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New program aims to create safe haven for transgender youth

A camp that’s also a safe haven - That’s the vision of a new program for transgender youth getting underway this year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A summer camp that’s also a safe haven - That’s the vision of a new program for transgender youth getting underway this year.

Christina Guiriba, founder of Transcending Adolescence, said the camp program is designed to build resilience in trans youth. 

"They are facing a lot of barriers and challenges and addition to the challenges they are already facing to find their gender identity and to learn to be okay with who they are," said Guiriba.

The resilience retreat, which runs June 26 to July 1, offers traditional camp activities like rock climbing, archery, boating, and swimming. Mental health focused initiatives are also part of the program.

At the end of each day there will be a stress-reducing conversation with a mental health counselor.

“Talk about what we did that day. Talk about any anxiety we might have felt and bring to light any challenges we might have overcome that day," explained Guiriba. 

Camp Director, Lexi Green said the camp is accepting 80 people between ages 13-17. They will also have about 30 volunteer staff members.

“It’s not just a one time summer camp experience we really want to give these kids an opportunity to build relationships but also build skills that will translate in their everyday lives," said Green. 

Cindy Watson, the CEO of JASMYN, a nonprofit that provides services to the LGBTQ community in Jacksonville, believes it will provide a safe place for trans teens.

“I think the idea of promoting resilience and mental well being and empowerment for transgender young people really hits the mark for what they need to be able to thrive and not just survive in the community but thrive and be the best they can be," said Watson. 

Guiriba says the registration for the camp will be up soon.

To keep up with latest updates and where you can find to sign up, click here

    

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