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Kendall playing guitar

Odyssey Teen Camp means different things to different campers, but one thing they all can agree on is that OTC changed their life.

Kendall was a camper at OTC starting in 2014. His life was transformed as he built friendships, discovered a new sense of belonging, and regained his confidence. Here Kendall shares his story about his odyssey of self-discovery while spending summers at OTC.

Kendall with friends at camp.

A letter to potential donors:

A sanctuary. A respite. A city behind trees that teaches the most invaluable entity a young person could possess: self-love. This is Odyssey Teen Camp.

My adolescence was quite literally an odyssey. A hero’s journey out of an abyss with a transformation that could have only been possible because of camp. People who know me now as an adult would never know, but I was jaded. I was convinced that the world consisted mostly of bad people and malice because that was all I had known. And yet somehow, sitting by a bonfire, watching the flames dance and being bitten by mosquitoes, I learned there is so much more.

Camp is harm reduction.

If there is one reason to donate to Odyssey Teen Camp it is because of the way it unequivocally helps marginalized communities. There is no place I felt safer as an LGBTQ+ young person. Camp showed me that there is a place for me in this world and I deserve to exist authentically as I am. In every daily activity, interactions with counselors and peers, and nights spent dancing like no one is watching, you learn to love yourself. You learn that what makes you different is the thing that is the most beautiful and should be celebrated.

Kendall with friends at camp.

If Odyssey Teen Camp were not able to continue, it would be a cataclysmic loss to the young people that have no other community. The teenagers with parents that don’t accept them and the peers at school that are even worse, would not be able to have a break from social marginalization, even if only for a few weeks every summer.

So give.

Give because while you may not have much to lose from a meer summer camp struggling to continue, at-risk youth have much to lose. Give because I made it, and every other young person who feels alone deserves to make it too, and this can be achieved through learning to love yourself and learning that there is a place in this world for you at camp.

Thank you,

Kendall Kalustyan
He/Him/His
Member of the OTC community from 2014-2020

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Find out about Odyssey Teen Camp

A great place for teens to be exactly who they are in a community that celebrates diversity. 

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