Why are we seeing more gender-inclusive options at camp? In-page link
As we strive to create a more inclusive and affirming environment, moving away from the gender binary (I.e., only boys or girls as options), Camp Fire recognizes that gender and identity exist as a spectrum. By providing the option for gender-inclusive cabins, a camper doesn’t have to choose one versus the other based on how they identify. This also gives us the option for our camp programs where friends of opposite genders can request to be in the same cabin as they haven’t been able to before.
Camp Sealth has had many co-ed programs before, such as our specialty programs like Nocturnal, Adventure, and Kiwanis. We’re just offering more opportunities in programs like Wrangler and Classic camp to ensure more options available to all our campers, no matter their identity.
How do gender-neutral bathrooms work? What about changing times or shower time? In-page link
The two areas in camp with common use, multi-stall restrooms are in Rounds Hall and Wrangler, and these restrooms are gender-inclusive. They are also the only multi-stall restrooms on the property with urinals, which are clearly labeled and we are working on privacy structures around these. These common-use restrooms are ones that campers can use while out and around camp, in addition to single-use, private restrooms.
Cabin groups use an assigned bathroom in their home unit. Each cabin signs up for shower times and makes them effectively single-gender/more private during their use. This helps us to maximize both camper comfort and supervision between cabins and keep the bathroom cleaner. These bathrooms may be used by any cabin in the age group and all conventional social norms about respect, modesty, and civility apply.
Every person deserves physical privacy, but young people are often not allowed to experience this. Pop-up privacy tents in each cabin are also provided as additional changing spaces in cabins and at the waterfront.
What will supervision look like? In-page link
Our staff goes through extensive training on behavior management, child abuse prevention, and anti-bullying. We teach them to address things like bullying, inappropriate behaviors, camp romances, social awkwardness, and differing abilities. We will continue to empower our staff to supervise as they always have, looking out for both the individual and the group. For every cabin, every week, clear expectations and boundaries are set at the beginning and reinforced throughout the their time at camp.
During more sensitive times, such as shower time, we strive to have, at the very least two adults, in the vicinity. We have also updated our ‘buddy policy’ to a ‘truddy’ or group of three policy. This means that a group may be three campers, two campers, and one staff member, or two staff and one camper. That way we ensure two campers are never alone together or a staff member is never 1-on-1 with a camper without another adult in the vicinity.
Which programs are gender-inclusive? In-page link
The majority of our programs moving forward will have access to gender-neutral bathrooms. Each session we also provide the opportunity to request a gender-inclusive cabin. These requests are honored on an ‘as available’ basis depending on the number of requests in that camper’s age group. They cannot be guaranteed. For your gender-expansive or non-binary camper, you can also consider attending our Free 2 Be Me session, where we intentionally promote the gender-inclusive option so that they can attend with other campers who identify similarly.
The programs that were mixed-gender historically for us are still going to continue to be mixed gender. Those programs are Vashon Day Camp, Nocturnal, Kiwanis, and our Adventure trips, along with some of our specialty camps. Wrangler, our horse camp, still has some weeks that are girls only, with others, including Lil’ Buckaroos, that will have gender-inclusive options.
Do I still have the option for my camper to be in a single-gender cabin? In-page link
Yes, you can still request a single-gender cabin and a counselor of the same gender. The programs that were mixed-gender historically for us are still going to continue to be mixed gender. Those programs are Vashon Day Camp, Nocturnal, Kiwanis, and our Adventure trips, along with some of our specialty camp weeks like Arts & Camp. Classic camp & Wrangler will have both single-gender cabins along with the gender-inclusive option depending on demand. We support the ability of campers to come to camp as their authentic selves, campers are not monitored or reviewed to see if their gender expression matches their biological sex.