California transgender camp one of only of its kind in the world, plans underway for branch in Colorado – The Denver Post – Colorado News

California transgender camp one of only of its kind in the world, plans underway for branch in Colorado – The Denver Post – Colorado News

EL CERRITO, Calif. — In some ways, Rainbow Day Camp is very ordinary. Kids arrive with a packed lunch, make friendship bracelets, play basketball, sing songs and get silly. But it is also unique, from the moment campers arrive each morning.

At check-in each day, campers make a nametag with their pronoun of choice. Some opt for “she” or “he.” Or a combination of “she/he.” Or “they,” or no pronoun at all. Some change their name or pronouns daily, to see what feels right.

The camp in the San Francisco Bay Area city of El Cerrito caters to transgender and “gender fluid” children ages 4 to 12, making it one of the only camps of its kind in the world open to preschoolers, experts say. Enrollment has tripled to about 60 young campers since it opened three summers ago, with kids coming from as far as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. – even Africa. Plans are underway to open a branch next summer in Colorado, and the camp has been contacted by parents and organizations in Atlanta, Seattle, Louisiana and elsewhere interested in setting up similar programs.

On a sunny July morning at camp, the theme was “Crazy Hair Day,” and 6-year-old Gracie Maxwell was dancing in the sunshine as a Miley Cyrus song blasted from outdoor speakers. The freckled, blue-eyed blonde wore her hair in a braid on one side, a pigtail on the other and snacked on cereal as she twirled and skipped.

Jeff Chiu, The Associated Press

In this Wednesday, July 12, 2017 photo, Sandra Collins, executive director and founder of enGender, reads a book to campers at the Bay Area Rainbow Day Camp in El Cerrito, Calif. Collins says, “A lot of these kids have been bullied and had trauma at school….

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