This is what inclusion looks like
Camp Fire works to realize the dignity and worth of each individual and to eliminate human barriers based on all assumptions that prejudice individuals. Designed and implemented to reduce sexual, racial, religious, and cultural stereotypes and to foster positive intercultural relationships, in Camp Fire, everyone is welcome.
One of Camp Fire’s core values is inclusion. That means not just accepting every kid that signs up for a program, but proactively reaching out to young people who might lack access or be overlooked. What does that look like?
Take Camp Fire Green Country as an example. Several years ago, the council’s board made an intentional decision to invite underserved youth to participate. “We formed partnerships with school and community-based organizations to meet young people where they are”, says Jenny Briggs, program director. “Our programs are as different as the young people we are serving.”
Camp Fire Green Country’s programs and projects include:
- Partnering with other organizations to support LGBTQ+ teens at the high school level, through gay-straight alliances and youth-led initiatives.
- An out-of-school-time diversion program for kids who are at risk of being in trouble with the law
- Bilingual clubs and programming, including partnering with a pre-established ESL class for adults to provide high-quality bilingual youth programming for students’ children
- Clubs that reach kids who don’t always have access to transportation to get to other locations, like programming at public housing communities and at transitional housing for families escaping domestic violence
- Camp Fire’s first LGBTQ+ specific camping session
This kind of intentionally inclusive programming is happening at Camp Fire councils all over the country. Check out a few of the unique camp programs available:
- Camp Brave: This Camp Fire Heart of Iowa program is for young people who have been affected by crime, either as the child of a victim or as victims themselves. Funded by the Iowa Department of Justice and Victims Services Support Program.
- Camp Opportunity: Camp Fire Heart of Iowa also hosts scholarship sessions for kids who are refugees or the children of refugees.
- Camp You Bet I Can: Camp Fire Inland Northwest encourages campers with special needs to participate in sessions at both Camp Dart-Lo and Camp Sweyolakan.
- Shooting Stars: Camp Fire Central Puget Sound has a special session for young people on the autism spectrum.
- Camp Canoe is a summer day camp designed for youth with autism at Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma’s Camp DaKaNi.