Featured in the our June 2018 PRIDE month issue!
In the gorgeous hills of Southwestern Maine, approximately 45 miles west of Portland lies a mystical and magical fairy land. Inhabited by 200-250 people every August for the past 21 years, this land of enchantment is known simply as ‘Camp’ Camp. ‘Camp’ Camp has been America’s premier summer camp for LGBTQ adults since its inception in 1997. Yes, a summer camp where you can spend a week with other LGBTQ campers and actually make friends and have fun camping.
If you’ve ever gone to a sleep-away camp when you were younger, the structure of this camp won’t sound uncommon. Not only do they offer programs of great outdoor and athletic activities as well as interesting arts and craft options, they also offer a wide array of fun and entertaining evening social events. But this is NOT the same kind of camp that prompted your childhood nightmares!
This campground includes a theater, a small weight-training center, five tennis courts, a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, studios for crafts and performing arts, a climbing wall, adventure course, a large sports field and two sand beaches. As if that weren’t enough, all of these amenities surround the Main Lodge containing two levels of interior space and a massive stone fireplace where campers gather for meals and evening activities.
The Grand Poobah of ‘Camp’ Camp is none other than Kerry Riffle. Kerry has held a number of positions on the camp staff since it opened in 1997, including theatre instructor, rainbow group leader, staff training supervisor and now owner and director. 2018 will mark his 22nd year with ‘Camp’ Camp, thus giving him the dubious distinction of being one of only two people who has been at ‘Camp’ Camp every year since it began.
When asked what kind of people come to Camp, the answer is as varied as type of people who choose this all-inclusive LGBTQ vacation. Campers tend to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people who enjoy being active outdoors, playing sports and exploring their creative side. Most campers enjoy being around other people, even if they are intimidated by meeting lots of strangers, and camp tends to attract those who enjoy trying new things and challenging themselves.
If you’d like to enter this summer land of enchantment, the new season runs from August 19-26. For more information on ‘Camp’ Camp or to register, please visit or email them at [email protected]
By Bryan Lee