Camp Scarleteam 2018: Burton or Bust!

Well, hello everybody! It’s Heather, founder and director of Scarleteen, and Al, your friendly neighborhood sex educator and volunteer camp leader, here to make a quick ask for your support in a thing that helps keep our team doing all the good work that we do.

We've made two whole trips around the sun since we started planning our very first inaugural Camp Scarleteam in 2016! As a result of our last two retreats, we’ve been able to create lasting memories, traditions, and opportunities for our team to review our progress, recommit to our values, celebrate our accomplishments, bond with each other and come up with some great new ideas and work.

This year we'll be having our retreat at Camp Burton, a beautiful multi-use facility that will allow us to sleep, eat, work, and play together, all in one fantastic, natural setting. The cost of lodging and meals for the four nights and five days of the retreat at Camp Burton is about $150 per day per person. With ten of our team members attending, that's $7500 in costs at the most basic level, excluding the cost of transportation for any of our volunteers, some of whom are coming from very far away.

We’re looking for some help from you so we can raise around $10,000 to cover the costs of camp for everyone.

If you already know you’re in for this, thank you! You’re so awesome! You can click over here to give us a hand right this very second. Or read on, you happy campers.

Camp doesn’t have the exact same value or benefit for all of us, but for me -- Al, here -- camp means getting out of my tiny apartment, out of my busy city, and out of my head for a little bit. It means meeting up with a group of people that I work with all year long, but rarely ever get to see face to face. It feels like coming back home to family that I know will love and value my authentic self, hairy legs and all. It looks like reuniting physically and figuratively over the things that bring us together; a passion for youth, education, identity, and all things relationships and sexuality.

As director -- Heather at the wheel now -- I think camp offers myself and the rest of the team so much, all of it incredibly important, even the silly bits. It allows me the chance to help guide the whole team into the kind of creative work I often have done alone or only with them remotely; being in person in a relaxed environment over several days together really feeds our heads and hearts and gives us the perfect space to come up with some amazing new ideas together. I can fill everyone in on where the organization stands, and where I want to see it going, easily and with a lot of input. group teach sign languageI can better get to know them and see how they might work together in new ways. I can do a lot of listening, which really benefits me as the older leader of a team composed almost entirely of young people for work that serves young people. We all also get a place to restore and recharge, which anyone who does this kind of work needs to keep doing it well and care for themselves. More selfishly, I get to bring a team I care about and value so much to the rural setting where I live so they can enjoy the same kind of inspiration and solace I think so benefits the work I do and myself within it. Most selfishly of all, I like being and playing outside more than almost anything else in life. So, camp is a super extra bonus for me.

Camp last year included:

  • The ridiculous debut performance of the Scarleteam sea shanty, complete with drum-banging and newspaper sails
  • A skillshare in which each of us got to bring in a topic or aspect of our work that we’re particularly passionate about, which included data analysis, American Sign Language, in-person outreach activities and zines
  • Shifts helping users in out direct services where we got to communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve together in person instead of just remotely
  • Kayaking and paddleboarding, with plenty of the moon jellies we loved from the year before
  • An opportunity to share and discuss the results of the last year’s direct services logging, in order to better understand who uses which of our services and how they use them
  • Waking up to soft seaside breezes and more fresh lavender than we could possibly pick
  • A very dramatic Basil the dog who chose to test our emergency response skills and group cohesiveness by finding and eating baker’s chocolate (Don’t worry, he’s okay! He will be staying home this year to spare his dog dad any further coronary trouble.)
  • A successful outreach table at the Vashon Farmer’s Market, where we engaged kids and their families in a consent-based activity longtime volunteer Jacob designed called, “What’s in a Yes?”
  • Some moments and group dynamics that really challenged us to think about how to be accountable to ourselves and each other and helped create some new ways of managing intra-organizational conflict
  • Some Overall Times™ and an Overall Good Time

support your local queerdosWe’re still finding our feet with camp, so it hasn’t looked or been the same every year. This year we’re going a more unstructured route. We’re ditching rigorous schedules. We're putting focus on our relationships with each other and a lot of open-ended brainstorming, problem-solving, and organizational dreaming. We're going to soak in the kinds of observant, inspired, intuitive and creative wizardry that made Scarleteen what it is in the first place and continue to be a big part of why what we offer has been and remains so unique and consistently loved by young people and their helpers for nearly 20 years. Expect fresh ideas to come from land and sea (okay, the sound, whatever), from giggle fits and group empathy, from the intense hardcore hikers and the sandy beach layabouts. We do, and we’re really excited about all of them.

Can we get some help from you to raise the $10,000 we need to cover the costs of our annual staff camp this June?

We’re so grateful for anything you can give. We promise to tell a ghost story, make a sandcastle, spin an oar, toast a s’more, and most importantly, to use our time together to keep creating and delivering the some of best sex education on earth, thanks to you.

- Al and Heather, Camp (over)Enthusiasts