WHAT IS CAMP HIGHLIGHT?
It's no secret that our society stumbles toward its acceptance of all people. Along that journey, it is too often the case that divisive and negative messages about LGBT people and their families are broadcast on TV by celebrities, pundits, and politicians. While LGBT people have developed their own communities for support and guidance, what about the more vulnerable among us? How do children cope with hearing messages that their families are “not real” or in some way dangerous?
These questions troubled Jackie Gambardella and Chris Hudson, two friends and camp veterans who are deeply connected to the LGBT community. They envisioned a camp experience where children from LGBT families could meet others from similar families to find support, friendship, and fun. On that day in 2010, Camp Highlight was born! Since then, the camp has grown to over 60 children per summer and continues to grow!
Camp Highlight is more than just a specialty camp. Our mission is to create a generation of children that are kind, generous, responsible, and united. To that end, everything we do at Camp Highlight is rooted in our Nine Virtues: peace, honesty, generosity, respect, courage, acceptance, responsibility, cooperation, and unity. We encourage every camper to practice and live those virtues in order to become the very best version of themselves they can be. We believe that every camper should “Shine Brighter.” By practicing the Virtues and being their best selves, campers will encourage others around them at home and in their communities to do the same.
Most of all, Camp Highlight is FUN! There are over 40 daily activities from campers to choose from. There are traditional sports, arts and crafts, dance, fishing, writing, and nature adventures waiting! Campers love the pool, climbing wall, and miles of trails to explore. Every night, we end with an all camp activity such as game show night, a carnival, or all-camp Olympics. There is so much to do!
Camp Highlight takes place at South Mountain YMCA in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. Our 2023 dates are August 13 to August 20. The cost is $1150 per camper. Financial aid is available.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT MAKES CAMP HIGHLIGHT THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR MY CHILD?
Camp Highlight gives children the opportunity to meet others with families like theirs. Campers build a support network of allies and friends and can discuss their experiences free from fear of exclusion or judgment. In addition, children are provided a remarkable recreational experience on a beautiful campsite!
HOW ARE CAMPERS ARRANGED INTO CABINS?
Each camper is assigned to a cabin that houses eleven campers of roughly the same age and at least two counselors. The cabins are beautiful log cabins with electricity. The bathhouse is a short walk from the cabins and has flush toilets and hot showers. The facilities are all gendered allowing children of any or no gender to have a comfortable camp experience.
WHAT WILL MY CAMPER BE EATING?
There is something for everyone in the dining hall. Healthy meals are served family-style. South Mountain YMCA has professional staff serving meals which have been reviewed by professional dietitians. A salad bar is also available at lunch and dinner. We take care to collect information on campers' special dietary needs. We are a peanut free camp!
CAN CAMPERS BRING THEIR CELL PHONE?
We believe that camp is a opportunity to disconnect from screens and connect with our peers. We want campers to develop strong social skills and we find that technology can sometimes get in the way. We have a strict no technology policy : no phones, ipads, computer, and the like.
IS FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?
Financial assistance is available to assist families who cannot otherwise afford camp. We raise money throughout the year for our Campership Fund to subsidize the tuition for these families. Applications are available online at registration.