About Camp fYrefly
Camp fYrefly (www.fYrefly.ualberta.ca)
is Canada’s largest, volunteer-based, summer leadership retreat
for sexual minority and gender variant (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified,
two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning) and allied youth. The
camp, which was founded in 2004 by Dr. André P. Grace and Mr. Kristopher
Wells, is designed to help youth develop the leadership skills and
resiliency necessary for them to become change agents in their schools,
families, and communities.
All of the camp workshops and guest speakers
help youth to develop their very own fYrefly fuel designed to help
them keep their inner light shining bright during dark times.
firefly is one of the only animals that produces its own energy, which
I think is a poignant symbol for the camp,"
says Kris Wells, the camp's director and co-founder.
"We want to move youth from feeling at risk to feeling resilient in their communities,
so that their own light can glow in dark times."
In partnership with the Faculty of Education, University of Regina and the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, Camp fYrefly-Saskatchewan will be held in Saskatchewan (alternating between Saskatoon and Regina) each summer.
Community stakeholders along with Camp fYrefly founders
joined together in a province-wide initiative to identify the needs
of sexual minority and gender variant youth and develop the resources
required to implement a Saskatchewan-based camp. Camp fYrefly-Saskatchewan
is dedicated to the guiding principle of helping sexual minority and
gender variant youth move from being "at-risk" to a place where they
can be resilient and positively address the challenges of adolescence
and young adulthood.
Our partnership with our two Saskatchewan universities
and association with the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta,
will ensure research-informed programming, sound pedagogical principles,
and financial accountability.
The camp is peer driven and jam-packed
with drama, music, writing, visual art, empowerment and reflection
exercises, anti-oppression work, personal growth opportunities, healthy
socialization, and in-depth learning activities about specific youth
topics and social issues. The camp will feature day and evening workshops,
with designated time set aside for personal reflection, community building,
and social activities.
- Potential workshop topics include:
- Leadership skill-building
- Confronting bias and dealing
- Combating preconceived notions and confronting stereotypes
out and coming-to-terms with sexual minority and gender diversity
- Negotiating relationships with peers, parents, and care
- Healthy dating and relationship skills
- Bullying and discrimination
- Challenging oppression through
- Youth health and safety
- Participatory drama
- Youth networking, self-esteem, and
- Nurturing ourselves
Camp fYrefly-Saskatchewan is an educational,
social, and personal learning retreat for sexual minority and gender
variant youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited,
intersexed, queer, questioning, and allied). It focuses on building
and nurturing their leadership potential and personal resiliency in
an effort to help them learn how to make significant contributions
to their own lives and to their schools, home/group-home environments,
and communities. The camp is designed for sexual minority and gender
variant youth between the ages of 14 and 24.
Camp fYrefly was founded in 2004 as a university-community educational
project by Dr. André P. Grace and Mr. Kristopher Wells, who
are educators in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. In
2008, in partnership with the Faculty of Education, University of Regina
and the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan, committees
of dedicated volunteers were formed by Anthony Bidulka and Herb McFaull
with the now-realized goal of bringing Camp fYrefly to Saskatchewan.
resource team includes adult educators, schoolteachers, artists, musicians,
business professionals, psychologists, dramatists, dancers, writers,
law enforcement officers, clergy, politicians, community volunteers,
and queer cultural workers. Camp philosophy and programming also emphasizes
a by-youth-for-youth approach in which older youth and adult facilitators
mentor and help to support younger youth. In the spirit of advancing
youth leadership, a youth advisory committee guides the development
and delivery of our wide-ranging camp leadership-and-learning program.
fYrefly-Saskatchewan would not be possible without the tremendous support
of many individual and corporate sponsors and volunteers who donate
their time, talent, and financial support to help make the camp a much
needed reality for sexual minority and gender variant youth throughout
Saskatchewan and Canada.