In Gemert, the Hojo camp is in full swing. The camp is organised by the Outway Foundation and is intended for young people within the LGBT+ community. It allows them to be completely themselves for a week.
“Here everyone has a story and I am better understood”.
48 young people between the ages of 13 and 25 are participating in this year’s Hojo camp, living with like-minded people for a week. “We have young people here from all over the Netherlands who really feel like themselves for a week and are not in the minority for a while. They get to know each other’s stories and also make friends”, counselor Bram Vermeulen explains.
During the camp, workshops are given on sexuality, gender, coming out and self-confidence. “It’s interesting to hear the experiences of others. I myself come from a small village and there it is not so normal to come out of the closet and here you are just a close group”, Senne (18) explains.
Senne is Lesbian and as a result is not always understood everywhere. “The people who know don’t mind, but of course they don’t know what I feel. It’s not that I’m looked at weird, but can’t understand everything when it comes to LGBT+. That’s different here at Hojo camp”.
17-year-old Luuk can also relate to this. He was born a girl and now goes through life as a boy. “I have gone through quite a transition and have had a lot of support from my parents and family. They do understand me, but when I’m here at the camp with other transgender people, I feel more at ease”.
One stay at camp
Young people are only allowed to go to Hojo camp once, and Vermeulen says there’s a reason for that. “We want to give as many LGBT+ people as possible the chance to go to camp, but we also offer a Hojokamp 2.0 for young people who have already been once. Through the years we have been able to welcome over 1600 youngsters”, Vermeulen tells Studio 040.
For Senne and Luuk it will not be the last time, although the camp will end on Wednesday for them. “I’m going to miss it a lot. I’ve made lots of friends and heard great stories. It’s a shame we have to go home already”, Senne says. “I’ve heard about Hojo camp 2.0 and I’m definitely going to sign up for that. The time has gone much too fast”.
Translated by: Bob