Camp it Up!
Camp It Up! (CIU!) is the first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Asexual, Intersex + (LGBTQAI+) Family Camp in the United States. Since 1990, more than 8,000 campers have come to Camp. We offer programming that affirms, embraces, and celebrates LGBTQAI+ families, LGBTQAI+ children and teens, and their allies. CIU! offers arts and nature based camps in a Queer normative space that affirms and celebrates LGBTQAI+ children, families, and the spectrum of gender identities. Our programming nurtures leadership, builds community, and cultivates fun. In 2024, CIU! is celebrating our 35th Anniversary of providing LGBTQAI+ Family Camps.
Core to CIU!'s vision and values is a deep commitment to diversity, racial justice, equity, radical inclusivity, and Restorative Justice practices. CIU! aspires to be a place where family memories and community-building happens, and all campers experience a deep sense of safety and belonging.
As a Camp that for decades had been majority white in its leadership and campers, and is now, as of 2022, a majority Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) LGBTQAI+ space. We continue our commitment to intentionally work to transform into a welcoming and safe Camp where all LGBTQAI+ families and allies, particularly those living at the intersections of marginalized identities, can fully thrive in a liberated Camp zone. The population our organization aims to serve are BIPOC and white LGBTQAI+ families, and LGBTQAI+ nonbinary (NB), genderqueer, and gender nonconforming (GNC) children/teens.
CIU! is a Restorative Justice (RJ) community. We utilize its tools to build community and ensure we are doing our best to be our best. With its tools we are dismantling our own oppressions as we co-create a liberatory community. RJ is based on building strong relationships--if we’re not connected, we won’t care if we harm each other! But most importantly, we use RJ to fully see one another and be fully seen for true connection.
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The Dr. Barnes Learning & Leadership Award
The PBF grant will provide access through scholarships for BIPOC LGBTQAI+ teens to become Counselors In Training (CIT); to provide them a stipend; and to provide a registration scholarship for their parent/guardian. The Grant will also strengthen and expand our CIT Leadership Training Program curriculum and organizational leadership capacity.
How does your program support belonging and connections for LGBTQ+ youth and their families?
Our LGBTQAI+ Family Camps and CIT Youth Leadership Training Program provide LGBTQAI+ youth and their families the opportunity to have a camp experience, in the mountains, in the company of other youth with LGBTQAI+ families. Being in a welcoming and safe environment for them and their families is invaluable. Our CIT Youth Training Program gives a rich, diverse, opportunity for LGBTQAI+ youth to grow in their leadership skills and self-love. Research and our own lived experience of our campers and Leadership Team, show that family camp experiences positively impact youth far beyond their camp experience; especially in the areas of academic achievement, self- esteem, social-emotional skill building, family bonding and their overall respect and appreciation for nature and the Earth.
CIU! aspires to be a place where family memories and community-building happens, and all campers experience a deep sense of safety and belonging.
Claudia Vierra Allen