Our mission is to provide transgender and gender-variant youth with a safe, fun, and unique outdoor camp experience and to foster leadership skills in a place where campers are able to express gender however they are comfortable and connect with others in similar situations.
Camp Aranu'tiq is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. All of our camp counselors are volunteers.
Aranu'tiq summer camp has two locations: Southern New England and Southern California. Fall family camp is in Massachusetts. Due to the sensitive nature of our program, the exact locations of our camps can be obtained by interested parents and campers by contacting us.
All camp programs are directed by Nick Teich, LCSW, founder and president of Aranu'tiq. Nick is a camp professional, a social worker, author of Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue (Columbia University Press), and a PhD candidate at Brandeis University. He works year-round to prepare for and run Aranu'tiq's programs. He also serves on the Massachusetts Commission for LGBT Youth. He has a deep personal interest in helping transgender youth to be themselves. He lives in the Boston area with his fiancée, Erika, and their two dogs.
The Aranu'tiq administrative team (A-Team) is an integral part of our camp programs. Besides Nick, the team includes:
Morgan Darby, M.A., M.A.T., teaches middle school English and social studies and coaches basketball at a school in the Boston area. Morgan has also served on the board of directors of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN Boston).
Julie Lipson believes deeply in the profound way that camp affects youth. As a lifelong camper, Julie brings her expertise in many different areas to Aranu'tiq. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in music therapy at Drexel University.
Melissa MacNish, LMHC, our parent liaison, is a mental health counselor in Boston. Many of her clients are transgender or gender-variant. Melissa co-founded and oversees a support group for parents of transgender youth.
Marissa Peifer, Psy.D., our volunteer coordinator, is a psychologist practicing in Boston. She has worked with many transgender people and parents of transgender youth.
Board of Directors
Nick Teich, Morgan Darby, Julie Lipson, Melissa MacNish, Marissa Peifer
Development & Progress Committee
Bob Ditter, M.Ed., LCSW, is a camp professional as well as a child and family therapist from Boston. He is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant for organizations that work with young people. He has visited over 600 summer camps in the United States, has spoken about camp on many national television programs, and has authored four books for camp professionals and 14 training DVDs. He is best known in camp circles as the author of the popular column, "In the Trenches," which has appeared regularly in Camping Magazine since 1987.
Tori Gabriel, MBA-HA, has worked for over 20 years in the non-profit healthcare arena and is currently director of education & prevention for the Florida Heart Research Institute in Miami. As a camp mom, Tori is passionate about allowing transkids to live authentically and is thrilled with the confidence and self esteem her child has gained while at Camp Aranu'tiq.
Honorary board member Chaz Bono with Aranu'tiq founder Nick Teich
What does the name "Aranu'tiq" mean?
Aranu'tiq is a Chugach (Yup'ik, an Indigenous people of Alaska) word for a person who was thought to embody both the male and female spirit. Aranu'tiq people were often revered and thought to be very lucky because their existence transcended traditional gender boundaries.
Honorary Board Members
Chaz Bono is an activist, author, and is the transgender son of Cher and the late Sonny Bono. He lives in West Hollywood, California.
Gregory Fenton, M.D., is a family physician splitting his time between Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, Fenway Community Health Center, and the Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center, all in Boston.
Norman Spack, M.D., is senior associate in pediatric endocrinology at Children's Hospital Boston and is the co-director of its Gender Management Service. He is a worldwide leader in the endocrine treatment of transgender children.
Ralph Vetters, M.D., is a pediatrician who serves as the medical director at the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center. Dr. Vetters specializes in working with transgender and gender-variant adolescents.