Summer camp was not part of my childhood experience. For Adam, it was. Every summer, for four weeks, Adam attended Greenwoods Camp in Decatur, Michigan. Camp consisted of kayaking, canoeing, eating s’mores, and building bonds with new and old friends. A couple of weeks ago, after more than fifteen years, Adam revisited Greenwoods Camp. This time, instead of visiting as a camper, Adam visited as a gay dad.
Traditionally, Greenwoods Camp hosts two, four, or eight-week overnight programs for children ages 7-15. They also host Family Camp, an overnight camp experience for campers and their families. Last year, for the 2016 season, Greenwoods Camp added an additional family-oriented program to their list: CampOut, an overnight camp for LGBT parents and their children. CampOut congregated for the first time in August 2016, around the same time Silas was born. We were still immersed with the joys and challenges of having a new child, and ultimately, we decided to opt out of CampOut that year.
This summer, with Silas being old enough, our family was finally able to experience CampOut. Adam was ecstatic about revisiting his childhood memories and sharing those memories with our children. I’ll be honest- I’m not an “outdoorsy” type of person. Camp, bluntly put, didn’t appeal to me. And yet, my level of excitement, of anticipation, matched Adam’s. This camp experience wasn’t about water sports, bug spray, or bunk beds; it was about understanding my husband’s favorite memories; it was about my children and about them having a childhood that surpasses my own; it was about acceptance and progress. CampOut is more than camp- it’s validation. It’s proof that even when we feel the most alone, we’re not alone, not even a little bit.