OUTdoors! Camp gears up, with some unexpected help.

Adam Lambert fans around the world are once again supporting the community – and this time their focus is on one of their favorite efforts: 1n10, a non-profit dedicated to helping Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Specifically, the focus of their volunteer efforts is now on the world’s largest LGBTQ youth leadership camp, called OUTdoors! Camp.

1n10 envisions a world where all LGBTQ youth and young adults are embraced for who they are, actively engaged in their communities, and empowered to lead. 1n10 is the sponsor of the 4th annual OUTdoors! Camp.

OUTdoors! Camp plays a significant role achieving 1n10’s mission. OUTdoors! Camp is dedicated to helping LGBTQ youth develop leadership skills, work in collaborative ways, and develop a strong sense of self and community!
Over Labor Day weekend, 150 LGBTQ youth, ages 12-24 will convene in the lush mountains of Prescott, AZ to learn team building techniques on high ropes courses, zip lines, and rock climbing walls. Campers will develop leadership skills through experiential education exercises in dozens of education workshops, facilitated by college professors, community organizers, and LGBTQ professionals. A few of the most popular workshops are: LGBTQ history, anti-bullying techniques, non-violent communication, and public speaking.

The 4th annual OUTdoors! Camp will accommodate 150 youth in total and 75 adult volunteers. 120 youth are from urban and rural areas of Arizona, and 30 youth will be attending from across the US and Mexico. Our volunteers come from across the country to help improve the lives of campers, including volunteers from Arizona, Texas, Utah, New York, California, and Canada. Volunteers play an integral role in facilitating a healthy camp environment and facilitate team building exercises, act as cabin counselors, and prepare nightly fire and s’mores.

Youth come to OUTdoors! Camp for many different reasons and with a variety of self-development goals. These reasons range from needing to heal from being bullied based on gender identity and sexual orientation to wanting to find a place that they can be accepted and loved for who they are. “The most empowering aspect of camp for me was learning about so many different people and ideas. I loved building our community and learning about LGBTQ History. My cabin group really bonded and became a family” said a 17 year old 2010 camper. A 15 year old camper from 2008 said “Camp helped me to realize that everything will be okay, everything happens for a reason, and no matter what I should never give up.”

One of OUTdoors! Camp’s newest programs is the Counselor’s In Training (CIT) program. The CIT program is an important catalyst for older campers between the ages of 19-24, who are getting close to aging out of youth programs. CIT’s are junior counselors at camp and act as peer leaders and bridge builders between camp participants and volunteers. CIT’s play an integral role in helping younger campers have fun in a safe and supportive environment. This year 14 CIT’s took part in a very successful “CIT Boot Camp”, a pre camp training where CITs have a chance to bond with one another, learn about speaking with love, and exploring their strengths and challenges as a developing leader.

“Camp was a gateway into the community for me. It’s given me friends I know will be lifelong. Camp has helped me to come out of my shell and come to terms with everything. It’s because of camp that I have been able to be open with myself and others!” said Matt Bantau, a 3rd year camp participant and 2011 CIT.

When we asked Matt why his role as a CIT is important he said “When you are coming out [as LGBTQ], it’s important that you feel safe and that you are surrounded by like-minded people. People who will talk with you and give you advice. Being a [CIT] leader helps set the road for others to become leaders, and that’s the big picture. I was in their place once, now look at me!”

Adam Lambert fans are passionate about spreading the word regarding Adam’s talents and his positive spirit – and they are also passionate about following in Adam’s community-oriented footsteps. We have been so fortunate at 1n10 to be the recipient of Adam’s fans’ generosity, including donations, FYE CDs, volunteer efforts and “Adam oriented”auction items for 1n10’s yearly brunch. And, the fans have been sending donations and “wish list” items for OUTdoors! Camp.

If you would like to donate to OUTdoors! or other 1n10 projects, you can contact 1n10 at the address below, or donate on the website at http://www.1n10.org/ . Please make a note if the donation is for OUTdoors! Camp or general 1n10 programming. 1n10 staff members encourage fans to write letters to the youth about why the youth are important to you. Some of the fans include notes that say “Adam Lambert sent me!”. And, we appreciate all of you!

You can also email Kado for more information about OUTdoors! Camp at kado@1n10.org and check out their website at www.outdoorsgaycamp.com
2700 N. 3rd Street #2011
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 400-2601
Article written by 1n10 staff member and OUTdoors! Camp Creator & Director Kado Stewart