Campers will participate in different activities each day designed to engage their minds and creativity. These interactive activities challenge students to use their skills and talents to problem solve, create change, and have fun! 



Staff and counselors are not just leaders for campers, but serve as role models and mentors for LGBTQ and allied youth. Campers will build positive relationships with staff and counselors who want to empower the next generation of leaders.



Campers will meet other LGBTQ and allied youth who are passionate about creating change in their communities through activism and building relationships! 

Is my camper ready for Pride Camp?

What is the atmosphere like at Pride Camp?

Like any other summer camp atmosphere, Pride Camp is LOUD & PROUD! From team chant contests, to drag shows, to cheering at the annual talent show, we encourage campers to express themselves and GET LOUD at Pride Camp. 

Pride Camp is also high-energy. We have an action packed schedule that wakes campers up early and has them engaging in fun activities all day. Campers should expect to get between six and seven hours of sleep per night.

Campers will be interacting with lots of different people throughout Pride Camp, including other campers, staff, and guest speakers.

Pride Camp staff strongly encourage campers to step out of their comfort zones while at Pride Camp. Campers should have conversations with their family regarding any social anxiety or concerns they have prior to attending Pride Camp. Regardless of the positive and empowering nature of camp, it can be an emotionally and physically demanding experience. Pride Camp is not a therapy camp and campers should be in a stable emotional/mental state before coming to camp. Campers should be prepared and excited for very loud, energetic, and highly social environments, with little alone time. If the camper is highly uncomfortable with social environments or uneasy around a lot of noise and people, our camp is likely not the best fit.

We want every camper to have an incredible, unforgettable experience at Pride Camp. That's what summer camp is all about! We encourage you to think about the fast-paced, high-energy, and sometimes loud environment that is an integral part of Pride Camp's structure when making the decision to register. Many activities are not only hands-on, but group oriented to encourage campers to meet new people and find new friends. 

Pride Camp is not a special needs specific or therapy camp and as such, we do expect all campers who attend to be in a stable mental state and be able to perform all essential functions of living at camp for themself  (walking, bathing, eating, following directions, etc.). If you have questions about if Pride Camp is a good fit, connect with us!

We recognize that group activities are not the best fit for every camper, and do our best to have a variety of options throughout the day. From competitive and athletic activities to personal reflection time, it is a priority that you or your child have a great experience at camp. 

We ask that campers who register for Pride Camp are open to trying new things. That's how amazing memories are often created! Pride Camp staff will support and affirm each camper throughout the week they are with us.

We can't wait to see you at Pride Camp 2020!


Packing for the Week


 This is a recommended list of clothing and equipment for 5-days and 4-nights at Pride Camp. Make additions you feel will be appropriate for your comfort, but remember that storage space is limited. Label all items with first and last names, using permanent marker or tape. Make sure to view items that are not allowed at camp! 

Remember: Sheets, blankets, and pillows are NOT provided at Camp, and are the responsibility of the camper to provide.  

We encourage campers to consider Iowa’s consistently changing weather, as well as the inherent nature of camp activities when choosing clothing to bring to camp. Remember that camp is informal, and your clothes will get dirty! We ask that clothing brought to camp is reasonably modest in style and cut, and that any graphics or messages on clothing be tasteful and responsible. 


To keep dorms clean and clutter-free, we ask that you pack and use luggage that will fit under your bed or in a closet. Bring a backpack or shoulder bag that can hold a rain coat, water bottle, notebook, and writing utensils.

It is helpful if all your items, including pillow and sleeping bag/XL twin sheets fit in one or two clearly labeled pieces of luggage that can close securely.


Please dress comfortably. Camp will be held inside & outside, and there will be recreation activities and night activities that are high energy. Please use your best judgement with clothing, and pack what you will be most comfortable in.

  • Underwear and socks for 5 days
  • Short sleeve shirts or t-shirts for 5 days
  • 3 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 2-3 pairs shorts
  • 1-2 pairs long pants (jeans, sweatpants, etc.)
  • Baseball cap or other hat with a wide brim (for sun protection)
  • Rain-jacket
  • Pajamas
  • Shower shoes or flip-flops
  • Comfortable close-toed shoes (athletic shoes or sneakers are perfect)

Hygiene/Toiletry Items

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
  • Deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Comb or hair-brush
  • Body Wash
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), enough to apply several times a day if necessary
  • Insect repellent
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses with supplies
  • Tampons or pads (if applicable)
  • Medications (prescription and non-prescription). All medications are the responsibility of campers.
  • Any other hygiene items that are a part of your daily routine

Bedding/Linen Items

  • Sleeping bag or XL twins sheet set for dorm bed
  • Pillow with pillowcase
  • Laundry bag
  • 1 bath towel
  • 1 washcloth
  • Plastic bag for damp items coming home
  • Mesh bag or shower caddy for bathroom supplies

Optional/Extra Items

  • Writing materials (pens/pencils, notebook, etc.)
  • Camera
  • Sunglasses

Items not allowed at Pride Camp


These items should NOT be brought to camp

  • Weapons of any kind; pocket knives, fireworks, lighters, or matches
  • Tobacco products, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Pride Camp is a smoke-free and e-cig/vape-free campus.
  • Food, candy, chewing gum, or soda (except pre-approved for special diets)
  • Radios, music/DVD/video game players, iPads, iPods, Kindles, or other electronics
  • Inappropriate reading material (ex. offensive or violent pictures or content)
  • High-value items (expensive cameras, expensive jewelry, etc.)
  • Pets (Service animals are exempt)
  • Sports equipment like bats, sticks, bows, or other items that require special training for safe use
  • Vehicles or bicycles (camper may not have/use personal transportation at camp. Youth attending camp should plan to get a ride to camp, or check in their car keys when they check in for camp)

Pride Camp does not ban cell-phones from camp, however Iowa Safe Schools does not assume responsibility for any lost, stolen or damaged property. 

Preparing for Camp

Communication with Families



The Pride Camp Director or Iowa Safe Schools staff member will contact parents/guardians if their camper requires outside health care or emergency care, or if they have any questions regarding a camper’s health.

We ask that once campers are dropped off for the week, that families refrain from visiting Pride Camp without first having a conversation with the Pride Camp Director. This will ensure that arrangements can be made for campers to remain engaged in daily activities.

If a camper becomes ill or injured at camp, Pride Camp staff will call you to consult and may ask you to pick up your camper and seek treatment. All campers are required to provide proof of health insurance. Parents/guardians are responsible for paying the costs of any outside health care and prescriptions.

Sun Safety


Pride Camp recommends that all campers use sunscreen throughout camp, and take care of themselves by staying hydrated and taking advantage of shade and indoor activities on occasion.   

Camper Health


The health, safety, and well-being of Pride Camp campers is Iowa Safe Schools’ first priority. Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines is located close to campus. Camp staff will only perform first aid techniques which they have been trained in and are comfortable with.

For each camper, please provide a complete current health history. Please complete this form carefully and thoroughly, noting any life events that may be important for camp staff to know. Ensure that all prescription medications have a written, signed medication order. Failure to disclose any camper health history or information that may impact a camper's experience at Pride Camp may result in the camper being sent home with no refund. Campers who do not return completed medical forms will not be allowed to attend camp.



It is the responsibility of the camper to ensure they take their medication at required time during camp. All medication information must be:

  • Kept in their original containers
  • Unexpired
  • Fully documented on the camper health history
  • Do not pre-sort medications

Prescription medication must have the following:

  • Original pharmacy label showing the patient’s name
  • The prescription numbers
  • Date filled
  • Physician’s name
  • Name of medications
  • Directions for use
  • Expiration date

Campers are permitted to use a pill organizer for the duration of Pride Camp, however original medication bottles must also be brought to camp. 

Personal Health & Hygiene


Campers are expected to care for themselves by:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Eating healthfully
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Showering
  • Changing into clean clothes regularly
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing hands often
  • Using sunscreen & insect repellent appropriately
  • Taking daily medication on time

Pride Camp staff will model the expectations and provide gentle reminders to campers, but families should set expectations regarding changing clothing and personal hygiene before your camper arrives at camp. Coach your camper to tell an adult if they feel hurt, ill, or if they notice an unusual symptom.  

Drop Off & Pick Up


 Drop off begins no earlier than 10:30AM and runs until 11:30AM.

Pick up on Jul 19th is promptly at 12:30PM. 

*Campers not picked up by 12:30PM at the end of the camp will be supervised by Iowa Safe Schools staff. A fee of $1 per minute will be charged beginning at the conclusion of camp, payable upon pickup. For example, if a child is picked up at 12:45PM who is in a camp ending at 12:30PM, there will be a charge of $15. Every attempt will be made to contact all of the approved and authorized people listed on the Registration Form. If no one on the list is reachable within one hour of camp concluding, and the child has not been picked up, the local police department will be contacted. 


The following airlines serve the Des Moines International Airport and provide direct connections to cities throughout the United States:  


American Airlines





Lodging for Friends and Family

Staybridge Suites Des Moines Downtown – 3.3 miles from camp, from $119/night

Hyatt Place Des Moines/Downtown – 3.3 miles from camp, from $116/night

AC Hotel by Marriott Des Moines East Village – 2.4 miles from camp, from $170/night

Des Lux Hotel – 3.4 miles from camp, from $164/night

Embassy Suites by Hilton Des Moines Downtown – 3.2 miles from camp, from $152/night

Des Moines Marriott Downtown – 3.6 miles from camp, from $149/night

Still have Questions?

We want families and loved ones of campers to feel 100% confident in sending their student to Pride Camp. If you still have questions, we would love to connect with you.  

Important information to know


Violation of Pride Camp Rules

Included in every registration packet is a Pride Camp Rules Contract that all campers must review with their parent/guardian before attending Pride Camp University Jr. These rules are created to ensure that every camper enjoys camp and all the activities they participate in, and make an safe and affirming space for all campers. 

Every attempt will be made to work with a camper who is not following the Pride Camp Rules. If a camper is unable to follow the Pride Camp Rules Contract or work with a Pride Camp staffer to ensure everyone is able to have a fun and safe Pride Camp experience, a camper may be asked to leave camp. No refunds will be given if a camper is required to leave.

Restroom Accident Procedure

In the event a camper has a restroom accident, the following actions will be followed: Parents/guardians will be notified to bring replacement clothes for their camper to clean themselves up and change outfits. If a camper is not able to accomplish this on their own, parents/guardians will need to pick up their camper or help the campers clean up themselves.

Note: Iowa Safe Schools staff are under no circumstances allowed to clean up or change a camper who has had an accident.

Head Lice

If your camper is found to have head lice, they will be isolated and parents/guardians will be contacted and required to pick up their child immediately. In addition, all parents will be notified immediately in writing of the presence of head lice.


Day 1

10:30-11:30AM Registration & Dorm Assignments   

11:30-12:00PM Camp Welcome & Chants   

12:00-12:25PM Farewell to Families

12:25-1:25PM Icebreakers

1:25-1:45PM Dorm Living 101

1:45-2:15PM Decorate Your Dorm!

2:15-2:45PM Camp Games  

2:45-3:30PM Working for LGBTQ Youth

Iowa Safe Schools staff will hold a Q@A on what it's like working in a non-profit for LGBTQ youth, and answer questions that campers have on the process of becoming a full-time advocate for Queer youth  

3:30-5:00PM Shark Tank: Design a Product

Campers will be split in to teams and design a product that solves a problem they identify as a group.

5:00-5:45PM Dinner

5:45-7:20PM Who Am I? Collage Activity

7:20-8:20PM Drag Show

8:20-8:45PM Pictures with Drag Performers

8:45-10:45PM Pride Camp Drive-In Movie   

10:45-11:00PM Get Ready for Bed 

11:00PM Lights Out!   

Day 2

7:00AM Rise & Shine

7:30-8:15AM Breakfast

8:15-8:30AM Morning Pledge & Pride Camp Chants

8:30-9:30AM Color Group Huddle

Campers will meet in their color groups with their counselor, discuss topics as a group, and participate in team-building activities. 

9:30-11:00AM Pride Camp Catapult Challenge

This hands-on activity will challenge campers to create a catapult that launches pom-poms the farthest! Who will win!?

11:00-12:00PM Lunch

12:00-1:00PM Pride Camp Mascot Campaign

Campers will be sorted into groups, and must build a campaign to get their assigned candidate elected as the Pride Camp Mascot!

1:00-2:00PM Recreation   

2:00-3:30PM Drag Potatoes

3:30-4:15PM Hot Seat Interviews

4:15-6:00PM Shark Tank - Build Your Product   

Campers will work together in their groups to build a prototype of their product from Day 1.

6:00-6:45PM Dinner

6:45-8:45PM Pride Camp Bingo

8:45-9:15PM Color Group Huddle

9:15-11:15PM Pride Camp Drive-In Movie

11:15-11:30PM Get Ready for Bed

11:30PM Lights Out

Day 3

7:00AM Wake Up

7:15-8:15AM Breakfast

8:15-8:30AM Morning Pledge & Pride Camp Chants

8:30-9:15AM Color Group Huddle

9:15-11:15AM Breakout Box

Campers will explore their own roles in a group setting and how they approach leadership as they work as a team to solve a challenge.   

11:15-12:15PM Lunch 

12:15-1:15PM Shark Tank - Developing a Pitch  

Campers will work as a team to develop and practice  pitching and selling their product to other camper groups.

1:15-2:15PM Building a Pride Parade Float  

Campers will work together to develop their dream float for a Pride Parade!

2:15-3:45PM Tie Dyeing

3:45-5:00PM Legislative Meet & Greet  

5:00-6:00PM Dinner  

6:00-8:00PM Pride Camp Trivia

8:00-9:15PM Ice Cream Social   

9:15-11:15PM Pride Camp Drive-In Movie

11:15-11:30PM Get Ready for Bed

11:30PM Lights Out

Day 4

7:00AM Wake Up

7:15-8:15AM Breakfast

8:15-8:30AM Morning Pledge & Pride Camp Chants

8:30-9:15AM Color Group Time

9:15-11:15AM Looking to the Future

Campers will work with Iowa College Aid to identify strengths and stories they can use from their own life when applying for post-secondary opportunities.

11:15-1:00PM Shark Tank - Business Plan & Presentation Prep

Camper groups will put the final touches on their finished prototype and pitch, and work with mentors to prepare for their time in the spotlight!

1:00-1:45PM Lunch

1:45-2:15PM Glitter Winter

An enormous glitter storm has rendered the world too dangerous to live in, and has forced the Pride Campers into bunkers underground. How will they survive?!

2:15-3:45PM Queering the Kitchen

Campers will learn to create a simple recipe that is full of flavor and full of Pride. Special drag guests included!

3:45-5:00PM Rube Goldberg Device - Pride Camp Edition

5:00-5:45PM DInner

5:45-6:00PM Talent Show prep time

Campers have the opportunity to show off their talents in the camp-wide talent show!

6:00-9:00PM Talent Show

9:00-11:00PM Pride Camp Drive-In Movie

11:00-11:15PM Get Ready for Bed

11:15PM Lights Out

Day 5

7:00AM Rise & Shine, Pack Bags

7:30-8:15AM Breakfast

8:15-8:30AM Shark Tank Group Huddle

8:30-10:40AM Shark Tank Pitches

Shark Tank Groups will present their idea, product, and pitch to a group of ACTUAL investors and CEOs!

10:40-11:30AM Closure Activity

11:30-12:00PM Shirt Signing & Camp Mail Collection

12:00-12:30PM Goodbyes

12:30PM Depart

*Pride Camp schedules and activities are tentative and are subject to change with or without notice. Please read Pride Camp policies on when to pick up campers from Pride Camp on Friday, July 19th.