Testimonials from Campers, Parents and Partners


“The people—the counselors, the staff, even the other campers—really cultivate this feeling of safety and happiness and encouragement.”

“You guys rock. I love coming to Camp!”

“I saw people who were practically mute turn into butterflies.”

“It’s another home.”

“In my regular life there isn’t a chance to meet people like me, but you go there and you find your people.”

“You start being a lot happier because you’re not worried all the time.”

“As soon as you walk through the gate there’s a feeling of utter acceptance.”

“The first time I went to camp, I had come out as a lesbian only a few months prior. If you can imagine how scary being a newly out 15-year-old is, you can only begin to imagine how life-changing the acceptance and pure joy I found at camp was. When I returned home after that 4 or so days, I wrote in my journal that I was afraid to go back next year, because I didn’t think it could possibly get any better. I was, of course, dead wrong. Camp only got better and better. I was lucky enough to go through the Leader In Training program and then become a counselor over the years. That program and my counselor training gave me a plethora of invaluable life-skills. I pull from my camp experiences every day. But camp is so much more than people-skills. Camp is unconditional acceptance and community. Being a counselor brought me so much deeper into the meaning of camp by giving me the opportunity to meet and know kids from a wide range of backgrounds, that I would never have met otherwise. So many of our campers quite literally grew up at camp, and being able to see them grow and change year after year is the most rewarding part of One Heartland. It’s why we’re here. Many of our campers carry camp with them throughout the year as an inspiration to be their best selves each day. I know I do. I can’t possibly describe the full camp experience, but I hope I was able to testify to the unconditional acceptance and joy that camp brings to the world.”


“As a mom, I love that my son has a place he can go be in nature, which is so healing itself, and just be who he is without any worry for that one week a year. He really looks up to the camp staff, and we’ve had nothing but great interactions with them.”

“Camp boosted her confidence. She’s less lonely, has more hope for the future and new role models.”

“She is more aware of making healthy choices has more confidence in herself.”

“She realized she is not alone and that everyone struggles.”

“The kids have built friendships, felt empowered, tried activities and challenges that they never have before and, most importantly, felt as though they belonged and were welcomed and supported by staff.”

“This was a wonderful experience for my daughter. Connecting with other people who have similar struggles is extremely helpful.”


“Life can get heavy for the families we serve and this camp experience is something they hold on to all year.”

“Camp is a magical place where magical things happen! I think it is socially wonderful and meaningful.”

“I’ve seen youth with the biggest walls up come back from camp and be light, joyful and able to just be a kid who had an incredibly fun time at camp.”