7 Best LGBTQ+ Friendly Summer Camps 2023
It's not easy to find a well-reputed LGBTQ+ summer camp with a supportive fostering environment for campers. To make it easy for you, here's a list of some of the best LGBTQ summer camps and programs.
Whether you're a parent wanting to send your child to one, or a future camp counselor looking to work at one, we listed some of the top options across the country. At these camps, kids will make new friends, have memorable experiences, and increase their self-confidence and learn essential life skills.
Camp Ballibay is a traditional summer camp focusing on the performing arts and located in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania. It's perfect for creative kids ages 8-17, with programs focused on dance, musical theatre, visual art, and much more.
The camp is not exclusively LGBTQ+ but has a high gender diversity among campers, staff, and camp administration. For decades they have been a safe and supportive space for LGBTQ+ kids who have a love for the arts.
It has a 4:1 adult to student ratio to ensure that each kid gets the right amount of attention they need in a small and strong community. They offer a competition-free environment, where there is no judging or scoring. This helps ensure that campers can build confidence in their skills without pressure of any sort.
One of their main priorities at camp is that your camper is very well-fed, so they can expect some delicious food made from local ingredients. Some of the typical camp activities offered are theater, rock music, visual arts, and dance!
Camp Lightbulb supports all LGBTQ+ youth, and it was also one of the first summer camps in the US for them. LGBTQ teens of ages 14-18 can attend, and each year, the camp is held at the beautiful location of Provincetown, Cape Cod. Plus, it also offers camps in Los Angeles and New York City.
Camp Lightbulb focuses on seven essential components: fun, community, art, learning, service, outdoor adventure, and well-being. A secure and joyful environment is created to allow personal development and exploration.
The small camps have a high ratio of counselor-to-campers for better understanding and attentiveness. Campers learn about LGBTQ+ history and enjoy activities like kayaking, scavenger hunts, cooking, baking, whale watching, and themed parties.
Camp Ten Trees is a magical place where all identities are respected. This residential summer camp creates an engaging and caring youth environment for LGBTQ+ youth, friends, and families. With more than 15 years of experience, the camp offers the perfect blend of summer adventure activities and social justice programs to empower LGBTQ+ youth.
This allows diverse youth to explore the world around them and see it in ways they may not have previously. It brings together young adults from all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. They offer three camp sessions with one is geared towards folk who identify as LGBTQ or allies of any sexual orientation ages 13-17. The other session is for the Queerspawn 8-12, the youth of non-traditional and LGBTQ families, while the last summer session is dedicated to transgender, two-spirit, and non-binary youth.
Unlike traditional camps, they have three different cabins called Boystown, Girlstown, and Genderlandia. All campers chose their cabin area. A 7:2 is the camper to counselor ratio, and their safety measures match the ACA guidelines.
A leadership summer camp for LGBTQ+ teens and allies ages 12-18, Camp Brave Trails is designed to let LGBTQ youth find their passion and a place with friends. With locations in California and Maryland, it welcomes all local and international campers. The camp encourages them to express and explore in a friendly and supportive environment. Kids are assigned to cabins by age, not by gender.
It combines the traditional summer camp activities with the queer twist and a leadership program. They bring people in from the community to teach crucial skills like public speaking. With the holistic approach of leadership, LGBTQ+ campers get a boost in confidence and personal development.
Camp Aranu'tiq is a leading summer camp for non-binary and transgender youth ages 8-13. It’s a value-based camp that focuses on the personal growth and development of every camper. Campers come from all around the world to join this small-knit community.
Camp Aranu'tiq is located on the 116 acres of New Hampshire with a 200-acre waterfront lake. It’s a beautiful and fun place for land sports, water sports, adventurous games, drama, art, music, and much more.
Days at camp are filled with exciting activities and delicious meals with pals. The main mission of Camp Aranu'tiq is for the kids to be able to be just themselves and enjoy the summer camp experience. Not only does the camp environment offer sensibility, but it's also a safe place for transgender children and those of any gender identity to grow and learn.
6. Camp Pride
Set up 20 years ago, Campus Pride has served as the leading national educational organization for the LGBTQ+ community. It gives LGBTQ+ teens and adults a place to connect with themselves and their community and strive for social justice. It’s the longest-running leadership program for LGBTQ+ and ally college students.
The camp runs for three days and trains anywhere from 50-75 young students each session. The main purpose of this summer enrichment program is to build leadership qualities among LGBTQ youth. Camp Pride strives to empower future LGBTQ+ leaders and offers an unparalleled experience of activism, growth, and community. The virtual summer camp lasts three days and runs from July 14 to 16.
Camp Outright is an overnight camp for queer teenagers ages 13-17. It offers a supportive environment where youth can express themselves in their own ways, including trans youth and those of any gender identity. The camp takes place in Starksboro, Vermont, with two camp sessions running in July. Kids can participate in several activities involving visual arts, performing arts, swimming, outdoor pursuits like hiking, and much more.
Kids are separated by age groups from 13-15 and 16-17. Returning campers ages 18-19 are welcome to apply for their Leaders In Training program, where they build leadership skills and train to become camp counselors. With a goal to accept everyone regardless of financial background, there are scholarships available for low-income families.