Transcending Adolescence has created a summer camp program for transgender youth to have a safe space to connect with each other and receive support from a staff of trained camp counselors at a newly renovated property in Central Florida.
Through outdoor activities like archery, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, swimming, campfires and more, pre-teens and teens will build their confidence and communication skills while they have fun experiencing summer camp in a physically, mentally and emotionally safe environment.
Throughout the session TA staff build relationships campers to recognize their strengths and to encourage campers to recognize their own strengths as well. Staff will help campers understand how to use their strengths to build confidence, look at life less fearfully and make positive changes to lead to long-term success.
TA staff are committed to creating an environment where youth feel safe to express their feelings and freely be who they are.
The increase in legislative attacks on trans youth such as the "don't say gay" bill and sports bans are not only eliminating young people's ability to be their authentic selves, but creating barriers for them to live healthier, happier lives. This also impedes their ability to partake in out door recreation authentically.
The program our team has built has exceeded the expectations of our board's original program, vision, and goals. In addition to traditional camp activities such as archery, rock climbing, boating, swimming, and team building activities, we have partnered with California State Polytechnic University Humboldt students who have designed and led an outdoor backpacking expedition. During this expedition, youth have the opportunity to learn basic survival and backpacking skills leaving them feeling empowered with new knowledge and experience.
One of our main goals is assisting in helping the campers focus on identifying and building upon existing strengths. At the end of each day, participants will be encouraged to engage in group stress reducing conversations with mental health professionals from various universities and organizations across the nation. During these conversations, the mental health professionals assist the youth in reflecting on the activities of the day, identifying challenges, and translate the challenges into resilience. Additional topics of discussion include:
Social and medical transition
Anxiety and depression
Handling misgendering and transphobia
Campers are free to share thoughts on all topics in a safe and nurturing environment among mental health professionals and their peers.
The "s" in s.p.e.a.r.
Support is one of the most important of TA's Resilience Retreat 5 pillar curriculum. We feel it is crucial to have access to support systems both during and after retreat sessions.
Thanks to our partnership with the Trans Mentor Project piloted by the Sam Devorah Foundation, Resilience Retreat attendees can keep in touch with their TARR community via TMP’s completely virtual and safely monitored hangout platform created exclusively for TARR attendees.
Trans Mentor Project is a national e-mentoring program that pairs trans and nonbinary teens and young adults (13-24 years) with TGNB adult mentors (23+ years). TMP provides mentees with supportive, identity-affirming mentors who will empower them to meet their personal goals and thrive.
In addition to providing year ‘round access to the community formed at TARR, campers have the option to engage in weekly one-to-one video meetups and have the opportunity to interact with other trans and nonbinary peers across the country through themed discussion groups, workshops, panel discussions, and guest presentations.
Check out what our friends at Trans Mentor Project are doing to help you stay in touch with others from Transcending Adolescence. This is a great opportunity to create friendships with other trans and nonbinary (TGNB) peers nationwide.
For more information and to apply to be a mentor or mentee please visit their website using the link below.