Camp Fire welcomes all kids and teens! Our programs reflect America’s own diversity. We served more than 184,000 youth and their families in 2017. Fifty-eight percent girls, 42 percent boys, and .1 percent transgender. Last year, eight percent of our participants were individuals with disabilities. Generally, our race and ethnographics track right along with U.S. census data, with a little higher proportions reporting they were “multiracial” or “other race” than in the rest of the country.
Camp Fire includes kids from all economic backgrounds, languages, abilities, identities and sparks. We need all of the sparks! Inclusion and diversity is one of our sparks because we know kids thrive in inclusive and diverse environments.
Studies have shown diverse schools (in both socioeconomic levels and race) boost creativity, grades, test scores and college enrollment. Integrated schools can reduce both dropout rates and achievement gaps between kids of different races.
(If you want to take a deep dive into the benefits and complexities of school integration, we suggestion settling in for This America Life’s two-part audio series, “The Problem We All Live With,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones.)
But it’s not just academic achievement at stake. Kids in diverse environments benefit socially and emotionally as well, as they learn early to question biases and stereotypes and seek out diversity throughout their lives. Research at the classroom level reports more diverse settings raised students’ feelings of safety at school and reduced bullying and loneliness—across all races. Some studies even show that students at diverse colleges have higher self-confidence and leadership abilities.
Experiences with inclusion and diversity at an early age prepare kids for success in their adult lives. And not just because inclusive people with diverse networks tend to report higher levels of well-being. Recent research shows inclusive, diverse companies just do better. They come with better ideas, and they literally make more money. So there’s that.
So we’ll keep on welcoming, championing and speaking up for all kids, everywhere. Because we think—and the data proves—we’re stronger together!