WEST GARDINER — Pilgrim Lodge announces “Camp Pride,” an opportunity for high school age youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and supportive allies to create a safe, nurturing community in a one-week residential camp. From Aug. 6 through 12, campers will explore diversity while embracing an open approach to spiritual life on the shores of Lake Cobbosseecontee.

“It’s rare that LGBTQ+ teens and their allies can come together and discuss their spirituality in an environment which affirms their identities,” says Quinn Gormley, one of the deans of the camp. “People’s identities don’t end at the church doorstep, nor does their faith practice disappear from their identities when they leave temple. At this camp we will examine and celebrate both at the same time.”

Programs will include age-appropriate conversation on friendship, dating, sexuality, and gender identity, in addition to regular summer camp fun like swimming, boating, and arts and crafts.

While Camp Pride will have a spiritual tone, the camp welcomes those from all faith and will celebrate those differences. Not all campers must identify as LGBTQ+, and Camp Pride encourages allies and teens interested in social justice to attend. The camp welcomes Maine youth and teens from further away equally. Scholarships are available.

Camp Director Bryan Breault says, “It’s always a challenge to grow up different, but the current climate in which we find ourselves makes it a particularly difficult time for those in the LGBTQ+ community. While some churches are working hard to claim the right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ folk, we want to send the message ‘you are loved and affirmed exactly as you are. Sexual and gender identities are gifts from God and are part of what make us unique, special, and to be treasured’.”

Pilgrim Lodge is is owned and operated by the Maine Conference, United Church of Christ, who are a fully open and affirming of the LGBTQ+ identity.

FMI: 207-724-3200, pilgrimlodge.org/camps/pride/.

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