Safe Summer Camps for those children who don’t “fit in” for one reason or another or who may have been bullied in school due to their LBGT status or perceived status

It is no secret that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and questioning youth are many more times likely to be bullied and threatened with violence in and out of the school setting.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that this same segment of our youth go on to use illegal drugs to self-medicate at a higher rate than other youth.
But what is most troubling is that the suicide rate is 7 if not 10 times higher for LGBT  youth than it is for the general youth population.   Many schools and communities have instituted “zero tolerance” and or “hate stops here” campaigns bringing light to a once dark subject. But that is not enough.
Our law firm’s experience is that many of our LGBT youth are being bullied because of their sexual identity and orientation and they feel like they have to endure the abuse in silence for fear of being “outed” to their parents and teachers.  It is like a double-sided sword. For parents and adults who want to teach their children some great coping skills and provide a supportive environment, these alternative summer camps have been listed for me by a former Santa Rosa City School Counselor.
Our law firm is not recommending any one in particular, but just urging you to use this list as a guide or starting point.  It is imperative that you do your own research and investigation as to which Summer Camp might be the best suited for your child or another child whomyou know would benefit from such a summer camp setting.
Our Law Firm has been representing pupils in California Schools for almost a quarter of a century and has seen firsthand the devastating  effects that bullying has on our youth whether that child belongs to a minority group, is LBGT or simply does not “fit in.”
The end result for many of these youth has been suspension and or expulsion from school – something our law firm has fought against.  Throwing pupils out of school is not the best solution when that child may be suffering from outright discrimination and bullying which may have manifested into “bad behavior” or bad decision-making.  Blaming the victim is not the solution.
Toward that end, we respectfully provide other alternatives and resources for LBGT youth for summer camp:
Camp Aranu’tiqFounded in 2009 by Nick Teich, who dreamed of a safe & fun place for youth who felt like they might not fit in at other camps because of their gender, they have flagship summer camps in New Hampshire and California, as well as leadership programs for older teens and weekend family camps, serving 400 campers over the course of one year.
Camp HighlightCamp Highlight is a week-long camp for children ages 8 to 15 who have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parent or parents. We focus on recreational activities, nature education, and team building. Each camper is given individual attention by our experienced counselors and staff and has the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities. Our goal is to have each camper develop self-confidence, social skills, and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment.
Camp LightbulbOur mission is to provide a magical, overnight summer camp experience for LGBT youth, aged 14 to 17, filled with fun, pride, community, friends, support, self-discovery and memories to last a lifetime. Our campers come from across the US and identify along the full LGBT spectrum. Our staff reflects our LGBT community and allies. All staff are subject to references and background checks.
Camp OdysseyCamp Odyssey is an innovative diversity training and leadership development program for Oregon youth between 14 and 18 years of age. Its aim is to help foster appreciation, understanding, and respect for cultural differences while building leadership skills. We empower young people to gain the life skills needed to become social investors, transforming not only themselves, but also their collective communities.
Camp OutrightCamp Outright is a week-long residential summer camp program for queer and allied youth held at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro, Vermont. Camp Outright is a traditional summer camp program with topical workshops and activities to address the needs stated by queer and questioning youth. Campers participate in a wide variety of daily activities based upon their interests, including swimming, sports and games, visual and performing arts, wilderness skills, social justice, identity caucuses, and more.
Camp Ten TreesCamp Ten Trees is a nonprofit organization located in Washington State. Central to the organization’s purpose are our yearly summer camp sessions—one week for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their allies and another week for children/youth of LGBTQ or non-traditional families. Camp Ten Trees is a place for diverse youth who share common experiences to come together and form a community that is truly their own.
One HeartlandAt the core of One Heartland’s mission are our camp programs, which include: Camp Heartland, Camp Northstar, Camp 5210, and One Futures in Willow River, MN; Camp True Colors with locations in Minnesota, Connecticut and Texas; and Camp Hollywood HEART in Malibu, CA.
The Naming ProjectThe first camp for Christian LGBTQ youth. The mission of The Naming Project is to provide a safe and sacred space where youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities are named and claimed by a loving God; can explore and share faith; experience healthy and life-giving community; reach out to others; and advocate for systemic change in church and society.
Again, we highly recommend that the parents and or other responsible adults who are considering the selection of a summer camp (as to those mentioned above, or any other) for their child or relative complete their own independent research to make certain that all of the counselors have gone through extensive background checks to avoid any future abuse from occurring.
Safety checks with various State agencies is also recommended along with your own site visit with your child before you decide to enroll her or him into the summer camp.
Our Law Firm believes in empowering parents with the tools and knowledge  necessary to ensure that their child gets the full benefit of a free, and fair educational opportunity in the California Public School system.
If you have any future school related questions or issues please feel free to call us at any one of our convenient locations in Marin and Sonoma Counties at (415) 492-4507 or (707) 571-8600.
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