Growing up gay in Southern Alberta in the 1980s, comedian Gavin Crawford said he attended a “crazy church camp full of bears.”
He said he actually wishes he could have attended Rainbow Camp — a Northern Ontario summer camp for LGBTQ2+ youth — or its equivalent when he was a teen.
The camp is being held in Thessalon over three weeks in July and August this summer.
It welcomes young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer questioning, two-spirited and plus (LGBTQ2+), as well as allied youth, their siblings and children in queer families.
Rainbow Camp provides opportunities for campers to make new friends and develop skills through traditional camp programming and innovative curriculum.
Crawford, an alumnus of CBC television's “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and now the host of the CBC Radio comedy program “Because News,” headlines a May 4 Rainbow Camp fundraiser called “Because Camp Comedy Night.”
He said Rainbow Camp is a “great organization” and life-changing for many campers. Crawford said a similar camp would have made “all the difference in the world” to his younger self.
“The idea of a camp where you could just be gay or yourself would be a pretty startling thing for me” back then, he said.
He said he's planning to do a bit during the fundraiser about what his perfect summer camp would have been when he was 15.
Spoiler alert: this fantasy camp has a library next to a lake that nobody makes you swim in, as well as a (probably really cute) camp counsellor from Australia named Todd.
Crawford said he's enjoyed hosting “Because News” on CBC Radio for the past four years. He's learned that people really love their CBC Radio, as he gets comments from listeners wherever he goes.
“That show for me is pretty much the best job I can possibly think of, because I get to improvise, I get to do sketches and I get to have on different comedians every week, and we get to make stuff up,” he said.
Opening for Crawford will be Ted Morris, another gay Canadian comedian who also happens to be a veterinarian.
“His stuff about being a vet is very hilarious,” Crawford said. “It will give you a new perspective on bringing your pet into the vet's.”
Comedian Martha Chaves was originally supposed to open for Crawford, but she ended up having a conflict on her calendar, so Morris was brought in as a replacement — definitely a worthy one, Crawford said.
“We're just trying to get as many people out as we can to have a really great night and raise as much money as we can so Rainbow Camp so be as big and best as it can possibly be,” he said. “It's going to be really fun.”
The event takes place at Sudbury Theatre Centre Saturday, May 4 at 7 p.m. All remaining tickets have been discounted by 20 per cent.
Regular tickets are now $35 and premium seating is $41.60 with tax and fees included. Tickets are on sale now at the Sudbury Theatre Box Office and online at www.sudburytheatre.ca.