We are a camp for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer (LGBTIQ), and Sex &/or Gender Diverse teens, same sex attracted, curious & questioning teens aged 13-17.
CAMP OUT offers the chance to attend an away-from-home camp with people who share similar experiences, offering a supportive and safe space to learn and express yourself, an opportunity for capacity building and a fun environment in which to do so.
Most of all, it's the chance to hang out in a place where you're not judged for who you are, or who you like.
There's heaps of art, music, sports, games and other fun stuff happening during camp, as well as hangouts like movie nights and bonfires!
As well as your more typical camp activities, there's open workshops and informal discussions on things like identity & what it means to be LGBTIQ-identified or questioning your gender or sexual orientation, dealing with homophobia & transphobia, coming out in highschool, coming out to parents or friends, and how to be an awesome LGBTIQ ally.
With all the Camp activities it's up to you how you want to participate -- you choose your own Camp experience!
Camp Out is a five-day camp for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual young people, and an activist organisation, rolled into one. We exist because we want to create space for LGBTQIA young people to talk about their experiences, to share knowledge, and to support each other. We exist to support LGBTQIA young people to support each other, create communities, to find their strength and their courage and their fabulousness. Camp Out fundamentally seeks to imagine different kinds of futures (and presents) for LGBTQIA young people and the communities they are building. Camp Out:
Camp Out believes in working with a community, to effect change in that community. Camp Out works directly with LGBTQIA young people to build our community’s ability to both support themselves, each other, and to effect change. This capacity-building goes two ways—the young people we work with also teach and skill Camp Out Collective in resourcefulness and resilience and courage. Camp Out Collective also relies on the support of the queer community, at the grassroots level, to donate a whole bunch of stuff like art supplies,costumes,energy,time and fabulousness in order for Camp Out to exist. We believe change is more likely to trickle up, not down; we believe change comes from the grassroots and grows up.
Believes in Creativity/DIY Ethos
Camp Out firmly believes in the idea that, with the right skill-sharing, and the right community, anyone can do pretty much anything! Emerging from queer punk communities, the idea of do-it-yourself or DIY practice means that Camp Out believes in making things, doing things and figuring out obstacles ourselves, sharing skills whenever possible, and empowering each member of Camp Out Collective to take on new challenges and learn new skills. Creativity is a crucial ingredient of Camp Out—from our Art Space, to our home-made banners, signs and bunting, we believe that creativity not only helps us find solutions to problems, but also adds all kinds of magic to Camp.
Believes in Self-Determination
At Camp, we encourage young people to make their own decisions—about everything from food to the structure of their day to what their individual learning, support and social needs might be. We aim to skill Campers in thinking outside of what they are “meant” to do, be, think and feel, and focus on what they feel their needs are. We want to encourage young, LGBTQIA people to be self-directed and self-determined—to have the resources necessary to know and communicate their ideas, identities, needs and feelings.
Camp Out is not government-funded, and is not formally affiliated or regularly funded by any other community organisation. Though we work in collaboration with other community organisations, and rely on their support, all decisions about Camp Out rest solely with the Camp Out Collective. Camp Out is also an autonomous queer organising space—meaning that the Camp Out Collective is made up of queer individuals; it is politically salient for us that all organising decisions are made within a safer space for queer people. Although offers of funding and support from external organisations are appreciated, Camp Out Collective will make all final decisions about when funding is accepted, from whom funding is accepted, what happens at Camp, and so on, autonomously and by consensus.
The idea of community is central to Camp Out’s organising principles. Camp Out aims to skill LGBTQIA young people in reaching out to queer communities, drawing support from those communities, and also in forming their own communities. Camp Out believes in the power of horizontal support that queer communities are able to offer each other. Camp Out is also the product of a community: Camp Out exists only because of the incredible, collaborative efforts of the queer community. Camp Out Collective and its members draw their energy from involvement in all kinds of communities, and these communities enable Camp Out to keep on happening.
Camp Out values both intra- and inter-organisational collaboration. Collaboration is a perspective and way of relating, not merely a tactic or set of skills or tools. Collaboration requires The Collective's mutual engagement and trust and focuses them on the achievement of a common objective. Participants work to satisfy, not just their own but rather, the interests of all members. All perspectives should be considered. The collaboration produces tangible, substantial and sustainable results by moving from formational stages to joint action. This should happen within The Collective, and between The Collective and its allied organisations.
Camp Out is a collective guided by queer politics. We foster an environment for both the Collective members and Campers that rejects the mainstream's notions of self and identity. We firmly reject the gender binary. For us, one of Camp Out’s central missions is helping campers to imagine what their futures might look like outside of compulsory heterosexuality—to introduce them to ideas and people that better fit their own conceptions of their sexualities and gender identities. Helping campers to queer their ideas about the future is a key goal.
Diversity / Inclusivity
We are an anti-racist, anti-ableist, feminist organisation. It is our responsibility to ensure equality and accessibility for anyone who comes into contact with Camp Out, on any level. We are committed to challenging all forms of oppression, at every level of Camp. We recognise the systematic and cultural oppression of female-identifying people, and the privilege that male-identifying people often inherit. We acknowledge intersectional oppression as a valid framework for understanding the world.
Camp Out should be an empowering experience for all involved. We understand that sharing power and knowledge, with an emphasis on complete transparency, will lead to effective collective decision-making, and positive outcomes. The sustainability of Camp Out’s future depends heavily on skill-sharing and reflecting on all levels of power.
Ultimately, Camp Out stands for community.
We aim to create our own world, guided by unanimously agreed upon facets of queer and feminist politics. We aim to create a safe, creative, nourishing and inspiring environment through which The Collective members organise, and project into the Camp itself.
INFO 4 PARENTS
who is organising this
The Camp Out organising collective is a small group of people based in Sydney who meet throughout the year to plan camp. The crew comes from a range of backgrounds and includes youth workers, high school teachers, community workers, artists and queer community organisers.
We are a consensus-based, non-heirarchical collective working from a social justice framework - please see our glossary of terms for further information onwhat this means for Camp Out.
WHAT MAKES CAMP OUT DIFFERENT?
We are specifically a camp for LGBTIQ young people aged 13 to 17 - at this time there is no other camp like this in Australia. We are aiming to address the barriers that these young people often experience in trying to find appropriate and accessible services, events and opportunities to participate.
Camp Out seeks to empower each camper through peer interaction and to provide a space for social networking, community strengthening and peer support. We use the term "camp crew" intentionally to emphasise that we are not trying to take the place of a counsellor in any way.
WHY WE DO IT
Being different isn't always easy, and it can be even more confusing and isolating when you don't know other people who are going through the same experiences as you. We know that the best remedy for social isolation is to provide a place where young people can make friends in a safe and fun atmosphere.
A huge and very valid concern for parents is for the safety of their child attending Camp Out. Our partner organisations have seen the work we do and believe in the benefit of Camp Out - enough to recommend us as safe. We have modelled our risk management policies from the organisations we are supported by, as well as places where our crew members have worked. Campers will be expected to abide by our Safer Spaces Guidelines while at Camp. We make decisions based on the safety of ALL campers.
All Camp Out crew members have undergone Code of Conduct and Duty of Care training through Twenty10.
Camp Out is drug and alcohol free.
There will be one Camp Out Crew member in each sleeping cabin to supervise
All Camp Out Crew members and workshop facilitators comply with the NSW working with children laws and regulations. Each has undergone a working with children check.
While the health and safety of our campers - both physical, mental and emotional - are our utmost responsibility, we do not profess to be counsellors or crisis support. Rather, we actively outsource such roles using our network of organisations and professional counselors. This includes the youth service Twenty10, the Inner City Legal Centre, and experienced LGBTIQ youth counsellors who are generously donating their time. There will also be onsite support available via telephone should the need arise. We have a strict crisis management policy where 24 hour phone assistance and referral is available.
SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD
Whether your child or loved one is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning you have taken the first step to supporting them by reading this. You have opened yourself up to new information, and hopefully you will be better informed.
You can support your child or loved one by educating yourself as much as possible about sexuality and/or gender identity.
Young people know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people are often marginalised by society. Many children learn negative words for LGBTIQ people even before they reach the kindergarten playground. They assume that all the people they know are heterosexual; and they may have no idea that some of the respected adults around them are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer.
As a result, many LGBTIQ young people feel profoundly isolated. "Surely I am the only person like this" is a common sentiment. Unfortunately, some LGBTIQ young people are viciously harassed and abused.
Whether or not they are labelled by others, these young people often;
Fear being discovered and expect rejection
Guard their feelings carefully in order to be accepted (or merely to survive)
Have few opportunities to openly date, flirt or engage in sexual experimentation like other young people
Lack accurate information about their feelings and experiences
Lack appropriate safe sex education
The vast majority of LGBTIQ young people are not depressed or suicidal. However, Australian research has identified that same sex attracted young people may be up to six times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. These figures are believed to be even higher for young people with gender identity issues.
A young person's sexual or gender identity does not in and of itself cause them to feel depressed or suicidal. What does impact negatively on their well-being is the experience of growing up "different" in a society that often rejects difference, and that expects everyone to be heterosexual and gender normative. Education about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning people is an important step towards supporting young people and preventing depression and suicide.
Young LGBTIQ people need the following kinds of support, to develop good self-esteem and skills to deal with what can sometimes be a hostile environment:
Supportive opportunities to socialise with one another
Resources that specifically address their concerns
Sensitive, non-judgemental support as they come to understand themselves
There are services and programs throughout NSW and Australia that provide support for same sex attracted and transgender people.
Check out the Twenty10 website for links to some of these services.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should I bring to camp?
Enough clothes for 4 nights, swimmers, towel, sleeping bag and pillow, costumes or musical instrument, medication if needed, toiletries, torch, mozzie repellent, sunscreen, hat, water proof jacket if it rains, any art/craft materials, music...
We ask that you please do not bring peanuts or any other kind of nuts, or any products containing nuts, to Camp
What transport is provided?
On the way to camp there will be 3 meeting points.
Sydney - Campers will meet crew and catch a train together to Newcastle
Gosford - Campers will meet crew and catch a train together to Newcastle.
Newcastle - All campers and crew will meet and catch the camp bus
straight to camp. YAY!
All registered campers will receive a follow up form with all the
details on exact times and locations to meet.
If meeting points are tricky for you to get to, please get in touch on
0459 439 437 or email email@example.com or if you can't
make it to any of the above meeting points. We can work out a way to
get you there as long as you let us know!
How does the sliding scale work?
You simply pay however much seems appropriate to you and your specific circumstances. Whilst we appreciate any payment, big or small, that you are able to make towards attending Camp, we also strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attend, regardless of their financial situation or background. This means that no camper will ever be turned away for lack of funds.
There is a suggested fee of $200 to attend Camp - this amount covers the base costs of food, accommodation and transport for each camper. Sliding scale means you pay according to what you can afford. So, if $200 is out of your price range, it is up to you if you'd like to pay a smaller amount, or to attend Camp for free. Likewise, if it is within your means to pay more than $200 for the camp, then that is also appreciated, and this money goes towards making camp an excellent (and affordable) experience for everyone.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions regarding our payment policies.
What if I can't come for the whole week?
If you can only come for part of the camp week you have to let the camp crew know what dates you will arrive and leave. You will need to organise your own transport outside to and from the site, however we are happy to talk about arranging pickups/dropoffs at nearby train stations.
I want to come to Camp but i don't think i'll be allowed...
We find that parents/guardians usually have a LOT of questions about Camp and may at first be hesitant to let a young person attend camp! We also understand that not all young people are 'out' to these adults and may find it tricky to get permission.
Check out our info for parents page - it's specifically for parents and guardians of campers, to answer any questions about Camp.
Or, feel free to get in contact with the Camp Crew via our contact us page and we'll do our best to figure something out so you are able to attend camp! If you think payment or transport will be a big obstacle, please contact us as we do our best to make sure these are not barriers for young people to attend.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
There are 6 cabins with 8 bunk beds in each. Campers are free to choose where they would like to sleep each night, and each cabin will have at least one crew member in it to supervise.
Are the the toilets divided into
No. There are two shared toilet blocks containing toilet stalls, shower stalls, sinks, mirrors and extra toiletries for campers.
Anyone can use either block and there are no male/female signs on the toilets.
HEALTH AND SAFETY AT CAMP
While the health and safety of our campers - both physical, mental and emotional - are our utmost responsibility, we do not profess to be counselors or crisis support. Rather, we actively outsource such roles using our excellent network of organisations and professional counselors. This includes the youth service Twenty10, the Inner City Legal Centre, and experienced LGBTIQ youth counselors who generously donate their time to come to Camp. There is also onsite professional support available via telephone should the need arise.
During Camp week there are trained first aid officers on site at all times, and cars available to transport any person who needs emergency medical attention.
Is kissing, etc, acceptable at Camp?
No. Part of our policies includes an "ask to touch" policy that everyone at camp must abide by whilst at camp. This means that any kind of sexual or non-consensual touch is not allowed at camp.
We ask that everyone at camp be aware that other people’s experiences (both past and present) can be radically different to your own, and to respect other people’s personal space and boundaries.
Click here for a poster about our Safer Spaces Guidelines.
How do the workshops run?
There are 4 lots of workshops everyday: two in the morning and two after lunch. There are a variety of art, music, craft, performance, dance, and sporting activities as well as workshops where campers get a chance to talk and share ideas about LGBTIQ issues and how they relate to their lives. We also have open sessions where campers can run their own workshops, on anything they like.
Are there night time activities?
YES!! There are feasts, performance nights, bonfires, movie nights, capture the flag, and high-intensity competitive cake decorating!!!
What's the food like?
Delicious!! It is organic whole food, ethically sourced and prepared with love!! The food will meet everyone's dietary requirements according to what you list on your registration form, so make sure you fill in your dietary needs and preferences if applicable. If you are not into such wholesome fare you can also pack some snacks for your cabin. Again, we ask that you please do not bring peanuts or any other kind of nuts, or any products containing nuts, to Camp.
Why and How did Camp Out start?
Camp Out came about after a few of the organisers recognised the need for a community-run, peer-based and empowering camp for LGBTIQ youth in Australia.
We were originally inspired by a visit to the North American camp Camp Ten Trees, who are now in their thirteenth year of running an amazing queer summer camp. Check them out!
JOIN CAMP OUT CREW
Join Camp Out Crew: In the last quarter of each year (Oct-Dec) we recruit new crew members to the Camp Out collective. Crew need to identify as LGBTIQA, be over 21 years old, have their personal values align with the Camp Out Mission Statement and be willing to meet up regularly for our Monday night crew organising meetings. Interested? Email us!
DINE OUT FOR CAMP OUT
Dine Out for Camp Out is an easy way for community members to directly contribute to making Camp Out happen and can be held any time of year. 100% of raised funds from each Dine Out goes to the running of the camp and supports the thousands of hours of volunteer time spent by the crew to organise the initiative. Click here for more info
There are other ways to donate your time, energy and resources to Camp Out. Check out our fundraising flyer here
For any questions about attending camp, registering, or if you are a parent, guardian or worker, please contact us on: email@example.com
For all other general enquiries (media, volunteering, etc), please contact us on our general email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For phone enquiries, please call 0413 339 936.
Camp Out is staffed and run entirely by unpaid volunteers.
As a non-profit organisation, all donations, grants, and other contributions that Camp Out Inc. receives go towards maintaining accessibility and high quality programming at camp, and keeping our camp fees as low as possible for all campers and their families.
Unfortunately, registrations have closed for 2016. Check back here in January 2017 to register for next year's Camp Out!