INFO 4 PARENTS
who is organising this
The Camp Out organising collective is a small group of people based in Sydney who meet throughout the year to plan camp. The crew comes from a range of backgrounds and includes youth workers, high school teachers, community workers, artists and queer community organisers.
We are a consensus-based, non-heirarchical collective working from a social justice framework - please see our glossary of terms for further information onwhat this means for Camp Out.
WHAT MAKES CAMP OUT DIFFERENT?
We are specifically a camp for LGBTIQ young people aged 13 to 17 - at this time there is no other camp like this in Australia. We are aiming to address the barriers that these young people often experience in trying to find appropriate and accessible services, events and opportunities to participate.
Camp Out seeks to empower each camper through peer interaction and to provide a space for social networking, community strengthening and peer support. We use the term "camp crew" intentionally to emphasise that we are not trying to take the place of a counsellor in any way.
WHY WE DO IT
Being different isn't always easy, and it can be even more confusing and isolating when you don't know other people who are going through the same experiences as you. We know that the best remedy for social isolation is to provide a place where young people can make friends in a safe and fun atmosphere.
A huge and very valid concern for parents is for the safety of their child attending Camp Out. Our partner organisations have seen the work we do and believe in the benefit of Camp Out - enough to recommend us as safe. We have modelled our risk management policies from the organisations we are supported by, as well as places where our crew members have worked. Campers will be expected to abide by our Safer Spaces Guidelines while at Camp. We make decisions based on the safety of ALL campers.
All Camp Out crew members have undergone Code of Conduct and Duty of Care training through Twenty10.
Camp Out is drug and alcohol free.
There will be one Camp Out Crew member in each sleeping cabin to supervise
All Camp Out Crew members and workshop facilitators comply with the NSW working with children laws and regulations. Each has undergone a working with children check.
While the health and safety of our campers - both physical, mental and emotional - are our utmost responsibility, we do not profess to be counsellors or crisis support. Rather, we actively outsource such roles using our network of organisations and professional counselors. This includes the youth service Twenty10, the Inner City Legal Centre, and experienced LGBTIQ youth counsellors who are generously donating their time. There will also be onsite support available via telephone should the need arise. We have a strict crisis management policy where 24 hour phone assistance and referral is available.
SUPPORTING YOUR CHILD
Whether your child or loved one is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning you have taken the first step to supporting them by reading this. You have opened yourself up to new information, and hopefully you will be better informed.
You can support your child or loved one by educating yourself as much as possible about sexuality and/or gender identity.
Young people know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people are often marginalised by society. Many children learn negative words for LGBTIQ people even before they reach the kindergarten playground. They assume that all the people they know are heterosexual; and they may have no idea that some of the respected adults around them are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer.
As a result, many LGBTIQ young people feel profoundly isolated. "Surely I am the only person like this" is a common sentiment. Unfortunately, some LGBTIQ young people are viciously harassed and abused.
Whether or not they are labelled by others, these young people often;
Fear being discovered and expect rejection
Guard their feelings carefully in order to be accepted (or merely to survive)
Have few opportunities to openly date, flirt or engage in sexual experimentation like other young people
Lack accurate information about their feelings and experiences
Lack appropriate safe sex education
The vast majority of LGBTIQ young people are not depressed or suicidal. However, Australian research has identified that same sex attracted young people may be up to six times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. These figures are believed to be even higher for young people with gender identity issues.
A young person's sexual or gender identity does not in and of itself cause them to feel depressed or suicidal. What does impact negatively on their well-being is the experience of growing up "different" in a society that often rejects difference, and that expects everyone to be heterosexual and gender normative. Education about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning people is an important step towards supporting young people and preventing depression and suicide.
Young LGBTIQ people need the following kinds of support, to develop good self-esteem and skills to deal with what can sometimes be a hostile environment:
Supportive opportunities to socialise with one another
Resources that specifically address their concerns
Sensitive, non-judgemental support as they come to understand themselves
There are services and programs throughout NSW and Australia that provide support for same sex attracted and transgender people.
Check out the Twenty10 website for links to some of these services.