The North Face Slammed Over LGBT Camp for Kids Sponsorship

( – Outdoor apparel giant The North Face has sparked controversy once again with its sponsorship of Camp Brave Trails, a summer camp catering to LGBTQ+ teenagers aged 12-17. The camp, which aims to foster inclusivity and self-discovery, has come under scrutiny from critics who question the appropriateness of some of its activities.

Camp Brave Trails, located in New York and Southern California, is a fully accredited overnight summer camp explicitly tailored for LGBTQ+ teens. It proudly lists The North Face among its leading sponsors, alongside Eno, Brooks, and Toms. A 2021 social media post from The North Face highlights a donation exceeding $70,000 in LGBTQ-themed products for the campers.

The camp’s website outlines sleeping arrangements in dorms housing 9-10 campers of similar ages, with no gender segregation. The emphasis is on fostering independence and personal growth, with campers encouraged to exercise autonomy while upholding principles of maturity, kindness, consent, and compassion.

However, a recent appearance by founders Kayla and Jessica Weissbuch on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has drawn criticism. The interview shed light on certain aspects of the camp that some find troubling, such as gender-neutral housing and bathrooms where campers are free to choose and change pronouns at will. Additionally, a clothing closet allows campers to explore their gender identity through experimentation with clothing.

The debate was further fueled by a promotional video showcasing children participating in drag performances, a practice openly acknowledged on the camp’s website as part of its commitment to challenging traditional gender norms and providing a space for exploration.

In a Forbes interview, the founders sought to downplay the focus on drag shows and identity exploration. However, their comments about “weaponizing children in the culture war” and leveraging them as an “untapped asset” for social justice causes have raised additional questions.

This controversy comes on the heels of a previous public relations issue for The North Face. Last year, an ad campaign featuring a transgender model inviting viewers to embrace nature faced calls for boycotts and accusations of promoting a leftist agenda. The company defended its dedication to inclusivity in outdoor spaces.

Further criticism arose from a recent report in The Sun detailing a separate marketing campaign by The North Face, which offered a 20% discount in exchange for attending a one-hour course on racial inclusion.

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