Campers describe Brave Trails as “a home away from home” and their “favorite place on earth.” Every day is at camp is full of adventure, laughing, new friends, and personal growth. All while being surrounded by LGBTQ identified role models and supportive peers that celebrate each camper for who they are.
What makes us special is that we are a leadership focused summer camp. This means our campers spend every day learning about their potential to make change in their communities and grow as an individual.
Want to learn more about the exciting activities and leadership workshops we offer at camp? Click Here.
Explore the topics below to learn more about us!
Wondering if Camp Brave Trails if right for you? Here is some information that might help.
We welcome campers of various leadership levels, as long as they have a strong desire to grow and learn how to create positive change in their community. At camp, we have shy campers, outgoing campers, confident leaders, and campers who are just starting their leadership journey. If you have any questions about camp, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help!
What should I expect at camp?
- Daily leadership focused workshops and projects to help campers become the leaders of tomorrow.
- A safe, welcoming space for LGBTQ+ youth to be exactly who they are and explore their identity.
- A highly social environment designed to promote peer-to-peer community building.
- Tons of fun programs to choose from every day! Plus dances, games, hang-outs, and endless camp spirit (yup, we are LOUD and PROUD at BT).
- A high expectation of maturity, kindness, and compassion.
- A totally electronics free environment. Unplugging = More friends and memories!
- A break from city life in gorgeous, forest, mountain, outdoor settings.
If all of that sounds good, camp is probably a good fit for you!
We strive to make camp as accessible as possible to all LGBTQ+ youth. As such, we are proud to share that we will award over $50,000 in scholarships to campers in need in 2020! Applicants should know that there is a $20 non-refundable application fee to confirm your commitment when you submit your application.
(Without Financial Aid)
|Session 1: California (Two Week)
Session is FULL – Click here to join the wait list.
|June 20 – July 3, 2020||$2100|
|Session 2: California (One Week)
Session is FULL – Click here to join the wait list.
|July 8 – July 14, 2020||$1050|
|Session 3: California (Two Week)
Session is FULL – Click here to join the wait list.
|July 19 – August 1, 2020||$2100|
|Session 4: Maryland (10 Days)||August 11- August 20, 2020||$1500|
What Does Tuition include?
- Bus Transportation (LAX/BWI or LA Bus) **NEW THIS YEAR!**
- All meals & snacks
- Program Materials & Leadership Training Classes/Activities
- On-site Medical Team and Center
- Staffing Costs
- A camp t-shirt & Lanyard
- So much more!
Fundraising opportunities & financial assistance are available to families in need. Please see the "Financial Assistance & Fundraising" section for more information.
We never want money to be the reason a camper can't attend camp.
We strive to be as equitable and accessible as possible to all families. In 2019, we proudly awarded over $45,000 in camp scholarships to 52 amazing campers. Our scholarships are limited and awarded on a first come, first serves and needs basis. If you are interested in applying for financial aid, we suggest to apply as soon as possible as our funds run out quickly. Additionally, we offer great fundraising tools, which many of our campers have raised their full tuition cost with!
How do I apply for financial aid?
The financial aid application is part of the general camp application. Please fill out the camp application and the financial aid form fully, including the $20 application fee. Once received, our staff will determine your eligibility and award amount based on your household income and family need.
We do not give any "free weeks", only partial scholarships. Brave Trails does NOT assist with airfare or cost of travel to camp.
Youth, ages 12-18, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and their allies are welcome at Camp Brave Trails! We welcome campers from all over the country and internationally.
Camp Brave Trails is a leadership focused summer camp and we look for campers of all leadership levels who have an interest in making their community and the world a better place.
First: The prospective camper will fill out an application and submit a $20 non-refundable application fee. Only applications that are complete and accompanied by the application fee will be processed.
Second: After reviewing the prospective camper's application, we will move forward with scheduling a camper interview. Interviews are informal and even fun! It will take place on the phone or Skype. The purpose of the interview is to learn more about the camper's leadership aspirations and to make sure the camper understands the commitment of attending LGBTQ leadership camp. This is also a great time to get to know the Brave Trails staff a little better and ask us any questions you may have.
Third: After the interview, campers are selected by a committee of staff based on their application and interview. We choose a wide variety of campers from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in developing their leadership skills (regardless of previous experience) and meeting mentors and peers who share a similar experience and aspirations.
Finally: If the camper, family, and Brave Trails feel that camp is a good fit, we will email the camper and family a formal acceptance letter. The letter will contain next steps, such as filling out paperwork, making payments, packing info, and more!
We hope to see your application soon!
What does it mean to be accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA)?
The ACA accreditation process is a commitment by camps to the highest standards of health, safety, and program quality. This means we meet over 250 standards in health, safety, staffing, training, and transportation verified by the ACA on a regular basis. At Brave Trails, we are committed to providing the highest level of safety and fun to our camper and their families. We are proud to be an accredited camp!
Learn more here: https://www.bravetrails.org/about/aca-accredited/
Our California camp is located just outside of Los Angeles, CA, in the pines of the Angeles National Forest.
Our Maryland camp is located in the gorgeous, historic Catoctin Mountains of western, MD.
While at camp, all meals are included in tuition. Our kitchen staff takes pride in delivering nutritious meal that keep our campers and staff going throughout day. Campers enjoy three balanced meals per day, along with snacks and special treats! We honor vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free food restrictions but require proper notice for appropriate planning.
Breakfast: Pancakes, sausage (chicken or veggie), fruit & yogurt bar, and orange juice. Every morning we have a cereal bar, milk, and a fruit assortment available.
Lunch: Veggi & turkey paninis, soup, and a salad bar is available every day.
Dinner: Tacos (veggi & chicken) with all the toppings, rice, beans, and a salad bar is available for dinner every evening. For dessert churros!
Campers will stay in bunk style cabins along with 8-10 peers and two adult counselors sleeping in each cabin for support and safety. We divide campers in to cabin groups by age; we never divide campers by gender identity/expression. There are plenty of bathrooms, showers, and personal hygiene facilities, complete with privacy for maximum comfort.
Camp Brave Trails provides transportation via bus at select pick-up/drop-off areas only, as part of tuition, no extra charge! Pick-up and Drop off areas are typically: Montrose Park in Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI). Please see your camp handbook for specific times and dates.
Campers flying in and planning to use our transportation services must arrive and depart from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) during the times specified in the Camper/Family Handbook. Staff will be at each terminal during the time slots to gather and escort campers to and from the shuttles.
Campers and families will receive a detailed Camper/Family Handbook, containing information you need to know regarding location and transportation options, upon admission in to camp.
In the event Brave Trails provides transportation for a camper to an urgent care or hospital facility, there is a $25 mileage and staffing fee. In the event Brave Trails provides transportation for a camper to an airport due to early departure, there is a $150 mileage and staffing fee.
Having an amazing staff means our campers have an amazing summer! As such, our directors dedicate a lot of time and energy to assembling a diverse and multifaceted group of professionals for our staff team. We choose dedicated, knowledgeable and nurturing mentors who have a great interest in helping youth become confident and empowered LGBTQ leaders. Every staff member at camp has undergone an extensive application, interview, and background check process. Our team is complete with medical staff, therapists, lifeguard, teachers, working professionals, and many more experienced professionals. The average age of our staff is 27. Many staff members return to camp each summer from all around the country and even internationally.
The goal at camp is to make new friends, try new things and grow as a leader. That's pretty tough to do if you’re on social media or texting and calling friends all the time. We want our campers to be focused and present for their camp experience. As such, we do not allow anything with a screen at camp (phones, smart devices, gaming devices, music players, etc.).
Please leave your cell phone and electronics at home or they will be confiscated at camp. Exceptions are made for campers flying in from other parts of the country; their phones will be collected upon arrival at camp and kept safe until their departure. Small point & shoot cameras are okay as long as they do not connect to the Internet, but we suggest you leave them at home as they could get lost or damaged. We will have photographers at camp taking pictures for you to cherish when camp is over.
At camp, we have two medical staff on-site 24/7 to provide basic care and first aid to campers and staff. Anything beyond basic care will be directed to the nearest urgent care or hospital. All campers must have heath insurance to attend camp.
We do our very best to accommodate campers with physical disabilities to the extent allotted by our resources and facility. If your child has a disability, please be as honest and detailed as possible with our staff (ahead of time) so we can make the necessary arrangements to make your camper's stay with us comfortable. We highly recommend giving us a call before applying for camp if are unsure whether our camp is a good fit for your camper.
Regardless of the positive and empowering nature of camp, it can be an emotionally and physically demanding experience. Camp Brave Trials is not a therapy camp and campers should be in a stable emotional/mental state before coming to camp. Campers should be prepared and excited for very loud, energetic, and highly social environments, with little alone time. If the camper is highly uncomfortable with social environments or uneasy around a lot of noise and people, our camp is likely not the a fit.
Camp Brave Trials is a leadership focused program and much of what we discuss revolves around social justice and activist related subjects. Campers should be aware that we do discuss topics related to mental health, race, body image, environmentalist, injustice, LGBTQ related issues, and other related topics. Campers who are distressed by such topics may have a hard time at camp and should talk to a director before applying to discuss.
If the camper shows signs of or is experiencing high levels of mental and/or emotional distress, has a known serious mental disorder, and/or is hospitalized before camp, please contact a director to discuss before applying and together we can assess if our camp is the right fit your camper. While camp can be an uplifting experience, it should not be use a form of treatment for mental health disorders.
We do our very best to accommodate campers with special needs, withing reason and capability. That said, we expect all campers who apply for camp to be in a stable mental state and be able to perform all essential functions of living at camp for themself. This includes: walking, bathing, eating, dressing/undressing, following directions, etc. If your camper has a special need, please call a director to discuss what type of support we are able to offer at camp.
While at camp, there will be least one medical and mental health staff on site at all times. Our medical center is equipped with the necessary materials to provide basic first aid and treat basic illnesses. ..........................................................
Physical Health Needs
Mental Health Needs
In light of COVID-19 we have extended our refund policy to give you optimal time to decided if camp is right for your family this summer. We want camp to be the least of your worries right now, so feel free to register and you can have a refund until June 1, 2020, minus the $20 non-refundable application fee and a $40 credit card processing fee.
Updated Refund Policy (Active as of March 17, 2020)
Your $20 application fee is non-refundable, including applications to be added to the Waiting List and camper who are not accepted to camp.
We carefully plan each session of camp for maximum fun. We understand that your schedule may change but our staffing and meal arrangements are finalized based on projected attendance.
Credit and debit card is the only form of payment accepted by Camp Brave Trails, unless you are paying the entire amount of tuition upfront or are an international camper paying with a money order. The balance of camp tuition will be automatically charged to the card on file one month prior to the camper's camp start date. Families can have a refund up until June 1, 2020, minus the $20 non-refundable application fee and a $40 credit card processing fee. After June 1, 2020, there will be no fee reduction or reimbursement for absences from camp due to illness, injury, homesickness, dismissal from camp, voluntary withdrawal, family emergencies, vacation, summer school, unexpected visits from relatives, unhappiness with the program, or for any other reason. There will be no fee reduction or reimbursement for changes in programing on our part. All decisions to change programming are made with the best interest of the camper’s safety and experience in mind. If your family chooses to drop from camp after the no refund date, you have the option of banking your tuition funds until the next year or donating your tuition funds to our camper scholarship fund.
In the event that a camper is dismissed, removed, or leaves camp early for any reason (poor behavior, homesickness, illness, injury, etc.), the camper's family is 100% financially responsible for any cost associated with exiting the camper from camp within 24 hours. The family is 100% responsible for arranging transportation, purchasing tickets (plane, bus, train etc.), and costs associated with pick-up & drop-off (airport drop-off, taxi, etc). If the camper is flying home, arrangements must be made out of Burbank Airport, LAX, or BWI (during Maryland camp). If Brave Trails is able to provide transportation to the airport for early departure, there is a $150 staffing & mileage fee (to be paid before the ride is given). Camp Brave Trails will not issue any refund for dismissal, removal, or leaving early from camp for any reason.
Camp Brave Trails admits through an application process. This means that not all campers who apply will be admitted. Camp Brave Trails is a leadership specific summer camp and we look for campers who have a great interest in activism and leadership skill development. We choose a wide variety of campers from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in developing their leadership skills and meeting people who share a similar experience. Campers are chosen based on their application and interview.
We gladly welcome out-of-state and international campers!
Last summer, we welcomed campers from 30 different states and 9 countries! We make traveling to camp as seamless as possible for our families. Transportation to and from Los Angeles International Airport or Baltimore Washington International Airport is provided. We will tell you exactly when your camper should land/depart and our staff escort them to & from their terminals.