Family / Kids / Parenting

TGIF Video: Camp It Up! In double-whammy video goodness!

At the risk of implying that all LGBTQ families are guitar-strumming, happy campers, here: guitar-strumming, happy gay campers!  Below, feast your eyes on a short video by and about the queer family camp my family attended last week. And since I missed the Friday video last week (camping it up), brace yourself for a double video header.

 

[VIDEO CREDIT: CAMP IT UP! / HUNGRY MIND RECORDINGS, INC.]

 

Camp It Up! began 24 years ago, and its founder Jill Rose, as is often the case with cultural institution founders, is  a force of nature. But though this world is catalyzed by her (big bang!),  its growth and ongoing success is a result of experiences like this being very much what many of us need, when we need it. It helps when they are well-conceived and run with the right combination of heart and mind, too. (Watch this space in the future for a comprehensive queer-friendly summer camp review: there aren’t a ton, but the ones out there are mighty and you need to know about them!)

Me, objective? Nope! I drank the Kool-Aid last week (okay it was lemonade) and I’m sold!  I walked into camp, saw a shiteload of other short-haired, low-slung jeans-wearin’, could be mistaken for a man from behind kinda parents (most women, some men), and thought: I’m in hog heaven! I basically felt like my dog did the first time I took her to the ginormous leash-free dog park along the San Francisco Bay. (“You mean I’m not the only one? And I can run free, without a leash and without fear of reprisal? And also splash in that water right there and track mud all over the place? OMG OMG OMG.”) Difference between my dog and me: she didn’t pee into her sock with excitement, because she didn’t wear socks.

Our kids spent the whole time at camp not being the only ones with two women as parents, but instead being cheek and jowl with dozens upon dozens of ’em. Along with kids with two dads, or one cisgendered parent and one trans parent.  Many with parents the same race as themselves. Many with parents of different races than themselves. The works. All these kids’ main fret: would there be enough money  left on their open ice cream tab at the camp store? Or do they need to go back to the Parent In Charge and ask to up the ante.

And their camp counselors? Teens and young adults who either had two moms or two dads and grew up with this camp, or were queer themselves, or both. One beloved former babysitter of ours was one such queer teen who gravitated there as a counselor. They made the following rockin anti-Prop 8 video at camp the summer of 2008 as proof of their rockin’ young queer and queer-friendly selves:

 

[VIDEO CREDIT: CHIAH PRESENTS]

The guy who uploaded this (either a counselor or a camper, I don’t know which he is) was the one who said his mom is “HELLA gay.” See what I’m saying about the Kool-Aid? It’s inter-frickin-generational, people!

Note #1: this is just one lesbian dad’s fever-dream of community. Lots of other people are either camp-phobic or way cooler than me or perhaps both. Ahem.

Note #2: Listen close to the lyrics of the song in the top video, one of a gajillion Jill Rose has written (she writes a new one for every year). When it’s sung at camp shows, all the kids basically stream down onto the stage and sing along. Including my daughter, who’d heard it just a few times and memorized it more or less instantaneously. Here are the first few stanzas, to give you a hint:

A family can be two or three, any shape or size
Two moms, one dad, one kid or four
If you realize that what matters, is the time you spend
What matters is the hurt you mend
A family’s any shape or size

The lyric that gets me all verklempt, though, is the one that they also now sell on T-shirts and sweatshirts, one of which is sported by the gorilla below:

If your family’s kinda different
Let the difference make you strong
The courage to be who you are
Will last your whole life long

Gulp.

campitupgorilla2

 

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7 Comments

  1. “If your family’s kinda different
    Let the difference make you strong
    The courage to be who you are
    Will last your whole life long”

    Sniffle. Indeed.

  2. I’m really happy for you, Polly. I’m glad that you had a blast and that the kool-aid was delicious.

  3. Sounds like you guys had an amazing time! With the kidlets getting ready to start school for the first time in a few short weeks I’m really feeling the lack of community and right about now I’d give just about anything for a week at a camp like that to bolster my spirits. As for that last lyric, I vote somebody comes up with that happy-weepy emoticon you mentioned.

  4. Pingback: Camp It Up! | Lesbian Dad

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