A weekend of fun and educational activities for LGBTTTQQIAA HS youth hosted by students at a small university in Maine

Spring Gayly Forward

Rainbow ball is important because it teaches a lot especially that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one. You make long lasting friendships.” 2015 student attendee

As we approach this year’s Rainbow Ball Weekend, April 8-10, 2016 at the University of Maine at Machias there have been some highlights since last April. We were thrilled that our tiny campus made the Campus Pride top 25 LGBT-friendly college index, 100% Faculty Advisor, Lois-Ann Kuntz was honored to receive the Equality Maine Community Courage Award, and we received a Maine Community Foundation Equity grant award for the Rainbow Ball Weekend. No matter that we’re small, we are mighty. You too are mighty, even one person can make profound changes.  We have been deeply saddened by the passing of Kevin Dutil of Coney High School and Peter Rees of Downeast GLSEN both stalwart supporters of LGBT+ youth and Rainbow Ball Weekend. They were mighty.  It’s up to us to continue their work.

We have some exciting developments for this year’s 9th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend! We’re including a Youth Career Expo on Friday April 8th during the day and our local career center will be offering workshops on Hot Jobs in Maine. Also on Friday, UMM’s Maine Writer Series has invited the Rainbow Ballers to attend a reading by author Arielle Greenberg who’s writing includes LGBT topics. We will have other career related activities like musical improv and archaeology digs.  As always we’re looking forward to what the kids present at the talent show on Friday night – make sure they bring their props!

On Saturday our keynote speaker will be Zack Paakkonen, with Portland Maine Legal, and he will be addressing legal issues of transgender youth in Maine schools. And… speaking of legal issues for Maine trans youth, Random House Publishing has donated 25 copies of the wonderful book,  Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Nutt for attending schools to take to their libraries. Interested attendees will also get to work with faculty on writing and prints for an LGBTQ Youth chapbook. Finally, the Jurassic Jamboree themed Rainbow Ball dance Saturday night should be a leviathan of a good time. 😉

We’re excited that UMPI’s 100% student organization as well as the Health Equity Alliance  are pitching in again to offer workshop/counseling/testing and more support! As always we’re looking forward to a great weekend with Maine’s LGBT youth. The schedule… is still under construction but other than all these new developments… will be similar to last year. 🙂

FMI, registration,and or counselor applications please go to our website: 100% Society or e-mail downeastme@chapters.glsen.org.  If you would like to donate or want to showcase your business/ group/ nonprofit at the Queer Career Youth Expo, please see this same site and the vendor materials, we had >170 guests last year.  For those of you who have questions/ offered help/ registered/ applied to be counselors – thank you & thanks for your patience!

As for future plans, in addition to our annual Rainbow Ball Weekend, the 100% Society is helping to host the first Machias RainbowCon October 14-15 in partnership with the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for fun and to raise funds for the Rainbow Ball Weekend. And if you’re in Washington County, ME, stay tuned for a free fall workshop for educators and mental health providers (CEU’s available), One Lonely Kid at a Time hosted by the LBGTQ Community Circle.

We’re all on journeys and best wishes to all of us on our shared journey towards 100% equality. “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” — U.S. President Barack Obama

As always please share, especially if you know youth who might benefit. Thanks!

RainbowBall_banner_2015

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