About Us

Meet some of the staff who will be at camp :

Chris, Camp Director (they/them)

Chris is super excited to be Camp Beyond Binary’s director in 2023! Chris facilitates Safe Space and Trans/GNC training events for businesses, organizations, and parent groups in the CNY region. Chris also designs and consults on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) crisis management strategies for leadership teams of K-12 educational programs. On their own time, Chris enjoys the changing seasons of upstate NY, sculpting, swimming, traveling through Italy, and spending time with their spouse and ever-growing menagerie of adopted animals! Our newest addition is a polydactyl kitten with 27 toes and counting!

black and white image of a pale skinned person with a giant smile. They are standing on a bridge

Liz Schmidt, Planning Team (she/her)

Hello! I have over 30 years of camp experience, starting as a camper when I was 5 (!) to being the Director of Camps for Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways now! I can’t wait to meet your campers and help them have the best summer of their lives!

Emery, Cabin Counselor, Planning Team (he/him/they)

Emery brings 25 years of experience as a director and collaborator in nonprofit cultural, literary, and performing arts organizations. He served as Deputy Director of Stonewall National Museum & Archives (SNMA), a museum, library, and archive of American LGBTQ history and culture, where for eight years he specialized in events programming, museum exhibitions, and community engagement with LGBTQ themes.  Emery is an out trans man, living in Northern New York, who is passionate about engaging people of all ages with LGBTQ history and culture as essential parts of affirming the value of LGBTQ experiences and celebrating our resilience. 

Dominick, Mental wellness coordinator (he/they)

Dominick is a trans masculine individual who greatly enjoys his work with youth as a mental health therapist. Dominick loves being at summer camp, and especially enjoys archery and rock climbing! This will be Dominick’s 12th year working at a camp.  He likes hiking, snowboarding, and overall just being outside. Dominick loves being around his 5 fur babies (3 cats names Remus, Tonks and Luna, and 2 dogs names Jasper and Alice)! He also loves anything to do with softball, rugby, reading, and world traveling.  If you see him at camp, ask him where he’s been! 

Sean, Cabin Counselor He/him

Sean identifies as a gay, cis male. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Sean now lives in New York City, New York. He currently works as a Senior Academic Advisor at New York University which has only furthered his love for helping others find their passions in life. Over his career and schooling he has worked in many different settings and always strived to help build accepting and inclusive environments where all are welcomed. He can’t wait to begin this new experience with all of our campers!

Izzy, Cabin Counselor They/she

Izzy is a Pansexual demigirl who currently works as a crisis counselor. They have worked as a social worker for 9 years. She has worked at multiple camps previously and even organized an art centered camp with her mom. Izzy loves to do any kind of art including painting and miniatures. Izzy especially loves giant robots specifically transformers, and she has a large collection of them. She has 2 cats and a little dog who are like their babies. She currently lives in Albany with her fiance Beth.

KT, Cabin Counselor they/them

Hi, I am a non-binary, panromantic, asexual, short person. I grew up going to camp, and have spent twelve summers as an (alleged) grown-up at camp. I live in CNY now, but am originally from rural Pennsylvania. I spend the school year working with young people with special needs and teaching swimming lessons. I enjoy healing crystals and snuggling with my three cats, Phineas, Fiona, and Gertie. I can’t wait for camp!

Jess “River”, Cabin Counselor they/them

Jess “River” grew up in rural Maryland, running around a friend’s farm, swimming in the creek and picking wine-berries and mulberries. They also lived in England as a child and young adult, and spent summers with their grandparents in the Netherlands. They are about to start a new job at Wells College in the Women’s, Transgender, and Queer Studies Department, and will be moving to New York from Indiana this summer. In their spare time they like to make collages, go hiking with their partner, Indigo, and dog, Pippin, and go paddle-boarding. Their favorite bird is a cedar waxwing, and their favorite color is purple.

Valentín, Cabin Counselor (they/them) 

Valentín is a Pansexual/Trans, Salvadoran-American, Teaching Artist and community worker based in Philadelphia. They are super pumped to bring their experience in therapeutic arts in rehabilitation and within the immigrant/undocumented community to camp! Valentín is humbled to be a healthy adult role model to campers and show up in ways they needed as a queer youth; they are excited to return to the outdoors, having spent a lot of time in their youth and time abroad climbing volcanoes, parts of the Appalachian Trail, cycling, kayaking, stargazing, and RV/tent camping. Valentín is looking forward to creating lasting memories with fellow queers in nature through an artistic lens.

Audey, Cabin Counselor they/them

Audey works at a child and family services agency in Athens, Georgia. They also volunteer, furthering Immigrant rights and social justice causes. Audey has taught theatre camps in the past and now shares their theatrical flair through drag. They enjoy nature, foraging, and handicrafts of all kinds. Audey looks forward to sharing their knowledge and talents with the campers!

Cheyenne, Cabin counselor (they/she)

Cheyenne currently lives in Syracuse with their partner and cat Garbanzo, but will be moving back to NYC to work as a playwright and develop LGBTQIA+ after school programs for youth in middle school. Cheyenne has a background in theater and dance, and really enjoys telling stories and creating new work with others. Cheyenne has always been avid reader and was given the camp nickname “Bookworm” when she was little. They enjoy cooking with their partner and learning about new foods and has been a vegetarian for 10 years. 

Kris, Cabin Counselor, They/He

Kris is a non binary, queer camp enthusiast!  He grew up on the ocean in Rhode Island, and enjoys many outdoor activities. From hiking, and camping, to nature observing and horseback riding, they love it all!  Kris also enjoys arts and crafts, music, games, and super corny jokes.- the sillier the better! This will be Kris’s 12th summer serving as a camp counselor.  When he isn’t at camp, you can find Kris snowboarding the mountains by winter, or hanging out with any of his 5 fur babies: 3 cats and 2 dogs!  You can also find Kris at his day job, serving as a behavioral health technician in an elementary school, counseling children.  Kris cannot wait to meet new people, and is looking forward to a wonderful camp experience this summer! 

Ashley, Cabin Counselor (She/Her) 

Ashley has spent the last 3 years as a teacher in the Syracuse City School District. She is well versed in mental health advocacy from personal experience and a focus on child psychology in college. Her passions outside of working with queer neurodivergent youth include bird watching, painting, puzzles, and trivia. Ashley identifies as a cis gender lesbian and is so excited to be a part of such an inclusive program. 

Franklin, Cabin counselor (They/Them)

Franklin is a white, nonbinary, neurodivergent, Quaker. Pathologically social, Franklin has loved working with youth since they were one themself. At various times, Franklin has worked with former street youth in Nicaragua, taught Theatre of the Oppressed to high school and college students, hosted karaoke, facilitated Alternatives to Violence workshops in prisons, worked as an inclusion facilitator at an after school program, and been a member of a children’s theater company. Originally from the Albany area, they’ve lived in Vermont and the Boston area for most of their adult life, but moved to Syracuse last year to be with their partner. As a theater kid, Franklin always spent all summer at a theater day camp. They are therefore very excited, as an adult, to experience sleep away summer camp for the first time.

Laura, Cabin Counselor, they/them

Laura is an ordained clergyperson in the United Church of Christ originally from Bethalto, Illinois. They currently serve as Assistant Chaplain at Moravian University where they work at the intersection of queerness and spirituality. They provide LGBTQ+ education, Safe Zone trainings and facilitate queer spirituality small groups for students on campus – among other programming! They have loved camp since they were little and are so excited to come be part of the community at Camp Beyond Binary. Laura currently lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with their wife, 13 year old, three dogs and has a baby on the way!

Brenna, Cabin counselor, she/her

Brenna is a trans women living in central New York with her daughter. She’s been a cabin counselor for middle and high aged folks for many summers and loves creating spaces queer folks can feel comfortable in. Brenna enjoys the outdoors, quality goof off time, and also signs ASL conversationally!

Nika, Kitchen she/her

Hello! I’m Nika! I’m a pansexual, trans woman chef who speaks German! I believe one of the best ways of connecting with each other is through eating together and I’m happy to contribute my skills to building togetherness as well as healthy, delicious eating! Dietary restrictions are a serious priority of mine I’m here to listen and to accommodate anything you might need! Es freut mich euch kennenzulernen! (It’s a pleasure to meet you!)

Nash, Kitchen Assistant he/him

Nash is so excited to be able to help everyone be all fueled up for a great week at camp as an assistant in the kitchen! A rising senior with double majors in Environmental Science and Women, Transgender, and Queer studies at Wells College, his life-long goal is to open his own camp for LGBTQ+ kids. When he isn’t in the kitchen helping make sure everyone has something great to eat, or getting “lost” in the forest, he could be found buried in yet another book! He can’t wait to see what Camp Beyond Binary is Cooking up! 

Who are we?

We are a diverse group of people dedicated to creating a space where LGBTQ+ youth can be themselves and grow into their leadership strengths. Together, we recruited community members and organizations to the planning team.

At Camp Beyond Binary, youth have a voice. Right from the start we have involved LGBTQ+ youth in the planning of this camp. We held a focus group to create a list of needs and begin brainstorming ideas about what the youth wanted a camp like this to be. From that focus group a few youth stepped into leadership roles and lent their voices to help plan programming, come up with ideas for a logo and names for the camp. As our camp grows we hope more youth will join our planning and step into leadership roles.

Wide based support: 

Girl Scouts NYPENN Pathways

GLSEN Upstate Syracuse

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

National Grid

The Shaw Harbor Foundation, A Charitable Fund of the Northern New York

United Way of Broome County

Q Center Syracuse