Becoming Who We Want to Be

The past year’s challenges forced all of us to take a hard look at who we are and who we want to become. 

As Camp Fire’s CEO, Greg Zweber, outlined in his end-of-year letter, we did some very important work together during a very difficult year. From meeting emergency pandemic needs to creating an Equity in Programs Task Force to launching a training course on making safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, we continued to help more kids light the fire within. But we’re far from done. 

When we teach Camp Fire kids about goal-setting, we tell them change doesn’t happen by accident. You need a plan. So we spent the last half of 2020 making a plan for becoming who we want to be—and who our youth have made it plain they need us to be: An equity-focused organization that prioritizes nature, youth voice and inclusion for all. 

After hearing from the larger Camp Fire community in a series of virtual forums, our Strategic Planning Task Force (which included our National Youth Advisor Cabinet) set a vision and laid out the steps to get there.  

Where are we headed on our Camp Fire journey? That’s our five-year vision: 

We are committed to creating a sustainable organization that best serves today’s and tomorrow’s youth and families. We will do this by offering programs where every young person can be their whole self and connect with others and nature in a safe, affirming environment. We will strive to break down structural barriers and increase access to opportunities that support youth, families, and whole communities to thrive. To work towards this vision, we believe in working to become an equity-focused organization. We will act and hold ourselves accountable to five strategic commitments.

Those strategic commitments are the how to our vision’s why. Over the next 18 months, Camp Fire National Headquarters will be focusing on these five essential goals: 

Advance diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and access. How? We’ll be writing DEI and access into our mission, vision and goals language; integrating DEI and access into our professional development plans; learning how to measure and track DEI and access progress; and more. 

Engage in actively antiracist practices. How? We’ll be offering antiracist training; recruiting and sustaining racially diverse staff and board members; identifying partnerships to help us better understand and incorporate the experiences of BIPOC youth; and more. 

Address and end cultural appropriation. How? We’ll continue our exploration of cultural appropriation in our materials and practices. We will work with indigenous communities to determine how to and then acknowledge harm; create a road map for needed changes; develop a cultural appropriation assessment tool; and more.  

Honor the power of young people with meaningful participation in decision-making. We’ll be auditing current youth voice and leadership opportunities and challenges; identifying a clear purpose for the National Youth Advisory Council; launching council recruitment efforts; and more. 

Promote environmental stewardship and action. We will be identifying and elevating environmental best practices; we’ll align our programs with environmental stewardship and action; we’ll be creating tools and training for integrating environmental action; and more. 

As you can see, this vision is big and these goals are going to take all of our imagination, dedication and cooperation to achieve. We are committed to this work because the youth we serve are experiencing ongoing traumas – a pandemic, the public murder of Geroge Floyd, the white supremacist insurrection at the Capitol, to name a few – and are searching for answers. We know that these events are not by chance – they are hundreds of years of structural racism and socioeconomic inequities in the making. As we’ve said before, our own colorblindness and privilege have kept us from engaging in this work in a deep and meaningful way in the past. Our youth need and desire better from us. This work is critical. Our children are watching.

Want to learn more? 

Join our fireside chat about Camp Fire’s strategic plan on Feb 3 at 3:30 CST! CEO Greg Zweber and Chief Strategy Officer Shawna Rosenzweig will take us on a deeper dive into Camp Fire’s next 18 months—and what each of us can do to make this vision a reality. 

Join Us!

January 15, 2021