Queer Rites of Passage




LGBTQIA+ identified youth ages 12-19 are invited to spend a week on a journey of self-discovery in nature. This life-changing week will include solo time for reflection, sharing in group council and ceremony.  We will learn how plants and animals are our allies as we walk the land, discover more about ourselves and our place in the natural world.

This program will meet you where you are in your journey, whether you are just stepping into your teen years and making the transition from child to teenager, or are embarking on the adventure of adulthood.  For those who have attended Ekone Summer Camp for years and feel a deep connection to Ekone land and horses, this will be an opportunity to dig in and discover the heart of that connection.  Ekone is a tremendously empowering environment for young people—this week, we'll place our focus on the lessons that the land and animals offer us as we grow into ourselves.

We'll develop new relationships with our horse friends, spending intentional time interacting with horses from the ground and allowing them to teach us about ourselves.  While we won't be riding during this session, we can promise a powerful experience with these gentle teachers.

Providing a space for queer youth to experience a rite of passage has been a dream since the beginning of Passage for Girls.  And past participants rave about Passage.  Campers make deep friendships and experience an exciting new depth of community, sense of place, and self-awareness that is both FUN in the moment and can also ripple through the rest of your life.  Many participants have returned year after year, embracing Passage as the ongoing process that it is.  Whether you are brand-new to Ekone or have been coming for years, you will leave with a deeper understanding of yourself, a greater connection to the earth, and a new appreciation for the wisdom of horses.

Be prepared to laugh, grow, dive deep, and have tons of fun!!

*This session will run concurrently with the Rites of Passage for Girls program--while the groups will remain physically distanced during the week, there may be overlap for some activities"

Please note: there is a Supplementary Packing List for this session



If you haven’t already, please visit our main About Camp  page

to get a feel for our camp philosophy, history and the scope the Ekone Summer Camp program

Please visit our Apply Here! page for information about applying for a space in summer camp and a link to our registration system.

Lead Staff for Queer Rites of Passage

Skye Newkirk

Skye has a tendency to build community wherever he goes. 

Skye's first introduction to the Ekone community was the Barbed Wire Ball in 2013 through his wifey-for-lifey, Caitlin Jones. He now sits on the Board of Directors. Skye has experience building up queer community in multiple ways, but most notably, he was the former coordinator for Queer Pride on Whidbey Island and he lead an LGBTQ+ youth group there for over three years. Skye holds a master's degree in Social Work and is a mental health counselor by trade, which has given him tools for honoring life's transitions, facilitating group processing, and creating emotionally safe spaces. He is excited to connect youth with the rich history of queer ancestors and to facilitate the healing power of being outdoors. 

pronouns: he/him


Rivers brings many talents and interests to our summer camp team, from wranglin' ponies to adventuring on the land for hours on end (and DAYS this year!).

Rivers first came to Ekone as a camper in 2008. In 2017, after nine months of traveling in South America, they were inspired to return to camp as an intern. In April of 2019, Rivers moved to the ranch as a volunteer and hasn’t left yet! With 18 years of horse experience, Rivers has a special passion for behind-the-scenes horse work and can be found most summer mornings in the arena before breakfast. When not playing with horses, they are bound to be playing in the woods, often with some assemblage of dogs and goats in tow. Rivers loves fostering curiosity and exploration in kids; camp outs, story telling, tracking, and epic forest games are some of their favorite camp activities.

pronouns: they/them

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So much fun and community and meaningful service!