An Edmonton-based summer camp for gay and lesbian teens is now expanding to southern Alberta.
Camp Fyrefly started in Edmonton nine years ago as a place to help gay youth develop confidence and meet other teens.
"For many of them, these are the first times in their lives that they felt completely accepted and safe and really live in a world without violence," said Kristopher Wells.
Since it first started, the camp has grown, with over 100 teenagers from across Canada applying to attend the camp’s 60 spots.
Camp Fyrefly has already expanded with a program in Saskatchewan. Next year, Wells says they’re planning to run a camp in the Calgary area.
"So that we can provide this unique opportunity to more youth here in Alberta and across the country," Wells said.
Mason Jenkins is a camp leader who has attended Camp Fyrefly for the past two years.
He says the camp has taught him leadership skills and has given him the chance to meet other youth he would have otherwise never known.
"You’ve got brand new people coming in from all over. It’s those campers that make each individual camp extremely special, " Jenkins said.
Jenkins hopes to be involved with the Calgary program when it launches next summer.