Oceanside’s Friedberg JCC introduces LGBTQ camp

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The Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC in Oceanside is embarking on a new project this summer: a camp for LGBTQ teens and their allies. Named Camp Ga’avah, or pride in Hebrew, it aims to be a place to empower teenagers of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

“We want to empower them, and have them know there’s a place for them where there are other kids like them,” said Stephanie Abrams, director of development at the JCC.

The program, which begins on Aug. 6 is scheduled to last four days, and will be held at the JCC’s Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights. It will feature traditional camp programming such as drama, sports, yoga and art as well as social and support programs such as fireside chats with trained social workers and leadership workshops.

“The goal of the week is to have a week of tradtional camp fun, and also learn some leadership skills,” Abrams said.

Camp Ga’avah began as a grant proposal to the United Jewish Appeal intended to drum up community interest among disengaged Jewish groups. While the JCC was unable to secure the grant, Abrams said the UJA provided them a grant for a pilot program for teenagers aged 12 to 18. The hope, Abrams said is that “it’s a week where they can kind of let their guards down.”

Those interested in signing up or supporting Camp Ga’avah can do so at friedberjcc.org