San Francisco Chronicle Examines Summer Camp That Seeks To Empower Young People Living With HIV/AIDS
The San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday profiled Camp Liquid, an eight-day summer camp for HIV-positive people between ages 15 and 20. An offshoot of Healing Waters, a San Francisco not-for-profit group that provides outdoor adventures for adults living with HIV/AIDS, Camp Liquid aims to improve its participants' physical and mental well-being through learning basic whitewater kayaking skills.
The Chronicle reports that Camp Liquid was founded in 2003 by Juliet Starrett -- a former member of the U.S. Women's Whitewater Rafting Team who has worked as a professional river guide -- and her husband, Kelly. According to Starrett, young HIV-positive people often face two challenges: living with HIV/AIDS and coping with ignorance and discrimination about the disease. She said they also often feel isolated, both emotionally and physically.
"We had a girl from Southern California, and she had never met another kid with HIV in her life until she came to our camp," Starrett said, adding, "A lot of these kids are closeted in their communities because if they come out at their high schools, or even to their extended family members, they'd face discrimination. That was the reason that Kelly and I both found this population so compelling." According to Starrett, the physical difficulty of the camp allows the young people to "experience a certain amount of physical success, which I think is very important for someone living with a life-threatening illness" (Moody, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/21).