Monday, February 22, 2010

Retreats and Camps for LGBTQA Youth

Summer camp is probably a life-changing event for many of us. It may be the place where we found or renewed our faith. Studies have shown that about 75% of people in church leadership (clergy, lay professionals, council members) had a significant camp experience. Lutherans place a lot of value on the camp experience.

Now, there are now three organizations that offer camps and retreats for youth who want to explore the connections between faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity. These camps are designed not only for LGBT youth, but youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. And…amazingly enough, they are all sponsored by Lutherans! The three camps have the stamp of approval of the Youth, Young Adult, and Family Committee of Lutherans Concerned/North America. All three are listed on the Youth, Young Adult, and Family Committee page of the LC/NA web site.

Wonderfully Made

April 16-18, 2010

Bear Creek Camp, Wilkes Barre, PA

Theme: Gift and Trust

This is an opportunity for young people who identify as LGBTQ and their allies and who are Christian to come together and safely share worship; faith journeys and struggles; and enjoy fellowship with other Christian teens. The camp is designed for 15-17 year olds who currently in 9th to 12th grades who are lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/ or questioning and their allies and who are interested in discussing and understanding sexuality alongside their own spirituality and are excited to spend time with other teenagers and staff in fellowship, worship, games, Bible Study, crafts, and guest speakers.

If you have questions about the camp or would like more information, please contact Fred Wolfe at 215-387-2885.

Spiritual Pride Project

April 23-25, 2010

Camp Lutherhill, LaGrange, TX

The Spiritual Pride Project is a new ministry that hopes to serve as a resource, a discussion forum, a community, and a sounding block for youth of all sexual orientations. More specifically, we are a weekend retreat where both sexuality and spirituality are seen as equally valuable gifts from God. It offers a weekend camp retreat as a safe, accepting and loving community where GLBTQIA (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Question Intersex and Allied) youth can discuss how their sexuality and spirituality are beautiful gifts from God. The camp accompanies youth on the faith journey as they celebrate and struggle with our faith, family, friends, school, relationships, and everything in between. This is still camp after all, so everyone enjoys God's creation and have a blast sharing our creative talents, playing games, and challenging each other. All People of all belief backgrounds are welcome!

The Naming Project

July 18-23, 2010

Bay Lake Camp, Deerwood, Minnesota

Theme: I Love to Tell the Story

The Naming Project Summer Camp is for 15-18 year olds or those who have completed 9th-12th grades who are of any sexual orientation or gender identity or expression who are interested in discussing and understanding sexuality in terms of their own spiritual journey and are excited to spend time with other teen campers and staff while canoeing, swimming, hiking, singing, doing arts and crafts. The theme for this summer’s session is I Love to Tell the Story. Campers will spend the week talking about how our stories connect with the ongoing story of God’s relationship with humanity. Each day, campers will spend time actively crafting and expressing their stories.Youth will be actively involved in conversation around their life experiences and Biblically based themes.This week of camp will give youth the opportunity to experience God's love and the care and support of community in new and incredible ways. Throughout the week there will be dialogue with staff and guest speakers, while enjoying the great outdoors and summer camp fun!


  1. The Naming Project is my favorite!

  2. First of all, I hear Spiritual Pride Project is going to have the best games, singalongs, and high ropes adventure!
    Secondly, who would want to miss out on the 70 degree wildflowering spring in Texas!?!

  3. Spiritual Pride Project is a great up and coming organziation and we are in TEXAS. The only known LGBTQIQ friendly camp in the south!

  4. Definitely! It's all about The Naming Project!

  5. The Naming Project all the way. The five weeks I spent there over the last five years changed me forever in the best way possible. Also, I learned the Little Red Wagon song there. Beat that.

  6. The naming project helped me find my way in the best way possible. Being away from my home town and experiencing a whole new group of people was exactly what I needed. TNP changed my life, and I recommend it to anyone.

  7. I only know the Naming Project first hand, but it is truly amazing. I have found that it is a place of fun and deep personal and spiritual growth. In my role as Arts and Crafts counselor, I can say for sure that it's a place that nurtures creativity and humor. Can't imagine anything better.

  8. The Naming Project is so rad! I have never felt more apart of a fellowship then I did there. Its about letting yourself be who you're meant to be. I've met some of the most amazing people there and forged friendships that will last a life time and further.

  9. With most church camps, people talk with camp friends during the camp and perhaps until school starts. Then they get into the school routine and stop thinking about the friends they met in the summer. That's not what happens at TNP. It's February, and I still talk with my friends from the beginning of August.

  10. Wonderfully Made camp owes its existence to TNP and to Rev. Claire Burkat, the bishop of SEPA Synod, who, after seeing "Camp Out" said we need to do that here in SEPA. The first year I was intimidated by TNP and worried we could not provide as rich and deep of an event in just a weekend, but guess what-the Spirit took over, and it was awesome! The youth have done wonderful things since camp-one spoke passionately at Synod Assembly last May during the debate over the memorials to CWA about finding a way for LGBT pastors to openly serve the church. At our Senior High Youth Gathering this past weekend,in front of over 300 people, another youth testified about her coming out experience and how WMC helped her reconcile the disconnect she was experience between her genuine self and her Creator.

    One of the young adult leaders from 2009 camp reflected later "In my own life, I've never been able to sit down with a group of people who share the same perspective on sexuality as me in such real ways. Being free to be completely myself, without pretense or expectation, was completely refreshing. In the same way, I was inspired by the strength and courage of my new found brothers and sisters. The way each one lives their life with such authenticity opened my eyes. These people are not just inspirational "young, gay leaders." They are leaders, who happen to bring rich experiences into the way they relate to people. The sensitivity with which they approach conversations, the respect they show one another, the genuine interest they take in the stories of near strangers-- all of these things are quite possibly the direct result of being put down by their society."

    WMC also owes a huge thanks to Molly Beck Dean, our synod's Youth Ministry Specialist, as well as all of the other people who have supported us financially and with their prayers.

    And thanks to you, Ross, Brad, and Jay, for breaking the Holy ground to allow these young people to experience their lives fully, in loving, committed relationships with the One who loves us beyond all others.

  11. Wonderfully Made Camp rocks!! If you're a LGTBQ youth on the East Coast, join us this spring!

  12. Great to have this opportunity available to our gay and questioning young people,who are struggling with their sexuality and their faith. Thanks to those who work to make it happen!
    Barbara Spencer

  13. I had the best time of my life at The Naming Project camp last summer. It really was a life changing week for me. I felt so much peace & acceptance there, & My spirituality, faith & sexuality meshed in the most amazing & uplifting way. The friends I made there will be in my heart forever! It's TNP for life!!

  14. Rev.Roy GullifordJune 16, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    As the Executive responsible for building and then serving as Ex. Director of Bear Creek Camp { now retired} I am overjoyed at this new program. Our tradition was to welcome all-including LBGT campers and staff as part of our community. But hosting a specific program for prople who are the most discriminated against in our land, welcoming them as brothers and sisters in Christ is a hugh and overdue declaration of our faith. Bear Creek Camp, I'm so prowd.


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