Retreat Helps LGBT2Q+ Kids Build Confidence

Written on 07/12/2021
Staff Columnist

Jamie Headrick joined 'Camp Eclipse' as soon as they found the LGBTQ safe space — CBC News reported.

Headrick uses the pronouns "they," told CBC News. After coming out in junior high, they struggled to find a safe space where they could be themself — until they discovered Camp Eclipse.

"Going to camp and being around people who were like me, people who already sort of get it, was just such a nice relaxing thought," Headrick said Monday on The St. John's Morning Show.

The in-the-woods four-day retreat is orchestrated by YWCA St. John's and Planned Parenthood Newfoundland and Labrador. LGBTQ youth from age 16 to 24 partake in recreational activities and exercises that discuss gender and sexual diversity topics. Some other topics discussed are creating safer schools and how to support other youth in coming out.

Camp Eclipse is an overnight retreat at Burry Heights on Salmonier Line in Newfoundland.

Nikki Baldwin, the executive director of Planned Parenthood, said the camp will be implementing COVID-19 protocols in order to go back to being an overnight camp. In 2020 it was only able to operate as a day camp due to COVID-19.

The organizers are recruiting multicultural people ages 25 and up.

"You just have to be able to give," Baldwin told CBC News. "If you think you have something to offer them, we're willing to hear about it."

Headrick first attended camp at age 16 and describes their experience at the retreat as 'absolutely beautiful.'

They added that spending time with other LGBTQ youth and mentors gave them faith in becoming a role model within their own community.

"You manage to develop the confidence and the leadership skills to the point where, when you leave, I feel that you really have kind of a safe space within yourself," Headrick explained.

LGBTQ youth often feel as though they need to hide who they are, but Headrick motivates them to join the welcoming atmosphere at Camp Eclipse.

"No matter who you are, Camp Eclipse is for you, and there is a space for you," Headrick said. "You really find a place to be yourself."

Apply for Camp Eclipse here.

(Image Credit: Camp Eclipse)