CAMP Rehoboth's founder reflects on 25 years of supporting Rehoboth Beach's gay community
Before founding LGBT nonprofit CAMP Rehoboth, Steve Elkins and his husband Murray Archibald used to spend their weekends vacationing in Rehoboth Beach. While driving in the area, they saw something that motivated them to organize the local gay community.
“There was a bumper sticker that said keep ‘Rehoboth a family town.’ We knew what that meant, so we decided to take it head on and say we want it to be a family town as well, but families come in all shapes, all shapes and all orientations.”
CAMP Rehoboth -- which stands for Create A More Positive Rehoboth -- was founded in 1990 to create a safe space for the town’s gay community. Since then, their events have developed from small, humble gatherings to large scale celebrations, such as Women’s FEST this week, which is expected to draw close to 3,000 women from around the Mid-Atlantic region.
CAMP Rehoboth has also taken on a number of vital initiatives over the years, including collaborating with local law enforcement to crack down on violence against homosexuals. This year, CAMP Rehoboth is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Recently, Elkins said that someone asked him why there's still a need for organizations like CAMP Rehoboth. Shortly after, the Indiana religious freedom restoration act was all over the news.
"States like Indiana are passing bills that's touted as protecting religious freedom, but people who support them are really saying we don't have to serve gay people if we don't want to," said Elkins. "So every time we think that issues have been taken care of and that we're just going to work together on this, homophobia seems to rear its ugly head."