“Camp was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much (in a happy way). To be surrounded by other queer youth, and by queer adults who were happy and successful, in a completely judgement-free space was absolutely incredible. There is simply nothing else like it and I hope that as many other queer children as possible get to experience it.”
“This camp was my first ever summer camp because no other camp would accept me because they didn’t know who to room me with because I’m transgender. They couldn’t room me with “boys” because they said I was still “technically female” and they couldn’t room me with girls because well, obviously, I identify as a boy and look like society’s view of a boy. Brave Trails was the only camp where I could go and be completely myself. Before camp I would be afraid to be open about my trans identity and live my life in secret out of fear of people looking at me differently because of it but Brave Trails taught me to be proud of who I am and that I will always have people who support me no matter what. Brave Trails has prepared me to live in a world that’s not one hundred percent accepting but it also promises me that I’ll have a place to go home to where I know I’ll be accepted (which is something that every LGBTQ kid deserves to have). I hope (actually I know) this camp will grow into something amazing and become a home for so many growing lgbt kids in the future and I’m so proud to say that I participated in it the very first year. This camp has given me more accepting and understanding friends and people to look up to than I ever could’ve wished for. Everything about this camp was AMAZING and it kept surprising me EVERY day. All the counselors and staff were incredible and all the campers were so dedicated to learning leadership skills as well as being a friend to EVERY SINGLE PERSON they met while at camp. It was a judgement free zone. A place of acceptance. And exactly how I wish the world would actually be. I would do anything to just live in a community like this every day of my life but I can at least keep in contact with all the amazing people I met there until I get to go back home to Brave Trails next summer.”
S.M., Counselor In Training
“I was really nervous the days leading up to camp but everyone was so warm and inviting. I settled in within my first few hours there, and my time spent as a CIT was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done!!!”
“The experience I had at this camp was life changing. I met so many wonderful, kind, and truly devoted queer people with whom I still remain in contact with and plan to remain in contact with for years to come. The skills I gained from the camp prove extraordinarily helpful in life and the confidence I gained has empowered me to seek out challenges and experiences I may have not looked into before. Can’t wait to go back!”
“Brave trials was the first camp I ever went to, but it was also the best. Everyone there was just so kind and caring, it didn’t matter if you were friends or not! You didn’t have to live up to anyone’s unrealistic expectation of you, you could be completely and utterly yourself. I made such good friends there, that managed to be so important to me in such a small amount of time. I may not talk to them every day, but I know if I ever needed someone, they would be there for me. There was so much love and happiness, I can’t wait to go back and see my camp family.”
“Camp has truly been an amazing experience. Everyone was so amazing; from the staff, to the counselors, and especially my fellow campers. All of whom I now can safely call my dear friends. Camp is more than just a place to shoot arrows and sleep in a cabin, camp to me is family. Camp Brave Trails is my home and I love it so much.”
“Brave Trails was a camp I heard about through my GSA. The description of it did not include how many friends I would make, how true to myself I would be in such a loving environment, and how no judgement would enter this haven for LGBT+ people and our allies.”
“What most people call camp, I call home! It was such an amazing feeling being around others like me. Being able to express my true colors. Everyone and everything is fabulous!!!!”
“It’s been about 4 months since we left Brave Trails, and I have to say, it still hasn’t sunk in. From bonfires, to morning hikes, to staying up late chatting about Naters’s new sassy dance move, Brave Trails is more than just a camp. Take my word for it when I say you will meet some of the most down to earth, kind, and compassionate people you have ever come across at BT. Brave trails is not just a place for LGBT+ folk to come and chill. It’s a place to share ideas, educate and inform, but most of all, it’s a place where you will form some of the strongest bonds of your life. Why Brave Trails is so genius is the fact that we are making those bonds to last a lifetime, and simultaneously learning how to make a difference and work together. Brave Trails is here to make a difference!”
“I wanted to come to Brave Trails to gain better leadership skills for my GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) club. I also wanted to meet more people like myself.
Brave Trails helped me to love myself for who I am and that it only takes one person to start a change.
Since attending Brave Trails I have used the skills I learned from the workshops for my GSA club. I have also brought more awareness of the transgender community in Oklahoma.”
“My child had the greatest week of her life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
“My son absolutely loved it. He said he spent the last two days overcome by emotions and could not hold back the tears of friendship.”
“All I can say is thank you…. My son is a confident person now. Seems to be excited about helping others and his new found love of dance. I am so grateful he had the opportunity to attend camp brave trails . Such a blessing ! I know the friends he made at camp will be a terrific support system for him.”
“Where we live is not very open. My daughter has had a hard time making friends who understand her and she did not have the mentors to help her learn herself. She has me but I cannot relate but am 100% understanding, supportive, and willing to learn. At camp she made lifelong friends and found the mentors she needs to fill her life with all the support she has been missing. She came home with more confidence and awareness. I cannot wait to see how she continues to grow with all the new wonderful people in her life. I was happy to share my amazing daughter with Brave Trails Camp and so happy they shared themselves with her.”
“Brave trails is a sanctuary for our child. It is run by the most dedicated and caring young adults, who connect on a deep level with the campers and are committed to offer a real warm camp experience. Camp has boosted our child’s leadership skills to a new level, while at the same time allowing him to be his authentic self and grow strength through watching others do the same.”
“Parent (at the airport): “Oh my goodness, it’s so good to see you Honey! You look terrific; surely a testament to your experience there — you’re glowing!”
Child: “I had such a great time! Or, it could be the glitter bomb”
“My 15 year old daughter Emily came to me in April and said she found a camp on Instagram that she wanted to attend. She was immediately excited. I reviewed the website and we agreed it was a great opportunity. The only concern I had was sending my only child out of state on a plane to a location I had not been to, but I had confidence. I was further affirmed my confidence after several communications initiated by the Brave Trails family and leaders. They were kind, responsive, and clearly going out of their way to make sure I, as much as Emily, was comfortable and felt safe sending her to them.
Who could have imagined how well it went. I didn’t speak to her for a week, which was totally expected, but the minute I talked to her on the last day, she was beaming with excitement and immediately told me it had been the best week of her life.
I cannot tell you what a gift this was. We wish and hope for our children to be happy and accepted, but as a child in the LGBTQ community it is not a given in our culture….yet.
Brave Trails gives hope to a future of love and acceptance of everyone. No labels, no judgement – people seen for the wonderful and beautiful young people that they are.
Brave Trails is developing the leaders of our future. My daughter has not stopped talking about her life-changing week and she is living what she learned. She came home more confident, more passionate and completely connected to her Brave Trails family. A wonderful moment is when she told me she would rather spend any money she earns to have experiences and go visit her friends from Brave Trails, rather than buy possessions, what a gift this transition has been as she develops her character. As a parent, I am so thankful for a community that takes care of and loves your children as if they were their own. We love you Brave Trails!!!”
“I listened in astonishment as Palie talked on and on about Brave Trails; this from a kid who doesn’t string more than 50-100 sentences together on a “loud day.” Words cannot express what you’ve given Palie. You took a young adult and make him more himself. He felt like he belonged, like he’d found his tribe, like he was “normal’ for the first time. You have sent home a young person who is more confident, more aware, more Palie. I could not have asked for anything more. You provide a much-needed space for a group of kids to bond, to learn, to share, and to love. You are doing the world such a favor; what you do for these kids can’t be measured. There is no way to repay you, no “Thank You” big enough. I sent you a fragile soul, and you sent me back a warrior.”
“Like a butterfly emerging out of its cocoon my kid is undergoing tremendous change and growth in the two years we have had him and still continues to grow on his journey. His identity, sexual orientation, and gender identity has changed so much since being with us. We attribute a lot of his positive growth to Camp Brave Trails. He had been in the system all is life….13 different homes and discriminated against for being gay. He had serious behavior issues, poor grades, and been written off as a problem child. In the two years we have had him he has undergone tremendous growth. Being a child of trauma there has been lots of bumps in the road along the way but I can honestly say that he is emerging a strong and confident butterfly. Two honors classes, training to be a counselor, and hoping for a spot on the Volley ball team are all taking place just this month. Brave Trails has been a huge stepping stone on Jojo’s path. Brave Trails has shown Jojo that there are people out there that are like minded, have his similar fears, worries, hopes and dreams, and given total love and acceptance. Brave Trails is such a positive inspiration for teens. I wish there had been something like this for me growing up. I recommend your camp to all that I can. I can say that Camp Brave Trails is more than a camp. It is a bright beacon of hope for those that are lost or can’t find their way. Camp Brave Trails is a life preserver to those drowning in the hostility of life. Camp Brave Trails is a life altering place where kids like Jojo can go to and know that they are fabulous just the way they are. Camp Brave Trails had a huge role in shaping my sons life. Camp Brave Trails is the cocoon where our children emerge butterflies.”