About QORDS

A Camp that Empowers Southern Queer Youth 

Our Mission

By empowering Southern queer youth and building community through music and the arts, QORDS is a vehicle for expressing gender and sexuality, and harbors an environment of self-discovery and social change.

Our Core Values

We are committed to promoting the creativity, affirmation, leadership, abundance and voices of Southern queer youth. We recognize that gender and sexuality are multidimensional concepts that intersect with issues including, but not limited to: institutions, race, class, heritage, ability, documentation status, language, or spirituality. We aim to cultivate intersectional spaces and claim music and arts as a vehicle of queer empowerment.

Our Story

QORDS (Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer) was founded in August 2012 and held the first overnight camp in Lenoir, NC in July 2013. QORDS is a grassroots, nonprofit organization.

We have four regional teams in Asheville, Durham, and Greensboro, North Carolina as well as South Eastern Virginia that outreach and fundraise year-round. Currently, all teams are seeking more volunteers. If interested, please see our Volunteer page!

Organizers

Tee Dubose

Tee Dubose

Tee has volunteered & is currently on the board of QORDS. Outside of QORDS, Tee specializes in digital/marketing design with Wizkid Gx. “What I love about camp the most is having the space to foster/empowering the youth to be their authentic selves as I vision my younger me would be.” Their role consists of reaching out to youth via social media, administration, marketing development, and virtual customer service.

Matt Trower

Matt Trower

Matt joined up with QORDS in Fall 2014 and was immediately smitten, leading to their current position on the Core Team. Matt has a BFA in Illustration with a Concentration in Gender, Sexuality, and Race from RISD and has lived in Durham since 2013. When not at their job, they can often be found rock climbing or making the comics about the queer & trans experience that they never got to read in their own youth. If you give them half a chance they have the ability to talk for hours about their darling dog child, Evan Williams.

Femi Shittu

Femi Shittu

Femi is a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro pursuing a dual major in Psychology and African American/African Diaspora Studies. She is committed to being a queer person of color in the mental wellness field which is desperately needed. Also being committed to the social and economic justice of people of color, as well as, intersecting queer people of color into this work Femi is on the board of QPOCC(Queer People of Color Collective). She is also a coordinator for youthSAFE a mentorship program that provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth once a week.

Déborah Ramos-Smiley

Déborah Ramos-Smiley

Déborah Ramos-Smiley is a public school orchestra director and professional cellist. She’s played acoustic and electric cello in a variety of musical styles and groups and has a passion for creating and teaching a love of music. Although cello is a first love, she also plays a variety of string instruments and works towards celebrating and encouraging diversity within musical culture. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her spouse, Seisha, and their four cats.

Natalie Watson

Natalie Watson

Natalie joined QORDS in Fall of 2014. They are a member of the Durham regional team as well as the QORDS Core team. Raised in the South, QORDS holds a special place in Natalie’s heart by bringing queer folx together from the South to give back to LGBTQI+ youth. Natalie is the Volunteer Coordinator at the LGBT Center of Raleigh as well as an adult volunteer with their youth programming. Natalie attended North Carolina Central University and currently works in the field of customer service. When not working, Natalie enjoys building legos and playing with their two dogs, Niko and Chowder.

Kaley Fry

Kaley Fry

Bio coming soon!