Why Make Camp Abercorn?
Originally published on IndieWire’s /BENT.
There’s a question that I get asked over and over. As an openly gay man, why do you care about the Boy Scouts of America, when they clearly want nothing to do with you?
For those that don’t know, the current policy of the Boy Scouts is that you can be an openly gay youth, but once you turn 18, you’re kicked out. So in other words, it’s okay to make mistakes when you’re young, but once you’re an adult, you better “straighten out” or get lost.
Here’s what I know. It is clear to me that my journey into filmmaking was fostered by my experiences and training in the Boy Scouts. In Scouting I learned how to be an adventurer, take risks, be a leader and a supportive team member, value integrity, display values that support everyone’s well-being, and stand up against injustice. The leadership training I received gave me the courage, skills, and principles to take on a career in the arts and now compels me to make Camp Abercorn, which I’m now crowdfunding on Indiegogo.
My journey as an artist has taken me on many treks and adventures. After studying production design at Savannah College of Art and Design, I journeyed to LA to begin my career in filmmaking. Years of working in independent film eventually led to Warner Brothers taking me to London to serve as Asst. Art Director with one of the best Art Departments in the business on the film “Edge of Tomorrow.”
Spending a year in London really opened up my eyes. I was able to reflect on growing up in America and in the Boy Scouts from an international perspective. I saw the fight that was happening over gay youth. (England, the birthplace of Scouting, is fully inclusive) I could see the America that I hold so dear crumbling in the eyes of the world. I am in awe of what Scouts for Equality and their allies here in the US have done and are still doing to bring change to the BSA. Boycotts and activism can go far to change policy, but no amount of lecturing can change people. What can change people are stories. What can change hearts and minds are stories.
Camp Abercorn is a web series that focuses on an imperfect camp staff of the Compass Guides of America—our imaginary organization. It’s not a campy happy-go-lucky show, but an authentic drama about the real situations young men face while away from home for an entire summer. It explores how the identity of American male has changed over the last few decades, and what it means for a boy to become a “man”.
Through authentic stories, Camp Abercorn aims to do its part to challenge the status quo and make people fall in love with Scouting once again.