Camp welcomes“non-traditional” families

Camp Common Ground in Vermont offers family camps during the summer that welcome same-sex and adoptive families



Laura King with her partner Elizabeth Schinkel and their son Johann

Growing up, Laura King spent many memorable days at family summer camps. And while going on those vacations with her loved ones was common during childhood, she had not heard of any similar family camps as an adult. 

But that changed three years ago when King discovered Camp Common Ground in Vermont. After speaking with friends who had shared their positive experiences, King decided to sign up the family – herself, her wife Elizabeth Schinkel and their 9-year-old son Johann – for a session.

King said she was looking for something that would combine their love of the outdoors with a sense of community while engaging in creative and interactive activities. During their stay, King found that Camp Common Ground exceeded all of these expectations.  

Rooted in the ideas of community, acceptance and artistic expression, the camp celebrates the diversity of today’s families; recently, there has been an increase in attendance of same-sex couples and adoptive families.

Connor Timmons, the executive director, believes that this is due to the inherently inclusive and accepting nature of their different programs. “The goal is to create a situation where families can be safe, happy, and have something for each of them,” he said. “We encourage people to come as they are and be who they are.”

As part of their programming, children can partake in a range of activities from hiking and archery, to crafts and blueberry picking.  With the comfort of knowing their children are having fun and are being supervised, parents can enjoy experiences that cater to their specific interests.

King recalls a particularly memorable morning when she took part in a chakra yoga class. During this period of meditation, she said that a violinist would be playing alongside them; the music creating an even more tranquil atmosphere that enhanced the reflective energy already housed in the tall, rustic, wooden building.

The camp also offers parents many opportunities for self-guided relaxation, like swimming in the lake, or curling up outside in a hammock to read.

“[The camp] is a good fit for a lot of Montreal families because it is so different from what is offered immediately around them, but is still relatively close by,” Timmons said.

There are four, one-week sessions from July 18-24, July 25-31, Aug. 1-7, and Aug. 8-14. This year, the camp is offering Canadians a 15 per cent discount to reflect the poor exchange rate. Registration fees are applied on a sliding scale.

For more information, call 1-800-430-2667 or visit cgcvt.org/camp

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