Circle Pines

Last year my daughter got to experience something I never thought I’d be able to give her: a week at summer camp. This year she’s going back for two.

I’ve always been wary of summer camps. It’s cultural, but it’s also marginalization. Camp always felt like a thing for Rich White People and not a thing for queer undocumented Arabs who make less than most people’s car payments per month.

So when I found Circle Pines, through a couple different friends I was thrilled.

This is a camp that teaches the same values I hold: community, justice, social responsibility. It’s a camp where I can talk to the director and the intake volunteers about being worried that my ex might show up, and being assured that he won’t be able to take my kiddo. It’s a place where my daughter can talk about the things that worry her, the cultural biases, the gender prejudices, and the experiences of navigating then world as a mixed race child of an undocumented parent. She can learn about good stewardship, about community management of shared resources. She can go on hikes and explore nature and learn about bugs and plants and biology and all the lovely science things she reads about.

She can socialize and make friends and teach the different cultural songs and dances she’s learned with friends that have never been exposed to them. And she can learn theirs.

I’m not sure I can ever adequately describe the impact this camp has had on our family. It’s been massive, and wholesome, and appreciated.

So if you’re like me, wanting to give your kids an opportunity that is in line with your values and ethics, and struggling to find a place where you know your kids pronouns and gender will be accepted and appreciated, where their cultures will be shared and respected and not appropriated, where they’ll learn the value of community, and their responsibilities as community members? Send them here. I promise it’s worth it.

*note, I don’t get paid or benefit in any way from this post. In case you were worried.