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Summer Camps & Activities 2017: Pilgrim Lodge Hosts Summer Camp For LGBTQ+ And Ally Youth



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For people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or other gender and/or sexual minorities (LGBTQ+), finding a religious community that openly accepts them for who they are can be difficult. Pilgrim Lodge, which is owned and operated by the Maine Conference, United Church of Christ, believes in inclusivity and that everyone is a beloved child of God.To register for Camp Pride, visit pilgrimlodge.org and click on "Program Schedule" in the top toolbar to learn more.

That is why Pilgrim Lodge, in West Gardiner, Maine, will be hosting Camp Pride, a summer program devoted to creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ high school age students to come together to discuss identity, faith, and what it is like to be them in 2017. Youth allies who support the LGBTQ+ community are also welcome to join Camp Pride.

This unique camp experience allows campers to openly share their fears, joys, and spiritual yearnings, all in an environment where everyone is accepted. Even people who do not consider themselves religious are invited to attend Camp Pride.

Reverend Bryan S. Breault of Pilgrim Lodge said, "[Camp Pride] is a group for support, for education, for learning, for letting young people know that they are loved no matter what, and to know that there is a place for them in some religious communities... They are welcome to discuss and present their identity if they choose, but no one is going to be forced to disclose where they are."

Pilgrim Lodge was established in 1956 and has been developing Camp Pride for two years now. The idea for the camp was met with unanimous support from their ministry team.

Since the program is one of the first of its kind, Pilgrim Lodge is looking to welcome campers from all over to attend.

"Most of our campers come from Maine," said Rev Breault. "However, in this case, we are trying to reach out beyond the borders, because we think that this is a unique event and it is a very important message for LGBTQ+ youth, especially in the current political climate."

Rev Breault acknowledges that those who identify as LGBTQ+ may be getting negative messages from society and religious groups saying that it is not okay for them to be who they are, but Camp Pride is Pilgrim Lodge's way of doing something proactive and bold to change that.

"We are trying to respect everybody's spiritual journey and where they are. We are trying to get to the basics of people feeling good about who they are," said Rev Breault. "I think it is a very important event because it sends the message that you are loved and that you are part of something greater."

Camp Pride will take place at Pilgrim Lodge, on the shores of Lake Cobbosseecontee. The one-week session will run from August 6 through 12 for students entering grade 10 through 2017 high school graduates. A maximum of 100 campers can register for the program.

Fees to enroll in Camp Pride cost $450 to $620. Scholarships and transportation may be available for those who request financial help upon submitting a form. People also have the opportunity to be able to sponsor a camper for a whole week's fee and/or make a partial payment of a smaller amount to pitch in for a camper's cost.

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Pilgrim Lodge in Maine will be hosting Camp Pride this summer. (Pilgrim Lodge photo)
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