CampOUT LGBTQ-Centered Summer Camp Returns to Central Massachusetts

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Photo courtesy of The Farm School.
Photo courtesy of The Farm School.

CampOUT at the Farm School, a week-long summer camp for LGBTQ youth and youth from LGBTQ families, is back in Central Massachusetts after a break of 10 years. This week-long summer camp was founded in 2000 and went on hiatus after 2014—but this summer, it will again offer young people a place to have fun and be themselves in a welcoming and inclusive community. Registration is now open and "camperships" are available to help with financial need.

Emmy Howe, a long-time educator, social justice leader, and queer mother, created CampOUT after her own kids had been to a different camp for children from LGBTQ families and sought something similar closer to home. Queer parents often chose CampOUT for their kids' first overnight camp, "because they knew the staff was prepared to be inclusive," she said in an interview. Many campers came for several years in a row. While the early years were focused on families with LGBTQ parents, the camp now also welcomes LGBTQ and gender-expansive youth from all types of families.

Howe was eager to bring CampOUT back, she said, because "Now it feels like there's a lot more need. There's so much vitriol in the world and in the zeitgeist of schools." CampOUT, in contrast, offers young people a place to come "and not worry about being judged for their family or themselves."

This summer, Howe is collaborating on CampOUT programming with alums of the program, including her now-grown trans son Puja, who also leads afterschool and summer programming for trans and nonbinary youth in Cambridge, Mass.

CampOUT will be held at the Farm School in Central Massachusetts. (Don't confuse it with the Michigan-based CampOut Family Camp for LGBTQ families, which began in 2015.) While the Farm School offers several other programs for young people, the CampOUT week will be exclusive to LGBTQ youth and those from LGBTQ families. When registering, campers can indicate their cabin preference: Gender Free, Female Identifying, or Male Identifying.

The Farm School covers 130 acres of open land and woods, and includes both extensive gardens and a variety of farm animals. Campers get to be members of the farm community and share in the fun of summer program activities, including farm work and arts. The staff is diverse in gender and race, and includes several nonbinary staffers.

"Our CampOUT session is at harvest time so almost all the food we eat will be from the farm," Howe noted. "Kids are able to look at the food they eat in a new way and look at themselves in a new way."

Beyond the farm work, she added, "It's about creating a space that's safe and kind and growing these kids inside and outside."

The program runs Monday, August 19 to Friday, August 23, 2024. Drop off will be 10 a.m. on Monday, with pick-up at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Campers must be ages 9 to 14 as of August 19, 2024. Youth ages 15 to 19 years old as of that date may apply to be Counselors in Training.

Tuition is $1,000 for the session, but Howe says they have "huge scholarship capacity." The minimum fee will be $100 per participant. When applying, interested families should state their financial need and note they are seeking a campership.

Visit or for more information and to register.

Disclosure: This reporter worked for Howe at a different organization for eight years and is currently consulting with her on a project unrelated to CampOUT.