Rainbow Club at Bainbridge Island
At Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, we provide safe spaces for youth to grow and thrive by honoring diversity and inclusion, treating others with respect, and expressing gratitude; we embrace alternative ways of thinking.
Rainbow club at the Bainbridge Island Club is a queer-friendly space for teens to connect, learn, and express themselves freely.
The planning of Rainbow club started two years ago, but this is the first year with regular meetings and activities. The eight members meet to connect, to share, and to learn more about queer issues.
The Bainbridge Island Club Teen Director Michael Schrader shares that “multiple kids came out to me at [the Club] and asked for a safe place to be accepted for who they are. Our current president, Nicole, was one of them.”
As a 14-year old bisexual African American young woman starting high school next year, Nicole is proud of all parts of her identity and wants to encourage others to be proud of who they are as well. Rainbow club exists as welcoming space for youth to discover and embrace their full selves. In Nicole's words: “I want people to know that it is okay not to know who you are yet. Most people don't figure that out until they are a bit older, and that's okay.”
Having an accepting, safe space in Rainbow club is important for its members, especially as Nicole points out, not everyone has that kind of support at home.
Michael is extremely proud of his teens for creating a much-needed supportive space for themselves and others. He states: “the community Rainbow club has developed is self-governing, passionate, educational, and more than anything, builds a safe space for queer youth to be themselves.”
Michael and Nicole both hope that Rainbow club spreads to other Clubs for youth to have a supportive community while navigating the often challenging journey of self-discovery.