Diversity Camp 2019
I’m back home softly landing after a special and memorable week of volunteering at Diversity Camp. My 15-month-old attended with me as our camp mascot for the week and made ALL the friends, which was so cool to watch. Something about being around a baby disarms the defenses and makes young people act unusually silly and smitten.
Highlights for me during the week….
I had so much fun taking the youngest campers on a magical nature walk. We explored a beautiful labyrinth (my own two kiddos are pictured here) and we talked about how the design of this labyrinth is ancient. For centuries, people have walked labyrinths as a form of meditation and prayer. We discussed how labyrinths represent an inward journey of self-discovery – through the metaphor of walking a labyrinth, we embody the process of journeying inward to our center, finding the wisdom we need there, and then journeying back out into the world to use or share what we learned. We each walked this labyrinth and savored it in our own ways – some meandering through the path as it was laid out, and others skipping and leaping among the rocky lines, finding their own freedom. I felt awed by observing the metaphor of one young child, who identifies as non-binary, and the way they danced playfully over and through the boundaries of the labyrinth – just as the boundaries of society’s definition of gender are being playfully blurred through this child’s existence and innocent self-expression. The children collected items they found in nature on our walk – stones, sticks, moss, and a delicate butterfly wing that had been left behind. We shared stories and enjoyed each other’s presence immensely.
I expanded into new and slightly uncomfortable territory this year and offered two community drum circles. The kids and adults really enjoyed connecting and collaborating through self-expression with percussion instruments – plus, we had SO MUCH FUN. We talked about the relevance of attunement in music, in relationships, and in life. We reflected on the importance of deeply listening and being present with each other to support attunement.
I offered two Qoya classes (for the third year), which is always an honor and privilege. This camp is one of my favorite places to teach Qoya. Qoya provides a unique roadmap for getting out of your head and into your body in a really easy, unintimidating, and freeing way. We explored a fun theme “Embrace Your Weird” to move with the experience of embracing all of who we are and especially those things that make us feel odd or different, as these aspects often become our unique gifts to the world.
There were many other memorable moments and experiences with extremely gifted campers and adult counselors/helpers. Sometimes just a quick “check-in” conversation in passing between activities was profound. For many youth, this was their first time attending Diversity Camp. For many, this camp is the only place they feel fully accepted and safe being who they are. Many campers are completely ‘lit up’ from feeling so validated in this environment – bright smiles, laughter, giggles, and bravely sharing their creative selves in ways they might have never dreamed of back home. Creating their own mixes of eco-friendly glitter in one of the workshops was another highlight – seeing the kids sparkling in the sunlight, covered in rainbow glitter, was the perfect external reflection of their internal shine.
Thank you #diversitycamp for creating a safe, affirming space for LGBTQ+ kids and families to gather for a fun-filled week of outdoor camp - crafts, swimming, campfires/s’mores, dance/movement, singing and games. I love supporting this camp with my time and resources. You can too at www.diversitycamp.org