Off Season/In Service – Directors and Learning All Year Round
Camp is an inclusive environment. Camp is community. Camp provides a place for people to overcome their fears.
Almost a week ago Runoia Directors attended a day long workshop on gender identity and campers at camp.
Two of the guests were 10 year old Lia and 15 year old John. Both attended the conference with their parents. These children were in a room full of 85 camp professionals and telling us their stories. Their stories were focused on their hopes for finding a place to belong, to be a camper, to try things at camp that they don’t usually do at home and to feel a community of support while doing these things.
A room full of camp professionals who spend their lives working round the clock to make their camps the best place possible for all children listened and spoke up, took in information and wrote ideas on newsprint to digest and dissect…. all to figure out how Maine camps can be the leaders in how to include transgender children who want to belong to a camp. It’s a progressive thought to say the least.
The honest truth? These children want to be children and enjoy their summer at camp just like all other children you know. It takes issues we struggle with every day and makes them simple. It’s slightly mind bending or mind blowing depending on how you think about it. And, let’s remember, these children don’t have a campaign or issue with anyone else. They just want to slip in and be part of the fabric of their camp communities.
So, whether it is pottery or horseback riding, skiing or climbing a mountain, we have children who want to be part of camp. What’s wrong with that? In the spirit of inclusive community, creating a place where people can be themselves and enjoy a summer at camp in Maine, these children deserve to be able to face their fears on the Dragon Fly zipline, in a ski boat, on a horse or at the potter’s wheel.