WHAT IS CAMPOUT?
CampOUT! is a community-based outdoor summer camp for queer, transgender, and allied youth aged 14 – 21 from across BC. The camp provides opportunities for these youth to develop leadership skills, build self-esteem, inspire each other, foster hope and resilience, and connect with resources to support their health and well-being. CampOUT! provides a supportive space for these youth to “be themselves”.
Each year, CampOUT! reaches 60 LGBTQ+ youth across BC and the Yukon, led by a mix of UBC students in leadership, as well as medical professionals, community service providers and youth workers working together.
Aligned in vision and mission, CampOUT! and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice brings to the Faculty of Arts at UBC, a unique opportunity that integrates community initiatives and high learning. This fulfills the University’s commitment to fostering safer learning spaces and strengthening community outreach.
By providing a home to CampOUT! we generate:
- Streamlined and supported infrastructure, resources for CampOUT!’s operations
- More institutional support by being housed in a department
- More opportunities to build new relationships and collaboration
Much like the diversity makeup of youth campers at CampOUT!, many queer, transgender and socially engaged students are drawn to the work at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice. For the same reasons that CampOUT! inspires personal growth and interpersonal connections by offering a place to belong, GRSJ also provides space for students to critically engage with their own sense of identity and belonging. We believe this greatly reduces the sense of isolation felt within the University campus.
CampOUT! director, Anna White, voices the importance of such a program, “the migration of CampOUT! to GRSJ breathes life not just into the Social Justice Institute as well as the Faculty of Arts community, but it also breathes new life into the camp itself, now in its seventh year.”
Housing CampOUT! under the Social Justice Institute has the effect of enriching the experiences of students taking courses at the institute looking to connect with community-oriented groups. The CampOUT! advisory committee is comprised of representatives from 8-10 community groups as well as UBC representatives.
The visibility of CampOUT’s incorporation into the Institute drives students and faculty to understand the importance of community-oriented initiatives at an academic institution that may otherwise be isolated from the community. CampOUT! is shifting people’s perspectives of the University by creating intentional space for LGBTQ and marginalized communities.
This is a unique opportunity for GRSJ to harness the power of social change, to shift people’s perspectives of the University, and to improve the creation of a more cohesive, collaborative and meaningful social justice work.
Finally, the powerful experience at camp is for everyone. CampOUT! is not just a camp for LGBTQ youth, it truly is a leadership opportunity for social change. We can all change the world!