New York’s LGBTQ+ youth have a new summer camp that they can call home. For one week in August, nearly 20 campers ages 12-16 will participate in the inaugural summer of Camp Ga’avah, which means “Pride” in Hebrew.
Run by The Friedberg JCC and supported by UJA-Federation of New York, Camp Ga’avah is situated on beautiful camping grounds on Long Island. It provides a safe place for youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities to build strong relationships and confidence, as well as to learn skills to better navigate their individual journeys. The camp features all the expected camp activities — including such favorites as swimming, drama, arts and crafts and sports, but also offers programming designed especially for LGBTQ+ youth including support groups, leadership training and counseling.
“We looked to our Jewish values of inclusivity and community to build and support Camp Ga’avah,” says Hana Gruenberg, managing director of the Jewish Life department at UJA. “We think these campers will thrive in this environment, with peers and staff who relate and understand differences related to gender identity and orientation. Our hope is that they will make lifelong friends who they can always turn to as they share life experiences.”
Among the amenities at Camp Ga’avah: gender neutral bathrooms and changing areas, counselors and directors who identify as LGBTQ+, or individuals who already have a background working with LGBTQ+ youth. Together, UJA and the Friedberg JCC are steadfast in their commitment to provide rewarding camp experiences that address the diverse needs of the entire community. Supporting the largest Jewish day camp system in North America, other specialty camps include a unique camp for children and teens with disabilities, and another for children with cancer and their siblings.
“We’re hoping very much that it’s successful and we can bring it to our other campgrounds in Staten Island and Rockland County as well,” Gruenberg concluded.
Last modified: July 2, 2018