Call it the meme that keeps on giving–Mitten maker, Jen Ellis made only three more pairs of the iconic gloves Bernie Sanders wore to the inauguration, to be auctioned off by local organizations. One pair went to Outright Vermont, where the winning bid was pushing $8,000.
“I have a good pair of mittens already, so maybe someone else would like the mittens,” said John Canning.” So we gave them back to Outright.”
John Canning, the top bidder, donated the mittens back to Outright so they could be sold again to the next highest offer. And that’s not all, he also pledged if the group could independently raise another 10k, his business, Physician’s Computer Company, would match every penny.
“It’s all about making Vermont a better place for everybody and that starts with the kids,” Canning said.
The boost will help fund Camp Outright, a week long camp that’s focused on creating hope and belonging for LGBTQ+ youth.
“It’s really the perfect antidote to the isolation and loneliness and rejection many LGBTQ+ have to deal with on a daily basis,” said Executive Director, Dana Kaplan.
Kaplan says camp registration filled up within 33 minutes of opening in 2019. This summer, the camp will be able to run 2 sessions, and accommodate double the campers.
“We decided as an organization, we needed to do whatever it was going to take to create more camp,” Kaplan said.
Just take it from past campers themselves, who call the experience transnational.
“Camp outright has so drastically changed my life,” said Ocean Ricardo. “My entire life I’ve been scared to be myself and Outright was the one place I could fully express myself and all the things I had been hiding.”
“I left there feeling way more confident in myself,” said Charlie McCaffrey. “It really just helped me discover who I am really, without it, I don’t know if I would have.”