What is CampOUT!?
CampOUT! is a social justice summer camp for queer, trans, Two-Spirit, questioning, and allied youth ages 14-21 from across BC & the Yukon. The camp is held on Gambier Island, unceded Coast Salish territories. In affiliation with the University of British Columbia, the camp provides opportunities to develop leadership skills, build self-esteem, foster hope and resilience, and connect with resources to support health and well-being (physical, mental, social, sexual, educational, and spiritual). Participants return to their home communities with new skills, resources, and friendships. CampOUT! provides a supportive space for LGBTQ2S+ youth to celebrate and be celebrated for who they are.
CampOUT! is housed in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ), under the Faculty of Arts of the University of British Columbia. GRSJ provides CampOUT! with a supportive institutional infrastructure, operational resources, and numerous opportunities to collaborate with and build new relationships across communities. By supporting CampOUT! GRSJ is helping to fulfill the University’s commitment to foster safer learning spaces and strengthen community outreach both at the Institute and on campus. CampOUT! is grateful to be supported by the Jane Rule Endowment for the Study of Human Relationships as well as many individual donors and organizations beyond UBC.
The project is guided by the CampOUT! Community Advisory Committee, representing key community organizations, UBC staff and faculty, and camp alumni. Our advising partners make us stronger, relevant, connected, and adaptable to meet the ever changing needs of BC’s youth.
While most initiatives for queer and trans youth are urban, CampOUT! is an opportunity to have a safe and fun experience in the great outdoors. Building community in nature is an experience like no other. The trust, honesty, humour, and openness that can be cultivated in a camping situation is empowering and inspiring in a unique way. CampOUT! makes this type of community building possible for youth that may not feel safe or inspired to attend other camps.
We recognize that youth in BC have vastly different experiences from one and other based on their families, cultural experiences, support systems, school, and community resources. Youth health and wellness increase when intergenerational support is felt. CampOUT! offers an opportunity for participants to form meaningful relationships with a wide range of community mentors that share their experiences and can offer support and inspiration. By providing access to diverse community building and practical skills, campers and leaders alike build self-esteem, inspire each other, and foster hope and resilience. After camp, they are encouraged and supported to bring what they have learned into their home communities.
How accessible is CampOUT!?
CampOUT! participants are asked to pay a $25 registration fee to demonstrate their commitment to attending the camp; however this fee can be waived upon request. We are committed to supporting all participants that may need assistance with travel costs and travel reimbursements are available. We are committed to accommodating health and access related needs of campers, leaders, and volunteers to make this experience more possible. The camp itself is accessed via water taxi and the walking paths are loose and packed gravel. Camp staff have access to a golf cart and truck and can provide lifts for folks that may need assistance getting from the dock to the main camp area. There are wheelchair accessible cabins, bathrooms, dining hall and program areas and there is a stair-climber for the one hall that does not have ramp access.
Where is CampOUT!?
CampOUT! lives, learns, and breathes on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Watuth), Stó:lō, Shíshálh (Sechelt) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples. Camp is held at beautiful Camp Fircom on Gambier Island.
Click here to learn more about CampOUT!’s relationship to the land that we live, work, and play on.