It’s that time of year again: ‘Camp’ Camp is right around the corner. In less than two weeks, 200 LGBT people from across the U.S. (as well as Canada and the U.K.) will all be converging in southwestern Maine to have the best time ever! ‘Camp’ Camp 2017 will mark our 21st season, a fabulously unique best-time-ever week full of summer camp activities, fun evening social events, and smiles & laughter with new friends.
Forty-four of this year’s Campers have been with us for an astounding 10 years or more, including this year’s 15th-Year Campers: Owner/Director Betsy Orr of Portland, ME; Deb Kayman of New York, NY; Jackie Goss of Malden, MA; James Berglund of Oakland, CA; and Paul Mitchell of Atlanta, GA. We will be donating $100 in each of their names to The Trevor Project in honor of their noteworthy Camp anniversary, a tradition we began back in 2011 when we first had Campers celebrating their 15th year at ‘Camp’ Camp.
The following year we established our annual “Camp Gives Back” campaign which recognizes and supports an organization serving the LGBT community through a combination of donations from our Campers & Staff and a pledge of 10% of our Camp Store sales. Past beneficiaries of the campaign include Mainers United for Marriage ($1100 raised in 2012), Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund ($1435 raised in 2013), SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) ($1888 raised in 2014), Camp Aranu’tiq ($1685 raised in 2015), and, last year’s recipient, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) ($1673).
The current political climate here in the U.S. has felt increasingly hostile to the LGBTQ community since last November. However, in nearly 80 countries around the world it is actually a crime to be LGBTQ and our LGBTQ brothers & sisters in these countries face persecution on a daily basis unlike anything those of us here in the U.S. might encounter. In recognition of this sad reality, we have decided to do our small part to support the global LGBT community by choosing Immigration Equality, the nation’s leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, as the beneficiary of our 2017 Camp Gives Back campaign.
Immigration Equality works every day to ensure the safety and well-being of our community from countries where just being LGBTQ is a crime, providing advice and legal services to thousands of LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants annually. Fighting to obtain asylum for these LGBTQ and HIV-positive refugees seeking refuge, fair treatment, and freedom here in the United States, they maintain a remarkable 99% win rate for their clients despite an increasing workload each year.
If you are coming to Camp this summer, you can help support Immigration Equality simply by buying an extra Camp t-shirt or souvenir or two (or three) in the Camp Store. You’ll also be able to make additional donations to Immigration Equality via your Cashless ‘Camp’ Camp account.
If you aren’t able to join us this summer, we suggest that you pop over to Immigration Equality’s website and make a donation. (Be sure to note that you were referred by ‘Camp’ Camp.) Please join us in support of our LGBTQ brothers & sisters from around the globe and donate today.