Post submitted by Jay Brown, former HRC Communications Director 

Camp should conjure up images of canoes, campfires and lifelong friendships, not being rejected because of who you are. But for many transgender youth, finding a welcoming camp can be a real challenge. Fortunately, there’s Camp Aranu’tiq, a camp for transgender and gender-variant youth -- where youth and their families can be exactly who they are.

“Camp Aranu’tiq is the first place where I felt completely comfortable, accepted and loved,” said C.E., a 14-year-old camper.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity meet Nick Teich, the camp’s founder and president, as well as several Camp Aranu’tiq families at an event at the Human Rights Campaign building in Washington, D.C. One thing was clear -- the camp is a life-changing experience for the attendees and their parents.

In an interview with MetroWeekly, Lori talked about the camp’s impact on her son, Sam.

“From a parent’s point of view, my son came home happier, more confident, more sure of himself … He said it was the best week of his life, and I believe it.”

I met Sam last night and he told me about the camp, about the friends he made and still texts daily, about the sports they played and, with excitement, about how the camp would be extending to two-weeks this year. In listening to him, I found myself wishing there were a Camp Aranu’tiq for grown-ups.

In its first year, the camp welcomed 40 youth. Now they’re at 400 -- and provide financial aid for all who need it. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation provided a $1,000 sponsorship gift, covering the cost of at least one camper’s experience.

To learn more, visit http://www.camparanutiq.org/. To learn more about HRC Foundation’s work with children and youth, visit http://www.hrc.org/youth.


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