The Venture Out Project (TVOP) started as an organization aimed at creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ people in the outdoors. Now, they’re expanding on that goal by opening their own space.
TVOP’s Basecamp at Beaver Falls is a site in southern Vermont that caters to LGBTQ+ folks who love the outdoors. TVOP bought the 40-acre property in the fall of 2021 and it’s now ready for groups to gather.
“It was a nine-month project to get it ready,” said Basecamp director SJ Lupert, who noted that the property was once a nudist resort. “It just needed a little love and rebranding to become ours.”
Lupert said the site has heated cabins, a party barn, campsites, hiking trails, a hot tub, a sauna, and even a three-hole golf range. According to its website, “At Basecamp, our mission is to provide an organic space for unique programming and gatherings that seek to facilitate growth for individuals, groups, and companies alike.
Basecamp has three purposes, said Lupert: to serve as a basecamp for TVOP’s backcountry trips, a site for gatherings and events, and a place for nonprofits to hold retreats.
“It’s got a resort-type feel but also rustic elements,” said Lupert. “We want people who aren’t ready to be out in the backcountry to have a space more like glamping. You can camp here, but there are also bathrooms and a kitchen.”
Lupert looks forward to having the resort be yet another safe space for LGBTQ folks who love the outdoors. “Venture Out started out as creating a space space for the queer community in the backcountry, but over the years we realized people were taking our trips repeatedly because it was the only time they had an experience like that with fellow queer people,” she explained. “Our trips sell out immediately—so we were trying to figure out how to expand and offer more to our community.”
Basecamp at Beaver Falls is already popular—Lupert said many dates are already reserved, even though they’ve hardly done any advertising. She’s especially excited for the frontcountry events, which range from woodworking workshops to family campout weekends. The camp also serves as a training site for TVOP backcountry trip leaders.
“We’re still learning how much we can do with the site,” said Lupert. “We’re still in a bit of a soft launch, but we’re excited to have a lot of people here to tell us how it’s going.”