A place where everybody understands - Ten Oaks Project

That’s the magic of camp


16 years old
Camper since 2005

When I was seven years old, the director of Camp Ten Oaks told me this camp would be a really big part of my life. I can’t believe how right she was.

I have two gay dads, a lesbian mother and a bisexual sister. When I was in grade 7 or 8, it really hit me how hard that can be for some people to understand. Kids at school would make so many assumptions about me.

For two years, when I walked into the girls’ bathroom, people would just quickly file out. At one point, I found out about a petition that some of my classmates at school made to ban me from the girls’ change room. They actually got 50 signatures. Some of my friends even signed it. I guess they felt uncomfortable thinking I was a lesbian. That hurt a lot. There is so much bullying around assumptions.

Our school had a diversity club and normally you have to be in grade 9 to join, but I was allowed in early because of the petition. It was cool at first, but none of the other members really talked to me because I was younger and everybody else in the group identified as 2SLGBTQ+ and I was ‘just the queerspawn.’ They didn’t really create a space for me.

Camp Ten Oaks is so different though. The best part about Camp Ten Oaks is that everybody just understands. Everybody’s family and situation is different, but everybody understands. The sense of belonging and community that I get from Ten Oaks is something that I can feel year-round.

Camp Ten Oaks is a place I’ve been excited to return to every summer for each of the past nine years. Without Camp Ten Oaks, I don’t really know who I would be right now. It’s been with me forever.