Connect with us

Living

A campin’ we will go …

Region offers range of LGBT-welcoming summer kids’ programs

Published

on

camps, gay news, Washington Blade
camps, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. kids can study art, swimming, dance, sports, technology, cooking, theater and more at the YMCA supper camp program. (Photo courtesy YMCA D.C.)

As the weather gets warmer, summer camps are already preparing for registering campers for their programs. Local camps are offering a wide range of programs from cooking and theater to sports and personal finance to satisfy any child’s interests and needs.

Beauvoir School (3500 Woodley Rd., N.W.) offers summer camp for children ages 3-10. Programs are organized by grade level. Rising pre-kindergarten students are Fireflies, rising kindergarten Blue Jays, rising first and second graders Box Turtles and rising third through fifth graders Brown Bears. Programs include cooking, gymnastics, swimming and Future Millionaires Bootcamp, a program that teaches personal finance, budgeting and how credit cards work. There is also a “Make Your Own Camp” option to combine various programs. There is also before and after camp care available. Prices vary depending on half or full day programs and session dates. For a list of sessions and prices, visit summer.beauvoirschool.org.

Studio Theatre (1501 14th St., N.W.) has an acting conservatory for young actors ages 12-17. Its summer program is an all-day immersion. Morning classes focus on movement, voice and improvisation. Afternoon classes include monologues and scene study from contemporary and classical literature. There are two sessions with a final scene performance at the end of each session. Classes are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Cost is $865 for the first session and $925 for the second session. For more information, visit studiotheatre.org.

The YMCA in D.C. offers wide range of camp programs for children of all ages. Art, aquatic, dance, sports, technology, cooking, theater and more are available. There are also specialty programs including beauty school, creative writing and gardening. YMCA also offers a day and overnight camp, Camp Letts (4003 Camp Letts Rd., Edgewater, Md.), for a more traditional camp experience. Kayaking, horseback riding and other activities are offered. For more details on specific programs and pricing visit ymcadc.org and campletts.org.

DAR Museum (1776 D., N.W.) offers two history-focused five-day camps this summer. The first is Time Travelers, for children ages 9-12. The program teaches about figures of different cultures and genders who had roles during the American Revolution but are lesser known such as Native Americans, African Americans and European men and women who were poets, spies and more. Campers can be a spy for a day and compose poems with quill and ink as well as take trips to local museums. The second program, From Fiber to Fabric, is for children ages 11-14. It teaches about textiles from raw materials to the final product and teaches sewing among other skills. For more information, visit dar.org.

Circle Yoga (3838 Northampton St., N.W.) has Budding Yogis Summer Camp for children. The camp includes mindful yoga and movement, crafts and creative arts, play at the park, group games, camp songs, relaxation and journaling. Campers ages 4-7 have a half-day camp from 9 a.m.-noon for $250 per week. Full day camp for campers ages 6-12 is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and is $365 per week. For more details, visit circleyoga.com.

TIC Summer Camp has locations across the District, Maryland and Virginia area. Its programs focus on science and technology for children ages 7-15. Technology programs include robotics, filmmaking, digital arts, programming and more. There are also sports programs available such as basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer and more. Each session is $825 with four sessions at each location. For more information, visit ticcamp.com.

Adventure Theatre has a summer musical theater camp for grades one to six  at its Glen Echo, Md., location and one for grades six-12 at its Rockville, Md. location. Campers have daily rehearsals in dancing, singing and acting using props and costumes. At the end of the program, there will be a performance for family and friends. Grades six-12 can choose from three courses of study in contemporary, Broadway revivals and Golden Age/MGM. Grades one-to-six sessions are $800 and grades six-12 sessions are $1,200. For more information, visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.

Silver Stars Gymnastics has a Silver Spring (2701 Pittman Dr.) location and a Bowie (14201 Woodcliff Ct.) location. They offer programs for children ages 3 and a half-4, 5-7 and 8-15. There are full-day programs from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and half-day programs from 9 a.m.- noon. There are also extended morning programs from 8-8:30 a.m. and extended evenings from 4:30-6 p.m. The programs teach campers gymnastics basics such as cartwheels, jumps, tucks, twists and flips. Tuition ranges from $240-305 with extended sessions adding an additional $25-65. For more details, visit gosilverstars.com.

The Lowell School (1640 Kalmia Rd., N.W.) has summer programs for children rising preschool, rising kindergarten, rising first and second grade, rising third-sixth grade and rising seventh through ninth grade. Younger campers can enjoy programs designed around self discovery and building social skills both outdoors and indoors. Older campers can explore the local city with the “Amazing Race” Game and also other areas with the Get Out! Trips Camp. There are both full-length camp sessions and mini camps. For a full list of sessions and prices, visit lowellschool.org.

Girls Rock! D.C. Camp, an LGBT-run and welcoming camp for budding girl musicians, hasn’t announced its 2015 dates but typically offers July sessions in Washington. Visit girlsrockdc.org for more information.

Georgetown Day School (4530 MacArthur Blvd., N.W.) offers summer camp programs that range from traditional day camp activities to specialty programs such as performing arts, computer programming, science and more. Camps are for children ages 5-18. Specialty camps include Hopper Dance Camp for campers age 5-fifth grade, Science of Rollercoasters for rising third-eighth graders, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company Summer Intensive for Intermediate to Advanced Dancers for rising sixth-ninth graders, Intro to Discuss Camp for grades six through eight and many more. Prices and session times vary. For a complete list, visit gds.org./campsandclasses.

Green Acres School (11701 Danville Dr., North Bethesda, Md.) has various camp programs including Martial Arts, Kreative Kangaroos for rising pre-kindergarten students, Junior Camp for rising kindergarten through second grade students and Senior Camp for rising third-seventh grade students. Activities for each program vary but include cooking and baking, sports, games, bowling and much more. Pricing and session times also vary. For a complete tuition list and session times, visit greenacres.org.

Although it’s not a traditional summer camp, Rainbow Families D.C. has several events throughout the summer including Adventure Theatre, various Pride events in June, Night Out with the Nationals in July and summer picnic in August as well as a camp weekend retreat in September. Details at rainbowfamiliesdc.org.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Real Estate

Totally radical home buying

We should celebrate advancement of homeownership rights

Published

on

The phrase “totally radical” came of age in the 1980s and was defined as cool, wonderful, or awesome. Its synonym, wicked, can be found in nearly all Ben Affleck movies and a cry of “Excellent!” will bring back memories of an adventure had by Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) in 1989.

Although some people are not ready for cocooning yet, homeownership is still a cornerstone of financial strength and wealth building. For LGBTQ individuals, owning a home can provide a sense of economic security and a sanctuary where they can express their personalities freely and without fear of discrimination or harassment. 

Whether house, condominium, or cooperative apartment, owning a place to chill allows you to build a legacy and provide for future generations. It offers the stability needed to plan for the future, whether that involves raising a family, supporting aging parents, or ensuring a spouse’s or partner’s financial security.

Homeowners are also more likely to invest in their communities, fostering strong, inclusive, bitchin’ neighborhoods. For many LGBTQ people, a home is “In the District,” which prides itself on diversity. Homeownership allows individuals to create personal spaces that reflect their identities and values, contribute to the city’s rich cultural tapestry, support local businesses, and participate in community events and governance.

The journey toward homeownership for gay individuals has evolved over the years, reflecting broader societal changes and the struggle for LGBTQ rights. The stark contrast between the ’80s and now highlights the progress made, the challenges that still exist, and future uncertainties brought forth by the space cadets in our political system. 

In the 1980s, homeownership for gay people was bogus. The decade was marked by lame, pervasive discrimination and limited legal protections. The HIV/AIDS epidemic further stigmatized the gay community, intensifying societal prejudices. This climate of fear and hostility permeated various aspects of life, including the housing market.

Gay individuals faced overt discrimination from landlords, real estate agents, and mortgage lenders, even in the rental market. It was not uncommon for same-sex couples to be denied housing simply because of their sexual orientation. Even in the late ’90s I had clients looking for homes in Prince William County, Va., who had to hightail it out of an open house when told to take a hike. I kid you not!

Financial institutions were often unwilling to grant mortgages to same-sex couples or openly gay individuals. When they did, the terms were often less favorable than those offered to heterosexual couples. This made the dream of homeownership significantly harder to achieve, even though DINKs (dual income, no kids) tended to have more household income than so-called “traditional” families.

Additionally, the lack of legal recognition for same-sex relationships posed harsh challenges. Without the ability to marry, same-sex couples faced difficulties in co-owning property and ensuring that their partner had legal rights to the home. Estate planning was complicated, as inheritance laws did not recognize same-sex partners, potentially leading to the loss of a home upon a partner’s death.

The landmark Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, was a fantabulous moment. This ruling provided same-sex couples with the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, including the ability to jointly own property and inherit without complication.

Anti-discrimination laws have also evolved. The definition of sex under the Federal Fair Housing Act has been expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as have protected classes in Maryland and Virginia. The District has taken that a step further; our protected classes also include gender expression and personal appearance. 

Organizations like the DC Center for the LGBT Community and the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) offer resources and advocacy for LGBTQ+ homebuyers. These organizations provide educational workshops, networking opportunities, and support to navigate the housing market.

The advancement of homeownership rights for gay people is a testament to the righteous resilience and determination of the LGBTQ+ community. As society continues to strive for equality, it is essential to address the remaining challenges to ensure that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can achieve the goal of homeownership.

In 2024, the only limitations on owning a home are finding one and being able to afford it. Pride weekend is a great time to go to open houses. You’ll probably be walking right by several. 

But if you’re not ready yet and just feel like getting your ’80s jams on, grab your disco balls and check out the Totally Tubular Festival at The Anthem at The Wharf on July 14.I’ll be Desperately Seeking Susan and will, as they used to say in the ’70s, catch you on the flip flop.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Decorating tips for Pride in D.C.

Perfect time to add a dash of creativity to your living space

Published

on

Hang your Pride flag and other LGBTQ-themed décor this Pride month. (Washington Blade file photo by Daniel Truitt)

As the vibrant LGBTQ community in Washington, D.C., gears up for the much-anticipated Pride celebrations on June 8 and June 9, it’s the perfect time to add a splash of color and a dash of creativity to your living space. Normally, I know you’re used to reading more educational and serious articles in this space. In the spirit of D.C. Pride this year, I thought a bit of levity would be welcomed.

Whether you’re in a cozy condo, a spacious home, or a rental apartment, here are some fabulous ways to zhuzh up your indoors and outdoors with Pride-themed décor. 

Indoors: Celebrate with Style

1. Colorful Accents Everywhere

Transform your living area into a festive space by incorporating the colors of the rainbow. Here’s how:

• Throw Pillows and Blankets: Swap out your regular throw pillows and blankets for those in bright, rainbow colors. This simple change can make your space instantly feel more festive.

• Pride Flags: Hang LGBTQ Pride flags on your walls or in your windows. The traditional rainbow flag is a staple, but also consider including other flags like the bisexual, transgender, or pansexual flags to celebrate the diversity of our community.

• Art and Posters: Display Pride-themed art or inspirational quotes from LGBTQ+ icons. Local artists often have prints and posters that reflect the spirit of Pride.

2. Light It Up. Lighting can set the mood for any celebration:

• Fairy Lights: Drape rainbow-colored fairy lights around your living room or bedroom for a magical touch.

• LED Candles: Use multi-colored LED candles to safely add a warm glow to your space.

3. Tabletop Décor. Celebrate at every meal with:

• Tablecloths and Runners: A vibrant rainbow tablecloth or runner can turn every dining experience into a celebration.

• Centerpieces: Create centerpieces with flowers in hues of the rainbow, or use colorful glass bottles as vases.

4. DIY Pride Crafts. Get creative with DIY decorations:

• Rainbow Paper Chains: Make paper chains in rainbow colors and hang them across your rooms.

• Pride Mason Jars: Paint mason jars in rainbow stripes and use them to hold utensils or flowers.

Outdoors: A Festive Façade

1. Balcony or Patio Pride. If you have outdoor space, make it a part of the celebration:

• Rainbow Banners and Streamers: Decorate your balcony or patio railings with rainbow banners and streamers.

• Outdoor Flags: Fly a large Pride flag from your balcony or in your garden.

2. Welcoming Door Décor. Your front door can be a bold statement of support:

• Pride Wreath: Create or buy a wreath featuring rainbow colors or themed around different LGBTQ+ flags.

• Welcome Mats: Greet visitors with Pride-themed welcome mats.

3. Garden and Window Dressings. Let your garden or exterior windows echo your Pride:

• Window Decals: Use removable rainbow decals to decorate windows facing the street.

• Garden Flags: Place small rainbow or other LGBTQ+ flags throughout your garden or in plant pots on your porch.

4. Lighting the Night. Make your outdoor space shine:

• Solar Rainbow Lights: Use solar-powered lights in Pride colors to illuminate pathways or garden borders.

• Projection Lights: Project rainbow patterns or Pride flags onto your home’s exterior.

Community Engagement

1. Share the Spirit. Decorate your shared spaces if you’re in an apartment building:

• Bulletin Boards: Put up colorful notices or flyers announcing local Pride events.

• Community Areas: If possible, decorate communal areas with small flags or posters.

2. Local Pride. Support local LGBTQ businesses by buying decorations or craft supplies from them. This not only helps the community but also promotes local artists and crafters.

Safety and Considerations

• Check with your landlord or HOA: Before hanging decorations outside or in shared areas, make sure to check if there are any restrictions.

• Be Mindful of Neighbors: While celebrating Pride, ensure your decorations are respectful and mindful of your neighbors.

By decorating your home for Pride in Washington, D.C., you’re not just brightening up your living space; you’re showing your support and solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Let your Pride shine brightly, and make this year’s celebrations unforgettable!

Scott Bloom is owner and senior property manager, Columbia Property Management. For more information and resources, visit ColumbiaPM.com.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Looking for vacation homes during Memorial Day weekend

A busy, strategic time in the housing market

Published

on

As summer arrives, more tourists begin thinking of buying in resort towns like Rehoboth Beach, Del. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Memorial Day weekend, a time to honor the sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, also marks the unofficial start of summer. Beyond its significance as a day of remembrance, it has become a prime period for the real estate market. The long weekend provides a unique opportunity for home buyers and sellers, making it one of the busiest and most strategic times in the housing market.

Memorial Day weekend is often a time when people head to the beach, the country, or the mountains for relaxation and to join in the local festivities. This long weekend offers a break from routine, a chance to honor those who have served, and an opportunity to enjoy the beginning of warmer weather. 

For real estate agents, however, Memorial Day weekend can be a blend of work and leisure, especially in resort communities where the real estate market is particularly active during this time. 

The influx of visitors to these destinations often includes prospective buyers who are considering purchasing vacation homes or investment properties. As a result, real estate agents in these areas might find themselves balancing work commitments with personal downtime.

We are keenly aware that the long weekend brings a surge in potential clients. Agents joke among themselves about business being slow until they make plans to go out of town. Open houses and community home tours are often scheduled to coincide with the holiday, taking advantage of the increased foot traffic.

Due to constantly improving technology, real estate agents can effectively manage their time and resources even during busy holiday weekends. Virtual tours, online listings, and digital marketing campaigns enable agents to reach a broad audience without always being physically present. Technology also allows agents to stay connected with clients and respond to inquiries promptly, ensuring that the clients do not miss out on potential sales opportunities. 

Often, agents licensed in the DMV are expanding their territories by becoming licensed in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Writing offers while on vacation has become the norm. Social media accounts can highlight special listings and open house events, and agents can also post pictures and descriptions of amenities in the towns they are visiting, attracting interested buyers who are in the area for the weekend.

The vibrant atmosphere of vacation getaway towns during Memorial Day weekend also provides a unique opportunity for networking and relationship-building. Agents can meet potential clients in a casual setting, forging connections that might lead to new business opportunities. They can also form relationships with other agents and create partnerships to help current and future clients find leisure homes.

The appeal of owning a place by the water, for example, is often strongest during the summer months, when the weather is inviting and the potential for rental income is high. Real estate agents who serve beach towns such as Ocean City, Md., Virginia Beach, Va., or Rehoboth Beach, Del., often mix business with pleasure as they seek out new clients.

Alternatively, if the relaxed life in the country is more to your liking, places such as The Amish area of Lancaster County, Pa. may be for you. Charles Town, W.Va., and Ashland, Va. have a robust military history and may be what you’re looking to enjoy. If mountains and lakes are more your style, the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, the Appalachians of West Virginia, or Deep Creek Lake, Md., may fit the bill, so let’s look at a few properties on the market today.

In Ocean City, you can find an oceanfront, one-bedroom condominium with beach and sunset views in a short-term rental building for $439,900. As you can imagine, it already has four weeks booked for the summer.

The historic district of Charles Town, W.Va., offers a 3,000-square-foot Victorian home built in 1890. It has five bedrooms, two bathrooms, 10’ high ceilings, original pocket doors, inlaid floors, and central air conditioning for $159,900. What’s the catch? It requires a complete renovation, but what a wonderful project it could be for weekend warriors.

Stretch your budget a bit more and you can own a 4,000-square-foot chalet with mountain views on both sides in Front Royal, Va. For less than $700,000, you will get four bedrooms and three baths, nearly two acres of land, and low-maintenance siding.

While many people flock to nearby vacation spots purely for relaxation, real estate agents often find themselves working diligently to learn about different areas and capitalize on the increased interest in local properties. By doing so, they can help clients find their dream homes, whether for retirement, short getaways, or investment potential.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed associate broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate / @properties. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular