Camp Eclipse means more than just acceptance. I am not accepted at camp. No ... I am embraced; I am understood; and I am celebrated for who I am, for what I can achieve, and for what I have to give. Camp Eclipse means having a family of people who truly understands what it is like to be LGBTQ and it means not having to walk the path alone.
When I was young and overwhelmed by questions of identity, there was no one I could point to and say “I am like you!”. For many years, I struggled with questions that seemed too big and terrifying for me to face by myself. I had no one who could help me find the courage I needed to find self-understanding. Without a connection to a community of peers and mentors, it took me a very long time to come to terms with who I am, and painstakingly learn to love myself.
Being a part of Camp Eclipse means being able to give new generations of queer youth the community I craved when I was younger. It means being able to empower these incredible youth who, in-spite of the challenges they may face, never cease to amaze me with their courage, compassion, determination, and hope. Being part of Camp Eclipse means I get to be a part of a family bigger than I ever could have dreamed.
Camp Eclipse has changed the course of my life, and it is nothing short of a blessing to be a part of such a family. This camp means everything to me.
The above article was originally published in 2014.
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