Why are we seeing more gender-inclusive options at camp?
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.
How do gender-neutral bathrooms work? What about changing times or shower time?
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?
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.