"...the best of us must sometimes eat our words." -Albus Dumbledore
I hate running. Before this year, I often told people the only way I would ever run is if I was being chased. I also said that running was barbaric (and I may still believe that). And yet, here I am.
So the first picture was taken at LGBTQQ Leadership Day at the Statehouse in 2011 and the second was taken at the same event on April 6, 2012. Between the two pictures, I lost 100 pounds. Lots of things changed in my life between these two pictures...including that I am now a RUNNER. Eek. Running. I'm still not in love with it, but I am training for the 5k leg of a relay team for the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon.
Why on earth would I EVER do such a thing? Good question. Three reasons. One, to prove that I can. Two, I wanted a motivator to keep up with my exercise schedule throughout the winter, and three (and most importantly), for Outright Vermont. Of course. Duh.
I work as the Executive Director of Outright Vermont. The mission of Outright is to build safe, healthy, and supportive environments for LGBTQQ youth, ages 13-22. Since 1989, Outright has worked to provide safety and support for queer youth, helped make schools safer, and focused on youth empowerment, leadership, and advocacy.
One of the most exciting things we're doing at Outright these days is Camp Outright, a collaborative program with YWCA Vermont. Camp Outright is a weeklong, residential summer camp for queer and allied youth. Last year's session was transformative for everyone: staff, campers, and volunteers. The campers made a video which is linked to this fundraising page that will give you a much better sense of what Camp is all about. We gave these kids a full week of traditional summer camp activities, like swimming, archery, and drama (so much drama!) while also providing some basic leadership development skills, and more importantly, lots of opportunities to build community. Some of our campers had never been allowed to be out about their sexual orientation and gender identity before camp, and some hadn't had access to a safe place to sleep and shower plus three meals a day for years.
Camp is offered on a sliding scale, meaning no youth is turned away. And Camp is expensive. It costs about $350.00 to send one youth to Camp. My fundraising goal is $1050.00 because I am hoping, with your help, to send three youth to Camp.
And PS: Camp still needs volunteers, so if you want to help but cannot donate, visit www.campoutright.org to find out how to help.
Thanks for all your endless support and cheerleading throughout the last year. I know I ask for your donations all the time, and I so appreciate your support. Please consider supporting Outright's youth with a donation today. Any amount is welcome. Thanks again.