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Camp Ten Trees

Since 2001, Camp Ten Trees has offered a loving and engaging summer camp experience to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, their allies, and youth from non-traditional families. At camp, youth participate in traditional summer camp activities (swimming, boating, archery, arts and crafts, etc), as well as innovative social justice programming that empowers them to be leaders and advocates in their own communities when they go home. Our sliding scale tuition rates and unique campership program (need-based assistance) have allowed us to never turn away a prospective camper for financial reasons.

How we helped

"Support from LUSH helps make magical stories like this one possible for all of our youth, regardless of their families' ability to pay for camp. Dear Camp Ten Trees: Since my daughter stepped off the plane after attending Camp Ten Trees, I've thought every day about writing to you and your staff/volunteers. My kid has always been, amongst many other charming qualities, stoic. She has attended every camp and extracurricular activity we could afford or that she showed even a vague interest in. She would go and at the end, we wouldn't get much more than a ""It was fine,"" from her. As we've progressed through her coming out process, I've observed that some of her discomfort or hesitation in these situations was about not feeling like she fit, that she couldn't play into the ways her peers were expressing their interests and preoccupations, that in a crowd of people her own age, she wasn't finding her tribe. Her kin. Her first text to us after her week at Camp Ten Trees: ""I had an unbelievably great time."" I had been thinking about her all week, hoping beyond hope that this experience would be different for her, that she would feel held by the community at Ten Trees. Then, after years and years of mediocre and sometimes negative experiences, I got her text and found myself weeping. I realized how much of her burden I had been carrying too. When we met her at the baggage claim, she leapt to her feet, and was utterly glowing. She hugged us hard and began retelling her week in detail, story after story, not done even after our two hour drive home. At the end of it all, what was clear to me is this: She felt loved. She was seen and reflected back by trusted others. She took risks. She was given permission to say no. She was given opportunities to share her experiences. Simply, she said it's the most positive and loving place she's ever been. She can't wait to come back next year. All that is to say, since being home from Ten Trees she's made some huge shifts. She cut her hair. She now wants to get a driver's license. She is working with a teacher at her school to get a GSA started on her campus. It's been a stunning transformation and I have a feeling it's just the beginning. Words can't capture my gratitude for your program, your counselors and your staff. I want to help your organization in any way I can, even from a distance. Please let me know if there are tangible ways I can assist. My best to you, A parent of a Ten Trees camper"

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