Recently, Murray and I were invited to speak to a local organization about the work of CAMP Rehoboth. As seems to always be the case when we do this kind of presentation, I walked away with the history of CAMP Rehoboth fresh in my mind. Sometimes the day-to-day operations of this organization make me forget what it took to get here; I appreciate seeing it through the eyes of others. As this 20th anniversary year for CAMP Rehoboth comes to a close, I’d love to have some CAMP Rehoboth stories to include in the last issue of the year. Stories or comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with “CAMP History” in the subject line.
The recent outing of a young Rutgers student online and his subsequent suicide, along with a rash of other gay teen deaths, has focused attention on the painful nature of bullying—be it the old fashioned schoolyard kind or the 21st century’s tweets, YouTube videos or Facebook postings. No matter how much progress we’ve made in the years since Stonewall, the fact remains that gay people must still face a culture steeped in homophobia. Experience and time, of course, eventually teach us how to navigate cultural rough waters, but to young teens, as we all remember, it can seem like the end of the world. Finding ways to reach isolated teens that are not yet ready to identify as LGBT can be difficult, so we must continue to do all we can to change the hearts and minds of those around us. Rehoboth Beach is not perfect, but I wish we could share the spirit of this community with the rest of the world—and especially with those struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality. For more on bullying, see CAMP Talk by Bill Sievert, View Point by Rich Rosendall, and Amazon Trail by Lee Lynch.
In the wake of the recent heavy-handed enforcement of the Rehoboth Beach Patio Ordinance,Rehoboth Beach Main Street facilitated a meeting with city restaurateurs to discuss the matter. As a result, Commissioners Pat Coluzzi and Dennis Barbour are presenting changes to the Ordinance at the Commissioners’ meeting on October 15. Proposed changes include decriminalizing the punishment for violation; allowing businesses to treat their patios as extensions of their business during hours of operation and food/alcohol service; consider the “use of patios” to be extended to waiting patrons and/or smoking customers; and allow restaurants to have outdoor music (subject to restriction of certain hours and application and approval of a permit). I should also note that this issue is published on October 15, so the passage of these changes may or may not have happened by the time this issue is being read.
Autumn is always one of my favorite times of the year in Rehoboth Beach, and October one of my favorite months—not too hot, not too cold, and lots of fun things to do. As this issue of Letters hits the streets, the Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Festival is already underway. For a weekend update to this year’s Jazz Festival, check out the handy Jazz Fest Weekend Guide in CAMPdates on page 72. With Sea Witch and Halloween just around the corner, it’s never too early to get out the costume box and start planning a spooktastic outfit for the occasion. I can only imagine how many “I’m not a witch” costumes will show up on the streets of RB this Halloween season!
November 10-14 is the 13th Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, and CAMP Rehoboth is once again a major sponsor of the event. With its wide range of feature films, documentaries, and shorts, the festival will screen films representing over 35 countries—with a spotlight on India. As always, the Festival will present a great selection of films of special interest to the LGBT community. Check out our annual LGBT Film Festival Guide. Also, make plans to join us for World AIDS Day on December 1, and Starburst Gayla, our women’s dinner and dance at the RB Convention Center on New Year’s Eve.