, 3-Under: FREE!

Next Family Camp: MARCH 11-13, 2022

Gender Infinity has a Spring – Mother’s Day Weekend Camp in Texas for transgender, gender expansive kids and their families (May 10-12). Children under 12 can attend with their parents – children 12 and over can attend with or without their parents. All cabin counselors are transgender. Support groups and activities are also provided for parents. Camp was cancelled in 2020, and there are no 2021 updates.

Camp Highlight: Located in Wernersville, PA at a 600-acre camp facility. Camp Highlight (for kids of LGBTQ families) hosted its first Family Camp in October 2018. Now the adults can enjoy the fun too! Adults are $210 and children ages 3 to 18 are $160. Children under 3 years old may attend for free. Optionally, families may pay $690 for the whole family.

2021 Dates: October 8 to October 11, 2021

Camp It Up!: Quincy, California. LGBT Family camp. Activities for adults, tweens, teens, and children. Swim or float in the lazy river, learn new specialty art skills, tie-dye, participate in the carnival, and more fun activities. Summer camp has 1-10 day sessions. Sliding scale fees, and there are different costs depending on age.See here.  They celebrated their 25th year in 2014. Cancelled in 2020, and no info for 2021.

Keshet Camp: near Yosemite. Jewish LGBT Family camp, now celebrating over two decades of existence! A place where families can feel included and safe, and celebrate their commonalities. Keshet is Hebrew for Rainbow. Child-care available for all ages, allowing adults and children to participate in various activities like yoga, hiking, arts and crafts, S’mores, etc. Check out this great article about summer 2016.

2021 Dates: August 19-22, 2021

Oak Grove Family Camp (Camp Ten Oaks, Canada): “Oak Grove Family Camp is a weekend long, sleep-away camp for 2SLGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two spirit, and queer) families who have a child or youth aged 17 or under in their care (including both those who are headed by (a) 2SLGBTQ+ parent(s) and those with an 2SLGBTQ+ child).” Fees: $375 for adults (age 18+), $300 for children and youth (ages 4-17), and $75 for kids under age 3.

2021 Dates: Unknown.

Camp Out Camp: Southwest Michigan. This is the Midwest’s first and only lgbt family camp! They are all inclusive and have campers ranging in age from 2 months-65 years old! “At CampOut Family Camp, you define family. We are open to all families that identify with the LGBTQ community.” Held over the course of a weekend, activities include waterskiing, horseback riding, rock climbing, canoing, tennis and more. Also includes a petting zoo, which is awesome! Participants get to choose their own schedule and can focus on one activity in particular for a morning or afternoon, or can move to different activities over the course of the day. Childcare is also provided at particular times so that adults can have some child-free time together. Cost: fees are $300/adult and children 5 and up are $250. children under 5 are no charge.

2021 Dates: THURSDAY, AUGUST 19TH – SUNDAY, AUGUST 22ND 2021

Provincetown Family Camp: Organized by the Family Equality Council and COLAGE, this is one of the biggest annual gatherings of LGBTQ-Identified families in the world. (It started in the 90s!) “Family Week will include more opportunities than ever to build community and to get empowered on today’s issues. Join us for daily events or relax on the beach with other LGBTQ families.” There are many different options for a variety of age groups.

2021 Dates: July 24–31, 2021.

Camp Talahi Retreat and Nature Center: Michigan, about 30 mins from Ann Arbor. Transgender Youth and Family Retreat. ” Participants will spend a relaxing and supportive weekend at Camp Talahi partaking in activities such as lake front, horse activities, camp fires, arts and crafts, hiking, boating, and more. Support groups will also be available. Youth must have adult with them.” Cost: Adults: $165-195, Youth: $65-95. Under fives free.

2021 Dates: Unknown

Back to Table of Contents.

11.

Last but not least, a selection of CAMPS FOR ADULTS! 

A-Camp: Started by Autostraddle, to create community, unplug, and have fun like a kid again. 5 nights, meals provided, lots of fun workshops, and special guest artists/singers. Held in Ojai, California. Camp is for women, (and always accepting of trans women), non-binary folks, and trans men. No cis men allowed. See FAQ. Age 18 +

A-Camp is taking a break for 2021, may be back in 2022.

Camp Camp: Enjoy a traditional summer camp making new friends and playing like a kid again! 2020 will mark their 24th season, and the week-long camp will be held in Maine. Accommodations are based on gender (men’s cabin/women’s cabin, and one gender-neutral cabin). Each session has about 200-250 attendees, slightly more men than women (though they strive for 50/50), ages 21-70, though most are in their 40s, 80 percent singles. This is the perfect vacation for folks who like the outdoors, being active, and meeting new people! Cost: “our fabulous 25th anniversary season: $1750″(Options for reducing fees by being staff are available, and there are a few campership funds to help reduce cost as well).

2021 Dates: august 22-29

Easton Mountain Retreats: New York. Easton Mountain is a “community, retreat, and sanctuary created by gay men.” They have programming for gay, bi, queer, and trans men throughout the year, with various themes, including weeks celebrating Thanksgiving, New Year, and Fall fun, as well as weeks for Bears, writers, folks in recovery, folks involved in Kink, and gay men of color. Dates and prices vary, see here for more details. [Including Virtual offerings in these covid-19 times]

Lezathlon: Summer athletic event for lesbians/womxn! Cis/trans womxn and non-binary folks can compete, all folks are welcome to be a spectator, and if you are a trans man who also really wants to compete, contact them and let them know and they will work out the details. This camp is about a love of sports and competition, and supporting womxn in Sports. You can sign up to be a spectator or a participant and there are several different passes available, including day passes. Packages include housing (cabins and yurts), transport, and food. Must be 21 + to attend. ”

2021 Dates: Cancelled due to covid

Camp Lost Boys: Cleveland, GA. A camp for Men of Trans Experience to celebrate male/masculine identities in an outdoor space. This is not workshop based or academic, it is about having fun in the outdoors! Get the chance to experience a boyhood you may not have been able to experience. Cost: $475-780 (depends on whether you are in a shared cabin or private room). Note that while there are many ways to be male/a man, this is for male/men-identified folks only, and is not a space for non-binary identified folks. “If you feel you do not identify as male or a man, this may not be the experience you are looking for and we would hate for you to be uncomfortable. There are other camps that exist and are open to a more non-binary experience of gender and we are happy to point you in that direction. ” This camp is organized in part by men of color who are paying attention to race/inclusion, and over half of the attendees the first year were men of color.

Next Camp: May 20-23rd 2022

Venture Out: New England and Pacific Northwest Trips. “Backpacking and Wilderness Trips for the Queer, Trans, and LGBTQ + Community.” Run for queer people, by queer people, supporting leadership development, creating a safe space for queer and trans people to be in the outdoors, with the added goal of supporting QPOC access to the outdoors. Their events include Winter Getaways, Nature Reflection, Classic Backpacking, Trans-masculine, and POC centered trips in NH, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon. There are different skill levels from beginner to experienced, and prices range from $275-800 depending on location/length of trip. Check out more details here.

2020 Dates: Check out their website for the most up to date info!

References: 

Google searches, comments from people responding to my posts on Facebook, and these excellent websites/articles:

TSER Camp List (Very comprehensive, easy to read chart). 

GLAAD 2014 list of camps 

Brave Trails 10 Best LGBTQ Summer Camps (2014) 

PFLAG’s List of Youth Camps 

5 Camps for Trans Men 

LGBTQ Camps Give Youth a Place Where They Can Be Themselves in a Safe Environment

Photo taken by me: tiny mushroom in moss

12 comments

  1. OMG! This is an amazing list! Thank you — again — for publishing this!! It will help so many families. You’re the best!! =)

    • Thanks, Patti! I hope you are well as can be in these difficult times. I appreciate you reading, as always. I am hoping to write quite a few posts this december, including my usual end of the year review, so look out for those soon. ❤

    • Hi Benji! Thanks so much for commenting. I am glad the list was useful and hope that you get to go to your first summer this year!! It is an amazing experience.

  2. Thank you for the list. Will you please repost the TSER Camp List, as the links no longer work and the page cannot be found. Thanks again – great list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s