Camp True Colors gives LGBTQ+ teens a place to be themselves.

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MINNEAPOLIS – Camp True Colors, at a woodsy, lakeside retreat just north of Hinckley, Minn., is summer camp with all the trappings.

There’s canoeing and archery and tie-dyeing and a giant water trampoline. There are bunks in the cabins and cookouts over campfires — and, some believe, a friendly ghost inhabiting the bathroom, who campers contact via a homemade Ouija board.

There is also an abundance of rainbows: on socks and masks and shirts. And painted on the wooden name tags campers wear to share their pronouns.

Attendees describe Camp True Colors in otherworldly terms, as if they’ve found the proverbial end of the rainbow: “like heaven on Earth” and “like a paradise.”

Evan McNiff, 16, a veteran camper attending his fifth session, keeps coming back to his “happy place,” he said, “because life is really hard sometimes — especially being a queer kid.”


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