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Off to summer camp

Many schools, theaters and more offer LGBT-affirming options



summer camps, gay news, Washington Blade

Campers at Synetic Theater this summer will learn and perform ‘The Wild and Wacky Wizarding World of Wiley Skylar!’ (Photo courtesy Synetic)

Although winter weather is hanging on tight at the close of the season, summer is rapidly approaching. Instead of fighting to find ways to entertain the kids at home, local camps have done the hard work for you. Kids can ride horses, learn beauty tricks, conduct science experiments or perform in a musical. With programs for all types of interest, the only battle is choosing which camp to try this summer.

Adventure Theatre offers Summer Musical Theater Camp for grades one-six in Glen Echo Park for a two-week session and for grades six-12 in Wintergreen Plaza for a three-week session. This summer campers will Campers will perform “Return of the Glass Slipper,” “Thwacked!” and “Tom Sawyer” among others. D.C area theater professionals and artists guide campers in daily rehearsals. Family and friends can watch the completed shows at the end of the camp session. Grades six-12 can choose from Contemporary Musical Theater Study and On-Camera Musical Theater Study. Contemporary Musical Theater Study includes a day trip to New York City. Sessions for grades one-six range from $800-850. Grades six-12 sessions range from $1,200-1,330. For details, visit

The Beauvoir School (3500 Woodley Rd., N.W.) splits its camp programs into age-appropriate activities. Fireflies (Rising Pre-K), Blue Jays (rising Kindergarten), Box Turtles (rising first graders), Koalas (rising second-third Graders), Broad Bears (rising fourth-fifth graders) and CITs (rising sixth-12 graders). Each level focuses on a type of program from art to outdoor activities. CITs prepare students to become counselors by giving them hands-on leadership experience with campers. Blue Jays, Box Turtles and Koalas can also choose a Make-Your-Own Camp option that lets campers pick their A.M. and P.M. activities. A swimming option is also available. For a list of prices, visit

Camp RimRock for Girls (343 Camp Rim Rock Rd., Yellow Spring, W.Va.) is a sleep-away camp for girls in rising first grade through rising 10th grade. General camp is for rising second through 10th graders. Campers can participate in horseback riding, sports, aquatics, performing arts and arts and crafts. General Camp sessions is for two-week sessions for $2,750 or four-week sessions for $5,000. Riding Speciality Camp is for rising fourth through 10th graders. This program focuses only on horseback riding for one week for $1,500. Mini Camp is also available for first time sleep-away campers in rising first, second and third grade for $1,500. For a list of dates, visit

Circle Yoga (3838 Northampton St., N.W.) offers programs for children ages 6-12 for full-day camp and children ages 4-7 for half-day camp. Children can participate in yoga and movement, crafts and creative arts, group games, camp songs, relaxation and journaling. Full-day camp is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and is $365 per week. Half-day camp is from 9 a.m.-noon and is $250 per week. For information, visit

Green Acres School (11701 Danville Dr., North Bethesda, Md.) offers Kreative Kangaroos for pre-K students which lets them engage in outdoor play, swimming, dancing and carpentry. Junior camp is for kindergarten through second grade and activities include drama, music, dance, swimming and cooking Senior camp is for grades three through six and includes robotics, rock band, workshop, filmmaking, photography and cooking. For a list of pricing and session times, visit

The Lowell School (1640 Kalmia Rd., N.W.) offers programs for campers starting at age 2-15. Best Buddies is for rising first and second graders and programs include African Drum Fun, Beginning Robotics, among others. Summer Stage is for rising third-eigtht graders and includes Gotta Have Glee, a program that focus on popular music like Taylor Swift and “The Lion King.” Tweens N Teens is for ages 12-14 and has programs such as Gaming and Apps Basics and Amazing Race, which challenges campers to find little-known locations in and around D.C. For a complete list of sessions, programs and prices, visit

Synetic Theatre (1800 S Bell St., Arlington, Va.) lets campers stage and perform an original play, “The Wild and Wacky Wizarding World of Wiley Skylar!” The play was written for the campers with original musical numbers and an original score. There is one summer intensive session for students 12-18 from June 12-23 for $350. Multiple sessions are available for students 6-14 for $900. Camp Creation and Imagination is for children ages 4-6 from June 12-23 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuition is $400 and includes snack. A.M. care and lunch add-ons are available for all programs except summer intensive. For more details, visit

Washington Performing Arts has Capital Jazz Camp from June 26-July 8 for children in rising grades three through eight with minimum one-year instrumental experience. Capital Strings Camp is from June 26-July and is for children in rising grades three through six. No experience is required. Capital Voices Camp runs from July 10-21 and is for children in grades four-12 with basic vocal training experience. Summer Steps with Step Afrika is for rising campers in grades four-12 with basic dance experience. Each camp is $350 and locations vary. For more information, visit

The YMCA in D.C. has camp programs for a traditional experience such as sports, theater, art, swimming, dance and technology. Campers wanting a more specialized course can register for beauty school, creative writing, gardening, among numerous other programs. Camp Letts (4003 Camp Letts Rd., Edgewater, Md.) is the YMCA’s sleep-away camp which offers activities such as horseback riding and kayaking. For more details on camp programs and for a list of prices, visit and



PHOTOS: Night of Champions

Team DC holds annual awards gala



Team DC President Miguel Ayala speaks at the 2024 Night of Champions Awards on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Team DC, the umbrella organization for LGBTQ-friendly sports teams and leagues in the D.C. area, held its annual Night of Champions Awards Gala on Saturday, April 20 at the Hilton National Mall. The organization gave out scholarships to area LGBTQ student athletes as well as awards to the Different Drummers, Kelly Laczko of Duplex Diner, Stacy Smith of the Edmund Burke School, Bryan Frank of Triout, JC Adams of DCG Basketball and the DC Gay Flag Football League.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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PHOTOS: National Cannabis Festival

Annual event draws thousands to RFK



Growers show their strains at The National Cannabis Festival on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2024 National Cannabis Festival was held at the Fields at RFK Stadium on April 19-20.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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‘Amm(i)gone’ explores family, queerness, and faith

A ‘fully autobiographical’ work from out artist Adil Mansoor



Adil Mansoor in ‘Amm(i)gone’ at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. (Photo by Kitoko Chargois)

Thorough May 12
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St., N.W. 

“Fully and utterly autobiographical.” That’s how Adil Mansoor describes “Amm(i)gone,” his one-man work currently playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. 

Both created and performed by out artist Mansoor, it’s his story about inviting his Pakistani mother to translate Sophocles’s Greek tragedy “Antigone” into Urdu. Throughout the journey, there’s an exploration of family, queerness, and faith,as well as references to teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations with his Muslim mother. 

Mansoor, 38, grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and is now based in Pittsburgh where he’s a busy theater maker. He’s also the founding member of Pittsburgh’s Hatch Arts Collective and the former artistic director of Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQ youth arts organization.

WASHINGTON BLADE: What spurred you to create “Amm(i)gone”? 

ADIL MANSOOR: I was reading a translation of “Antigone” a few years back and found myself emotionally overwhelmed. A Theban princess buries her brother knowing it will cost her, her own life. It’s about a person for whom all aspirations are in the afterlife. And what does that do to the living when all of your hopes and dreams have to be reserved for the afterlife?

I found grant funding to pay my mom to do the translation. I wanted to engage in learning. I wanted to share theater but especially this ancient tragedy. My mother appreciated the characters were struggling between loving one another and their beliefs. 

BLADE: Are you more director than actor?

MANSOOR: I’m primarily a director with an MFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon. I wrote, directed, and performed in this show, and had been working on it for four years. I’ve done different versions including Zoom. Woolly’s is a new production with the same team who’ve been involved since the beginning. 

I love solo performance. I’ve produced and now teach solo performance and believe in its power. And I definitely lean toward “performance” and I haven’t “acted” since I was in college. I feel good on stage. I was a tour guide and do a lot of public speaking. I enjoy the attention. 

BLADE: Describe your mom. 

MANSOOR: My mom is a wonderfully devout Muslim, single mother, social worker who discovered my queerness on Google. And she prays for me. 

She and I are similar, the way we look at things, the way we laugh. But different too. And those are among the questions I ask in this show. Our relationship is both beautiful and complicated.

BLADE: So, you weren’t exactly hiding your sexuality? 

MANSOOR: In my mid-20s, I took time to talk with friends about our being queer with relation to our careers. My sexuality is essential to the work. As the artistic director at Dreams of Hope, part of the work was to model what it means to be public. If I’m in a room with queer and trans teenagers, part of what I’m doing is modeling queer adulthood. The way they see me in the world is part of what I’m putting out there. And I want that to be expansive and full. 

So much of my work involves fundraising and being a face in schools. Being out is about making safe space for queer young folks.

BLADE: Have you encountered much Islamophobia? 

MANSOOR: When 9/11 happened, I was a sophomore in high school, so yes. I faced a lot then and now. I’ve been egged on the street in the last four months. I see it in the classroom. It shows up in all sorts of ways. 

BLADE: What prompted you to lead your creative life in Pittsburgh? 

MANSOOR: I’ve been here for 14 years. I breathe with ease in Pittsburgh. The hills and the valleys and the rust of the city do something to me. It’s beautiful, it’ affordable, and there is support for local artists. There’s a lot of opportunity. 

Still, the plan was to move to New York in September of 2020 but that was cancelled. Then the pandemic showed me that I could live in Pittsburgh and still have a nationally viable career. 

BLADE: What are you trying to achieve with “Amm(i)gone”? 

MANSOOR: What I’m sharing in the show is so very specific but I hear people from other backgrounds say I totally see my mom in that. My partner is Catholic and we share so much in relation to this. 

 I hope the work is embracing the fullness of queerness and how means so many things. And I hope the show makes audiences want to call their parents or squeeze their partners.

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