The Ten Oaks Project engages and connects children and youth from LGBTQ+ identities, families, and communities through summer camp programs.
Many of our campers are in desperate need of these opportunities: they experience alot of homophobia and transphobia in their daily lives. We often hear that our camp programs are the only time in the year when they feel safe enough to be open and honest about their identities and family structures, and they form lasting relationships that carry them through their hardest days.
Our camps look like any other: there’s a polar bear dip every morning; meals are eaten together in the dining hall; plenty of time is spent in and on the water; older campers go on overnight canoe trips; songs are sung around the campfire; and everything is covered in glitter by the end of the week.
The thing that’s different about our programs is our focus on social justice. Campers are given opportunities to talk about their experiences of oppression, develop skills to build resiliency, and learn how to be agents of change in their communities.
Many first-time campers are reluctant to come to camp. Some have had bad experiences at other camps, and others don’t consider themselves “outdoors-y” people who will enjoy a week in the woods. By the end of the week, campers spill off the bus with stories about the canoe trip to an island, how they shot an arrow that hit the target, the fear of heights they overcame on the climbing wall, and the friendships they built through these activities that gave them confidence and took away fear.
Our commitment to social justice means that we offer subsidies to all who need them (55%) to attend camp. The generosity of donors who want to make sure every child has a place where they feel safe and celebrated makes this possible.
Go to http://www.tenoaksproject.org/ to find out more inforamtion