Camp Pride is an opportunity for high school age youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and supportive allies to create a safe, nurturing community. This community will be a space to explore and celebrate diversity in all the ways we are human, while embracing an open approach to spiritual life. We will support and learn from one another. It will also be a chance to relax and to have some fun together! We’ll delve into challenges facing queer people of faith, including people exploring their own personal spiritual truth.
We fully recognize that some LGBTQ+ people have been, and are, wounded by involvement with religious organizations. We will be considering all aspects of being a teenager and queer. In addition, the event will have a decided spiritual tone, including conversation about our spiritual selves. However, no attempt to convert, convince, or indoctrinate anyone will be taking place. People of all faiths and of no faith are welcome. If you attend and identify as atheist, you are welcome, though like everyone, should be prepared to enter dialogue in a safe manner and not be invested in convincing others of your point of view.
Camp Pride will take place at Pilgrim Lodge, on the shores of beautiful Lake Cobbosseecontee in West Gardiner, Maine. Pilgrim Lodge is owned and operated by the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ who are fully open and affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. Read our Open and Affirming statement and more about it at www.MaineUCC.org.
Campers may, but will not be required or pressured to, identify their sexual or gender identities. Campers who are comfortable sharing their identities are welcomed to do so, but attending camp means agreeing not to push anyone to reveal more about themselves than they are comfortable disclosing. It’s also important to remember that some individuals will be attending as allies, perhaps to support a friend, or to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community to support a loved one who is not attending, or just because they have a passion for social justice.
Subject matter will include conversation on friendship, dating, sexuality, and gender identity. Much of this program will be based on an age-appropriate sexuality education curriculum called ‘Our Whole Lives.” Housing will not take place in the standard binary manner. Parents or campers concerned will be given consideration as to special needs and concerns. More detailed information will be sent to parents and campers before the session.
Young people from all over are encouraged to attend. Please email or call us to learn more. In addition to the Maine Conference Scholarship program, there may be special funding for this event. If you would like to help send a camper to Camp Pride, please call us to learn more about this opportunity. You could make a huge difference in the life of someone working to become secure in their own identity.
Camp Pride will be piloting a new policy: Campers will be allowed to bring cell phones if they choose. Phones will be collected, stored and passed out a few times during the week. There will be some programs available where devices will be used in a positive manner. A digital covenant regarding appropriate posting will be reviewed at camp.
This unique camping experience is open to students entering 10th grade through 2017 graduates. If you are of high school age, but not currently enrolled in school you are welcome to attend. Scholarship funds are available by application.
(Because this event is the first ever Camp Pride, the photos represented here are from other PL events)