My name is Gabriel Hooghuis, I'm a camp counselor at an exceptional summer camp located in the Adironack Mountains called Unirondack. Camp Unirondack is a very special kind of summer camp. Each week we work with a different age group of kids. On Sunday our first group of campers will be arriving and they range in age from eight to twelve. By the last week in August we'll be welcoming our last group of campers, ages sixteen through eighteen. Some of the reasons our camp is so unique and special are because we do not have a dress code for our staff or our campers because we believe in value of freedom of expression. The camp is also entirely drug free and embraces all religions and spiritualities. We currently have three openly trans-identified staff members. For our older campers, we even have condoms available if they want or need them.
Yesterday after talking with the camp director and several other members of the staff, we realized what a wonderful resource it would be for our camp if we had a binder exchange program in place. Each night at camp we run a program called Alphabet Soup which is open to all of our campers and staff. It's a nightly discussion about issues surrounding gender and sexuality. We thought it would be great if we could find binders for some of our campers who are exploring their gender. Some of the binders would be used for experimentation on how someone could alter their body; some campers who identify as trans/gender-non-conforming would be able to keep the binders. Depending on how the program goes at then end of the summer any left over binders will be donated or kept for future use.
If you don't have a binder you can part with, there's still a way you can help. Feel free to send me emails (gabehooghuis[at]gmail[dot]com) about something you wish someone had said to you about gender when you were between 8-18 years old.
Any support you can offer these kids and teens will . Please send donations to:
ATTN: Gabriel Hooghuis/Binders
8722 Unirondack Road
Lowville, NY 13367