Holt Adoptee Camp

A week of self-discovery, friendship and fun

The Holt Adoptee Camps are about creating an adoptee community. International and transracial adoptees come together and get a chance to be around people who understand them,” said Holt Youth Services Coordinator Michael Tessier, a former camper and camp staff member.

Every summer Holt manages five camps around the country. Run by trained camp counselors, who are also adult adoptees, these camps give adoptees, age 9-16, the chance to learn more about themselves, discuss adoption, race, and identity issues and, most of all, have fun. “We don’t learn about our birth culture at camp,” said Michael. “The camps are about learning and creating the culture of adoption and the adoptee community.”

Michael began his relationship with the Holt Adoptee Camps as a camper when he was nine years old and now serves on the leadership staff, planning activities and providing support and encouragement to the campers.

“The most important thing I learned when I was a camper, was that there were role models for me to look up to,” said Michael. “You can’t see that in the media, you can’t see that in your neighborhood or community back home. But when I went to Adoptee Camp, I saw that there were successful, confident adult adoptees, and that made a big difference to me.”

Throughout the day the kids participate in typical camp activities like: archery, swimming and boating, and experience times of community with the other campers in small and large group discussions. Michael, like a lot of adoptees who have experienced Adoptee Camp, has stayed in contact with many of his fellow campers throughout the years, maintaining close friendships with them.

“I think it’s a testament of how powerful the idea of adoptee community is,” says Michael. “ Many campers here will stay friends with the people they meet. I am still friends with my fellow campers that I have known since I was nine.

“When kids come to camp, they get a greater sense of themselves and a greater understanding of how their experiences are similar or exactly the same as the other campers” said Michael. “From that, comes discussion, a lot of self-discoveries, and an understanding of how adoptees really feel about some of the daily life issues that come up for all of us…it is a very powerful experience.”

For more information about Holt Adoptee Camps go to https://www.holtinternational.org/camp. Or contact Steve Kalb at stevek@holtinternational.org

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