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Finding Community; Building Strength at Camp Outdoors

LGBTQ Youth from Across the Country Head to Phoenix to Begin Adventure at Largest Camp of its Kind

Twenty-year-old Ryan from Kentucky will board a plane at the end of this month to fly to Phoenix, then hop on a bus to head north to participate in his second year at Camp OUTdoors, an LGBTQ youth summer camp now in its 11th year. Because of his experience last year, Ryan was able to return home and find the courage to come out as part of the LGBTQ community to his family and friends. He’ll be back this year to recharge and rekindle supportive relationships he developed to help him keep moving toward a brighter future. From rural to urban areas, from the deep South to the Pacific Northwest, LGBTQ youth will be spending four days building bonds with one another, building team and leadership skills, and creating the inclusive community they want to see in the world.

one•n•ten’s Camp OUTdoors is one of the largest and longest running programs in the country. The Camp will be welcoming more than 145 youth, more than 60 volunteers and dozens of workshop presenters from all over the U.S. this August 31st – September 3rd. In a wilderness setting in a community up north from Phoenix, Camp OUTdoors provides campers with information and skills to confront the unique set of challenges LGBTQ youth face, which includes bullying, that can then lead to isolation, rejection from their family, community, and religious/spiritual institutions, and higher risk of depression. Additionally, Camp OUTdoors workshops aim to assist youth in identifying sources of strength in their life to address the risk of suicide that the community is facing at an ever-increasing rate.
“Being from Kentucky, I will say Camp OUTdoors gave me hope and life again. This is the one place I was finally able to be myself, to be open, and not afraid to hide behind a mask. It allows me to feel safe and not live in fear. I am so thankful for everything they do for youth like myself and the community. I couldn’t be any more thankful for them!” – Ryan, 20-year-old from Kentucky

In 2017, Camp OUTdoors was featured in a National Geographic documentary titled Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, which aired worldwide. With more than 500 applicants this year alone, one•n•ten hopes to double its impact by offering two Camp OUTdoors experiences in 2019. To serve more youth, it needs to get the word out. And the stories are plentiful.

A variety of story opportunities can be coordinated through one•n•ten’s media representative:

  • Camper Ryan from Kentucky and former camper turned volunteer Erin from Phoenix can share their stories from Camp and their personal journeys to find the courage to be themselves.
  • Jasmine from Buckeye, AZ volunteered at camp and was so inspired about the work and the organization she now serves in a leadership role on one•n•ten’s board.
  • Zami from Berkley, CA can share why he’s been heading east to Arizona to volunteer for so many years and in so many roles and what he’s learned from the experience.
  • Tally, a Phoenix-based therapist, and a one•n•ten certified Sources of Strength trainer, can share the raw stories of the youth who are trying to cope when life throws challenges at them, including overcoming suicidal ideations and how we all can help a friend.
  • Letitia Frye, a Scottsdale, AZ resident and longtime volunteer has spoken openly about the recent suicide of her boyfriend’s transgender son, Aksel. To honor his memory, she participated in a ballroom dancing contest for one•n•ten on August 19 and raised a record-breaking $30,000. This community auctiontainer, as she calls herself, is a highly-sought after auctioneer for charity events and was just named as a finalist for the prestigious ATHENA Award given out by the Greater Phoenix Chamber at its event in October. She says her time at Camp OUTdoors were and are some of the most profound and life-changing experiences she has ever had.
  • Kado Stewart is the founder of Camp OUTdoors as part of her senior project in college. She later incorporated Camp into the program offerings with one•n•ten and together has grown it to serve more than 1,100 youth inspiring camps for LGBTQ youth across the country. Kado was recently named as a finalist in the Young Professionals category of the ATHENA Awards in Phoenix where she serves as one•n•ten’s Director of Programs and Camp Director.

Date and Time:
Thursday, August 30th – first bus staged for 1:30pm; second bus prepped for loading at 3:30pm

Location:
1101 N. Central Ave – one•n•ten – Parsons Center for Health & Wellness off of Portland on the north side of the street.

Parking:
Easily accessible from 1st street just south of Portland. The Parson’s Center for Health and Wellness has a larger parking lot.

About one•n•ten
Founded in 1993, one•n•ten is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving and assisting LGBTQ youth. We provide youth ages 11 to 24 with tools to improve self-esteem by providing access to social programs that promote self‐acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices. one•n•ten provides a comprehensive set of programs and services, including supportive youth centers, housing programs, employment programs, athletics, arts and music, and partnerships with national LGBTQ organizations. one•n•ten is building a world where all LGBTQ youth and young adults are embraced for who they are, actively engaged in their communities and empowered to lead.

LINKS:

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