Every year, the Post Adoption Services department chooses a group of leadership staff and counselors to spend their entire summer at Holt Adoptee Camp — a weeklong overnight camp for international and domestic adoptees, ages 9-17. The staff members grew up all across the U.S., and they come from different backgrounds, families and cultures.
But they all have one key thing in common.
They are all adult adoptees who share similar stories and experiences as the campers. And every summer, they arrive ready to have fun with the youth adoptee campers and provide a safe environment to discuss adoption, share their experiences and build their unique adoptee identities together.
“Camp is just so much fun,” says Bre Linder, a 23-year-old domestic adoptee and Holt camp 2019 leadership staff member. “We get to develop mentor relationships with the campers, which I really enjoy.”
Bre didn’t attend Holt Camp as a camper, but she says that being on the leadership staff helped develop her identity as an adoptee.
“Being an adoptee was never part of my identity, or a role that I claimed for myself,” Bre explains. As a domestic adoptee, she never had to disclose whether she was adopted or not. Unlike most Holt adoptees, who joined families of a different race and culture than their own, Bre looked like her family, so she didn’t mention it to people. “Coming to camp made it more real and opened a lot of opportunities for me to have healing with my family…. Now I feel like I have this closeness to them,” she says, “because I understand how I felt in the past as a child.”
Bre says there are just some things that only other adoptees can fully understand. And that is one reason to consider sending your child to Holt Adoptee Camp.
“Holt Camp allows children to explore their feelings about adoption independently,” she says. “It’s a support for the child that parents can’t give them. And that’s OK.”