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Camp Tawonga is a premier residential Jewish summer camp located on the stunning Tuolumne River, just outside of Yosemite National Park. For 98 years, Tawonga has served as a leader in Jewish camping, fostering in children and families a deep connection to nature, community and Judaism. In the Bay Area, Tawonga’s year-round programming for families, teens and adults of all ages builds on the essence of the Tawonga mission: positive self-esteem, cooperative community and unconditional acceptance.

Tawonga is known for its pioneering affinity programs. Twenty-five years ago, we responded to LGBTQ+ families with the first Keshet Family Camp in the U.S. Our more recent Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) initiative includes all-gender cabin options and a Jewish Families of Color Weekend. 

Click here to learn more about Camp Tawonga.

The Dr. Barnes Learning & Leadership Award

The PBF grant will give returning LGBTQ+ summer staff the opportunity to participate in a fellowship that develops leadership skills for approaching and engaging in social justice and anti-oppression work. This experiential educational initiative will help retain LGBTQ+ summer staff, elevate their ability to support LGBTQ+ campers, become foundational role models and make Tawonga’s culture of inclusion an example for the field.

The PBF grant will also provide much needed Campership support, making the Tawonga experience accessible to all LGBTQ+ families regardless of their financial circumstances. PBF’s generous support will give Tawonga’s LGBTQ+ community deeper opportunities to discover who they are, lean into their "super powers'' and find a lifelong home at Tawonga.


How does your program support belonging and connections for LGBTQ+ youth and their families? 

As a longstanding champion of LGBTQ+ rights, Tawonga has created a cherished affinity space for LGBTQ+ campers and families. We’ve built all-gender bathrooms, we’ve changed our “boys side” and “girls side” designation
s of Camp to gender-neutral names, we offer all-gender cabin options for campers who prefer this type of housing for any reason, lead a “Beyond the Binary” campfire during summer camp and run a robust LGBTQ+ Family Camp Weekend, but there is room to do so much more. That’s where the generosity of the Pony Barnes Foundation comes in. Thanks to the PBF grant, we will have the resources to make Tawonga a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ campers. They will have deeper opportunities to fully embrace their authentic identities, cultivate a stronger sense of belonging and find a lifelong home at Tawonga.

Becca Meyer

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