NBC10- Deanna Durante
A camp for adult men claims to use sports therapy to help men deal with same-sex attraction. NBC10's Deanna Durante talked with organizers as well as critics who stood outside the camp in protest today.
While many people gather this holiday weekend to spend time with family and friends, there's a sports camp being held outside of Philadelphia for adult men -- claiming to offer help to deal with same-sex attractions.
"Are you or a loved one experiencing homosexual attractions and looking for answers?," Courage asks on their homepage.
The Courage Sports Camp, being held at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., believes that if men let go of the anxiety and shame they may have felt playing sports as a child, it will help them resist gay urges.
A coach at the camp tells NBC10.com that this type of "sports therapy" can help.
"A lot of these guys that are struggling with same sex attraction have some of this as the root cause of their disorder," said coach Mark Houck.
One participant, who asked not to be identified, explains how the camp has helped him.
"When I play sports, it connects me in a way that's deeper than sex. In that sense, it repairs, you know, what I think was missing," the man said.
Courage has more than 100 chapters worldwide and offers a twelve step plan, similar to what you'd find in an Alcoholics Anonymous program.
"We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable," is step one of the program.
"The purpose of Courage is not to cure or fix or change anybody except from the point of view of helping people to understand what's the moral thing to do, what God would like them to do with their life and to give them the support to do that," said Father Phil Bochanski, one of the camp organizers.
"You can't pray the gay away." That's what one protester stated on a sign as he stood alongside other critics outside the camp Friday.
"This group is based on the Catholic church and it's stuck in its ways, it's not going to change and as far as I'm concerned they are causing some real harm and damage to the gay community," said Ed Coffin of the Peace Advocacy Network.
Organizers say all the camp participants are there of their own free will and can leave anytime they want.