Appalachian Queer Youth Summit - 2023

August 9, 2023 (All day)
August 13, 2023 (All day)

The ACLU-WV is thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our Appalachian Queer Youth Summit in 2023!

This free camp will bring together young West Virginians either identify as LGBTQ+ or come from LGBTQ+ families from across the state, and give them the tools they need to organize and advocate for the issues they care about.  

Campers will learn how to talk to legislators, run effective meetings, tell powerful stories, and more, and will participate in a collective action to better the lives of LGBTQ+ people after the camp concludes. Perhaps most importantly, AQYS campers will get to be themselves for a week around people who understand them.

The 2023 Summit will take place in Morgantown (campers will be provided with additional details upon acceptance) from late morning on August 9th to the afternoon on August 13th. 


Follow AQYS on Facebook for updates.

Please contact Mollie Kennedy at with any additional questions.

*Note: We know that COVID is still a reality and may require us to adjust our planning.  At this time, we are hopeful that we can safely hold an in-person summit this summer.  We will be following guidelines from the state as well as the CDC and other public health experts, and will provide updates throughout the process.

AQYS Frequently Asked Questions:

- What is the ACLU of West Virginia and why is it hosting the summit?
As one of the nation’s oldest defenders of liberty, the American Civil Liberties Union strives to extend the promise of the Bill of Rights to each and every person. Historically, the ACLU has focused much of its work on marginalized communities including LGBTQ+ people. Since the ACLU took its first LGBTQ case in 1936, we have been at the forefront of this struggle in the courtrooms, in the legislatures, and in the streets. In rural states like West Virginia, queer youth often find themselves feeling isolated and cut off from the LGBTQ community. The primary goal of the Appalachian Queer Youth Summit is to break down those barriers of isolation and enable the next generation of LGBTQ+ activists to come together.

- Where will the Appalachian Queer Youth Summit be held?
The camp will be held in Morgantown, WV. For security reasons, the specific location will be provided to applicants who are accepted to this year’s program.

- What are the dates of the 2023 Summit?
The 2023 Summit will run from late morning August 9th to mid-day on August 13th.

- Who is eligible?
The summit is open to young West Virginians (15-19 years old) who identify as LGBTQ+ or come from an LGBTQ+ family and have a desire to learn how to organize and advocate for their community in West Virginia. 

- What is the cost for participants? What will be provided and what will participants need to supply?
The summit is FREE for all participants.  Lodging and meals will be provided at no charge to the participants.  Participants will be asked to bring personal items and linens (sheets, blankets, pillow, towels) - if this is not possible, accommodations can be made to ensure all can participate and have their needs met.

We recognize that some participants may have to travel a great distance to participate in the camp.  We may be able to provide assistance with travel expenses for participants - please indicate this on your application where prompted (this will not factor into choosing participants) and we will do our best to accommodate all requests.

- How do I apply?
An online application is available. If you are unable to complete this application because of internet access or other constraints, please contact Mollie Kennedy at (304) 290-4484 or for a physical application or to discuss other options.

- When is the application deadline?
There is no official deadline for applications, but spots at the summit are limited, so please apply as soon as possible.

- How will I hear back about my application?
Participants whose applications are selected will be contacted for a brief interview to get to know more about them (online/over the phone depending on preference).  

- What about COVID?
Safety of AQYS participants is our top priority.  Due to the vaccine rollout and other precautions, we were able to hold our camp safely in 2022.  We are hopeful that we will be able to safely hold an in-person camp in 2023.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely, seek advice and best practices from public health experts, and keep all participants and families informed of any changes.  

- How do I know my child will be safe?
The ACLU-WV takes the safety of summit participants very seriously.  We have taken measures to ensure the well-being of all participants:
-Summit staff and volunteers who are responsible for camp participants are composed of ACLU-WV staff, board members, and community leaders who are members of the LGBTQ+ community or committed allies. All have been through a background check process.
-Summit staff includes a licensed mental health professional and a nurse (able to distribute medication if needed).
-Procedures are in place for evacuation or emergency plans for fire or severe weather. Staff members are trained to follow these plans.
-Participants will be provided with a list of contact numbers for all staff, and connected through a message system for announcements and other needs.

- Other Questions?
If you have further questions, please contact ACLU-WV Community Outreach Director Mollie Kennedy at