Harry Stewart is the founder of Rainbow Camp and is Chair/President of Welcome Friend Association which hosts the camp. Harry and his partner started Welcome Friend Association in 2009. Rainbow Camp was a dream of Harry’s and the camp became reality in 2012.
Harry was born and raised in a small town called Thessalon, population 1,200; married at the local United Church to his partner of 12 years and together they continue to support the ongoing works of Rainbow Camp.
Being born in a small town Harry was aware of the lack of support systems for Queer youth. The camp seemed like an ideal way to bring youth together – not only to meet other Queer youth but to create a safe space where youth can be whoever they want to be. W
hen Harry came out at the age of 19 a lot of people were surprised:
I hid being gay. That’s one of the reasons camp is so important – it allows the campers to be themselves in a safe protected environment. Something Harry never felt he had growing up in a small town.
In this episode, Harry I talk about what Rainbow Camp is about:
- what inspired Harry to think about doing a camp in the first place
- the fact that the camp sponsors a large percentage of the youth who attend
- why they are doing a crowdfunding to get camp off the ground again this summer
- some of the incredible stories of lives that have been changed
- the unique experience of queer youth in small towns