Alumnus Dr. Spencer J. Harrison Leads Inaugural Camp fYrefly Ontario to Trent

Canada's only national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning, and allied youth, Camp fYrefly, is coming to Trent University this summer, marking the first-time the groundbreaking camp will be hosted in Ontario.

The Director of Camp fYrefly is Dr. Spencer J. Harrison, a Trent Alumnus.

From left, Trent president Leo Groarke, Kawartha-Peterborough MP Maryam Monsef, camp director Spencer Harrison and camp volunteer Jasper Hallows.

From left, Trent president Leo Groarke, Kawartha-Peterborough MP Maryam Monsef, camp director Spencer Harrison and camp volunteer Jasper Hallows. The plush toys are rainbow-hued fireflies, which are camp symbols.

Camp fYrefly’s Ontario launch is a joint venture between the School of Education & Professional Learning at Trent University and the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta. The arts-based resiliency building camp, which is currently held each summer in Calgary, Edmonton, and Saskatoon, utilizes all areas of the arts to aid sexual and gender minority youth and their allies to build strong resilient identities and become leaders in their communities.

“As an institution with a deep commitment to social justice and diversity, Trent University is very pleased to host the inaugural Ontario Camp fYrefly,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor. “We are happy to provide campers with access to Trent’s facilities, supports and resources, and proud to play a role in helping these young people embrace and achieve their potential.”

“Providing an opportunity for LGBTQ youth leaders to come together, express their experiences through art and build resiliency in a supportive environment is so important, and I am proud to see that the first-ever Ontario Camp fYrefly will be held here at Trent University,” said Maryam Monsef ‘03, Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha. “As an alumna of this great institution, and a member of this community, I want to wish all of the participants a very successful, energizing experience.”

“My Master’s at Trent is where I began to develop my passion for community building. As an artist born and raised in Peterborough, whose practice focuses on issues of equity and inclusion it only makes sense to open the first Ontario Camp fYrefly here in my hometown at Trent University,” said alumnus Dr. Spencer J. Harrison, director of Camp fYrefly Ontario. “This proven model of an arts-based resiliency building camp for sexual and gender minority youth and their allies aligns perfectly with Trent’s guiding principles around diversity and its strong connections with Indigenous communities. The history of Trent University will provide us with the foundation to open Camp fYrefly’s first Ontario camp and the facilities will allow us to have a beautiful camp experience.”

Camp fYrefly will work closely with Trent’s renowned School of Education & Professional Learning, providing Bachelor of Education teacher candidates with the option to take part in an alternative placement with Camp fYrefly this summer.

The inaugural Ontario camp will run July 13 - 16, 2017 on Trent’s Symons campus. The camp is open to youth between the ages of 14 and 24. Applications will be available online March 6 and will close May 3, 2017. The camp will include an artist-in-residence and an Indigenous elder-in-residence.

Dr. Harrison is a former liason officer and artist-in-residence for Champlain College. He has a Masters degree in Canadian Heritage and Development Studies from Trent. At University of Toronto, he became the first Ph.D student to complete his dissertation through artwork. As an artist, he has donated many pieces to the Trent University Art Collection. He is currently an instructor at OCAD University.

About Camp fYrefly

Camp fYrefly is Canada's only national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning, and allied youth. The camp, which was founded in 2004 by Dr. André P. Grace and Dr. Kristopher Wells, is designed to help youth develop the leadership skills and personal resiliency necessary for them to become agents for positive change in their schools, families, and communities.

 

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