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Our Mission & Story

Our Mission

Our mission at Transcending Adolescence is to empower and build resilience amongst trans and gender diverse youth, giving them the confidence and skills they need not only to survive, but to thrive, through retreats designed around the principles of SPEAR — Support, Physical Recreation, Empowerment, Advocacy, and Reflection.

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"Somewhere along the line I developed coping skills that turned me into a happy and proud transgender adult instead of a scared, insecure trans adolescent. These are things I’m hoping to share with the youth that decide to be a part of our program. I always knew that my greater purpose in life was to help others…It was my recent time volunteering at a summer camp for transgender youth that I realized where I want to focus my efforts."

— Christina Guiriba (She/ Her), founder of Transcending Adolescence

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Our Story

Every story has a beginning, and ours started in Jacksonville, Florida. Christina Guiriba founded Transcending Adolescence in 2019 with the goal of sharing the resources, coping skills and healing tools that have helped her live with confidence and fulfillment as a trans woman of color in the South. 

 

Since the nonprofit’s establishment, Christina has leveraged her vast networks across Florida, the southeast and country at large to gather a volunteer board of directors and leadership team that are trans or trans-allied and recruit participants for Transcending Adolescence’s Resilience Retreats. The first retreat, held in June 2022, had 15 active participants. 

 

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Transcending Adolescence is dedicated to providing trans youth with the essential mental strength, knowledge, and coping skills required to navigate their unique transitions. We’re proud to promote forward movement to help TGNB adolescents cope with the inevitable challenges they will face within our society and within themselves.

Our Guiding Principles

SPEAR — Support, Physical recreation, Education, Advocacy and Reflection — is the foundation for everything we do at TA and provides the guiding principles of our programs. Our Guiding Principles were founded upon the experiences of our founder’s lived experience as a trans woman of color in the South.

SUPPORT


There’s strength in support, especially when LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. That’s why our volunteers are in place to support youth during a time that might be difficult for them. We aim to create a caring environment where staff and volunteers are committed to the safety and well-being of each and every program participant. Our goal is for youth to find support in the counselors, leadership team and most importantly, each other. But, the comradery doesn’t end when a retreat finishes: Campers can continue to receive support from their peers and TA Leadership even after camp is over. 

PHYSICAL RECREATION


Keeping physically active is one of many keys to maintaining good physical and mental health while reducing stress, anxiety, and many physical health conditions. Physical recreation sets a foundation for a healthy future — especially with the challenges of being trans in sports and outdoor programs. At TA, we believe in the power of physical recreation, which is why we pack every day with tons of fun activities for all ages and abilities. We create a brave space where TGNB young people can push themselves to step outside of their comfort zones with the support of their peers and our dedicated team of volunteers. Campers are introduced to a variety of physical recreation activities such as dancing, yoga, rock climbing, backpacking and many others which they can continue to participate in after our retreats end.

EMPOWERMENT


Empowering adolescents is our goal. Transcending Adolescence volunteers and participants will continuously empower youth by identifying strengths and raising self awareness, creating a strengths-based program that celebrates achievement in a supportive community. Teens will see that they can achieve goals they set their mind to whether it is learning how to ride a mountain bike, getting to the top of the rock wall, or going swimming for the first time.

ADVOCACY


Campers develop skills to advocate for themselves and for others. We will also help campers’ support systems become better advocates as well. Teens will learn ways to speak up for their rights, advance their goals, and live without preconceived notions. At TA, we utilize our vast network of TGNB professionals, community members and volunteers to create workshops that help empower our teens. From activities such as creating positivity jars — an activity created by one of our former campers, now Junior Counselor — to youth directed conversations with TGNB medical and legal professionals, our program participants will gain the tools they need to better advocate for themselves and their community. Everything we do is rooted in advocacy for our participants and all transgender and gender-diverse youth.

REFLECTION

 

We encourage campers to reflect not just on their experiences at camp, but also on themselves and their thoughts to enhance self-awareness and promote personal growth. Through Campfire Convos — nightly youth guided stress reducing conversations led by our incredible team of TGNB mental health professionals — program participants will discuss and collaborate with their peers to help each other process their experiences with support from our staff in a positive and enlightening environment.

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A Tight-Knit Community

Transcending Adolescence’s esteemed Board of Directors, partners, and a leadership team have critical experience facilitating mental and behavioral health programs, as well as recreation programs. This knowledge enables us to offer robust, evidence-based curricula to both youth participants and the healthcare workers we train, while engaging knowledgeable volunteers to support our programming.

Our Commitment

The rise in bans on gender affirming healthcare, trans participation in sports and the proliferation of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, like Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, is eroding young people's freedom to express their true selves, creating barriers to living healthy and happy lives. These barriers extend to outdoor activities, education, healthcare and beyond. While we remain steadfast in our mission, we also recognize the impact of this surge in hatred, violence and discrimination on youth. 

 

In the face of these challenges, it is imperative that we continue to advocate for inclusivity and support, ensuring that all young people can thrive, embrace their authentic selves and contribute towards a brighter, more equitable future for everyone. We’re committed to supporting all members of our community in creative, impactful ways. That’s why we organize camps and retreats designed to support TGNB teens in fostering new friendships and strengthening their self-esteem.

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