VANDALIA, Mich. — REAL News Michiana has received several complaints from parents about the experiences their children had at a well-established local summer camp this year. According to parents who wished to stay anonymous, transgender camp counselors, at Camp Tannadoonah, shared cabins and sleeping arrangements for elementary school aged girls. Counselors across the camp also spent time teaching children about radical gender theory and how people can pick their own pronouns, without the permission of parents.
Parents tell RNM that the incidents happened over several weeks and with many different camp groups.
Screenshots of emails sent to RNM show one parent reaching out to camp officials regarding the issue.
“It has been brought to my attention that two of the 3 counselors had a meeting with the girls the first night and discussed their gender identities.” The parent wrote. “Counselor Dakota stated that she was a boy and to be called ‘Mr.’ and counselor Laura didn’t know if she was a boy or girl and wanted to be called Mr./Ms. Laura.”
Camp leadership initially seemed to be apologetic about what happened.
“I’m extremely sorry that gender identity was discussed with your campers.” Camp Director Gabby Bittner wrote. “During staff training we go over so many topics and discussions about the appropriate/inappropriate conversations with campers. This is one that should never have happened. I will be following up with these counselors and disciplinary action will be taken.”
In a later email, the parent explained more instances of gender theory being taught to her children and others. She then went on to ask for a refund. In response, the CEO of the camp system that owns and operates Camp Tannadoonah, refused to issue the refund and apologized to the parent regarding the actions of the counselors while defending them at the same time.
“As CEO at Camp Fire River Bend, I am sorry that you are unhappy with the camp experience.” Amber Grundy wrote. “I agree that the conversation… was not handled correctly and we have taken steps to ensure that does not happen again.”
“As part of Camp Fire’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, we welcome, affirm, and support young people and adults of all… gender identities and expressions… we also respect the pronouns that our campers and staff choose for themselves.” Grundy continued. “I’m sorry that the staff in this situation provided more information than they should have about their own personal experiences with gender identity exploration.”
RNM reached out to Grundy days before publication. We never received a response.
Subscribers can read the entire email chain from the parent below.
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According to the camp website, “Campers from around the country and throughout the world have enjoyed summers at Camp Tannadoonah for more than 100 years. Our 45-acre camp overlooks beautiful Birch Lake in Vandalia, Michigan. If you like spending time in the outdoors, enjoying the sun, having fun on the water, and making lifelong friendships, Camp Tannadoonah is the place for you. We have 3-day, 7-day, and 11-day sessions, plus a multi-week Counselor in Training (CIT) program each summer. We also offer fall and spring camping weekends for youth and families, and rental opportunities for groups and events.”
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