Hi! I'm Michelle!
In addition to the human toll COVID-19 inflicted around the globe, small businesses have been hit hard and are struggling to make it. My favorite small business is among them. It's not your average small business ~ it's all heart! My friends and I are trying to raise money to help it get back on its feet to solid financial ground.
'Camp' Camp bills itself as America’s premier summer camp for LGBTQ adults, and has offered a fun and distinctive vacation for the LGBTQ community since 1997.
But, 'Camp' Camp is so much more than a vacation!
'Camp' Camp is an amazing intergenerational LGBTQ+ institution. The culture of Camp is all about community, support, providing a safe space for LGBTQ folx, and friendship.
2019 was Camp’s most successful year yet. Then COVID-19 struck, and, like so many other small businesses around the world, Camp had to think outside of the box and pivot to a whole new way of bringing our community together after nearly 25 years of operation.
Camp's Owners/Directors, Kerry Riffle & Betsy Orr ~ assisted by some of the talented people in the Camp community found that way, and brought us Virtual Camp last August, where we could safely gather while we were each tucked in our own bubbles. I think everyone was skeptical, but it was an amazing success! The profound importance of this community, a cornerstone of the Camp culture, was able to transcend the internet and Zoom! We found those safe spaces to support one another again, but also room for joy and laughter!
Virtual Camp's success then inspired 'Camp' Camp Plus , which allowed us to continue connecting with our buddies through the long, cold, dark winter via ongoing virtual programming between October & May.
Last summer, when 'Camp' Camp could not operate due to the pandemic, a number of Campers generously donated the funds they had already paid towards Camp 2020. This, along with the fees from Virtual Camp and 'Camp' Camp Plus, helped to offset the carrying costs to keep Camp operational over the past year.
When it was time to plan for Camp 2021, however, too much was still unknown, and too many of my fellow longtime Campers and I felt we could not gather safely in person, which made producing in-person Camp financially unviable this year. This, in turn, creates a hurdle of the ongoing carrying costs for which Camp is still on the hook in order to return in celebratory fashion in 2022. (This summer should technically, amazingly, be Camp's 25th season! Stupid COVID!)
To that end, we are launching this GoFundMe to help our favorite Small Business through the financial havoc COVID has wrought. We are off to a fantastic start! A few other longtime Camp folx and I have already pledged an initial $12,000, but we need your help to get to the finish line.
I hope you'll make a personally meaningful contribution, and share this with EVERYONE who will recognize the importance of community, of LGBTQ+ institutions, and keeping them thriving, especially ones that foster intergenerational connection and support!
In the meantime, registration for Virtual Camp opens in soon, early July! Come see what the fuss is all about! Join new friends and old!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This community is so much more than a vacation!
See you soon!
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- Melinda Burton
- Robert Brigham
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