Discovering Camp Ten Oaks
15 years old
Camper since 2011
I’m not like every other teenager and I never will be. But Camp Ten Oaks has shown me that I can be whoever I want to be. And, nobody can ever judge me for that.
I came out as gay when I was 13. I was severely bullied at school and it felt like there was nothing I could do about it. My social worker suggested I go to Camp Ten Oaks and that moment changed my life.
I’ve now been to camp for three years in a row, but I remember not knowing what I signed up for that first year. I’m not normally an outdoors-y person and camp is, well, it’s quite rustic. I couldn’t believe it – not much electricity, outhouses, and never ending stairs!
After a few days though, none of that mattered. I was just having the best time ever.
For the first time I felt like I belonged. There are so many amazing people at camp. Ten Oaks was the first place I felt that nobody judged me. I can’t even put that feeling into words – it’s liberating – the best feeling in the world.
Every summer I’ve gone back to camp, it’s affected my life for the rest of the year. Because of Camp Ten Oaks, I can be more myself than I’ve ever been.
I want to thank everyone with my life who makes camp possible. The Ten Oaks Project has helped and changed me in a way nothing else could.