THRIVING THROUGH DIVERSITY,
EQUITY & INCLUSION
WHERE ALL YOUTH CAN
belong & thrive
CAMP FIRE’S DEFINITION OF THRIVING
When young people are thriving, they are connected to others, to nature, and to themselves with a loving awareness of their identities, dreams, passions, and needs.
They are invited to imagine their whole selves and to learn, grow, and achieve in a self-determined, purpose-driven way.
A place to simply be
For young people in particular, finding a place where they can simply be —where they can exist fully— can be very difficult, especially when who they are is challenged by society.
Relationships & support
That’s why Camp Fire designs identity-affirming, accessible environments in which youth can experience the relationships, fun, inspiration, acceptance, safety, and support they need in order to thrive.
Citing Dr. Kia Darling-Hammond: Darling-Hammond, K. (2021). Bridge to Thriving Framework. Wise Chipmunk.
INCLUSION IS ESSENTIAL TO
We take pride in our long-standing commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
We were the first multiracial, multicultural, and nonsectarian organization for girls in America when we began in 1910. Today, we strive to continue in that spirit and welcome everyone to Camp Fire.
“Camp Fire has been values-led since 1910. That’s why we’re committed to addressing and ending cultural appropriation and becoming an equity-focused organization.”
CAMP FIRE’S STATEMENT OF INCLUSION
Camp Fire believes in the dignity and the intrinsic worth of every human being. We welcome, affirm, and support young people and adults of all abilities and disabilities, experiences, races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, religion and non-religion, citizenship and immigration status, and any other category people use to define themselves or others. We strive to create safe and inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and foster positive relationships.
(last expanded and updated in Spring 2021)
RACISM, EXCLUSION, INEQUITY, AND CULTURAL APPROPRIATION ARE HUMAN-MADE.
AND THEY CAN BE UNDONE.
Becoming who we want to be
We are committed to creating a sustainable organization that best serves today’s and tomorrow’s youth and families, where every young person can be their whole selves, and connect with others and nature in a safe, affirming environment that strives to break down barriers and provide opportunities to thrive.
With these values in mind, Camp Fire developed our new Strategic Plan that focuses on 6 main goals:
- Uplift the Camp Fire community to build connection to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves.
- Champion a thriving workforce, present and future.
- Unify and amplify the Camp Fire brand to maximize organizational impact.
- Diversify funding and revenue streams to ensure Camp
Fire’s financial sustainability for future generations.
- Address the legacy of organizational practices, past and present, that appropriate Indigenous cultures.
- Journey toward equity and justice by advancing inclusion, dismantling racism and oppression in ourselves and our institutions.
Questioning power & repairing harm: Addressing cultural appropriation in our history
One of Camp Fire’s five interwoven strategic commitments is addressing and ending cultural appropriation. In 2020, Camp Fire began working with Thrive Paradigm to identify culturally appropriative elements of its programming and recommend changes aligned with Camp Fire’s values of equity and inclusivity. In April through July of 2021, Thrive Paradigm helped Camp Fire establish a task force, conduct an audit and develop recommendations for changes and next steps.
The task force reiterated that Camp Fire has a long, rich history of positive youth development and that removing culturally appropriative practices doesn’t detract from that. Instead, making thoughtful changes to end cultural appropriation and acknowledging the harm that appropriation has done is right in line with Camp Fire’s founding mission to “guide young people on their journey to self-discovery.”
Inclusion in action
At Camp Fire, our camps welcome and support all youth. In addition, councils may also offer special interest camps:
- Grief camps
- Family camps
- Special needs camps
- Camp for children with autism (K-12)
- School-break camps
- LGBTQ camps
- Camp for youth impacted by crime
- Gluten-free camp
- Camp for youth who are refugees
Young people help us co-create our programs.
Learn more about Camp Fire Teen Leadership opportunities.
In 2019, we began efforts to create greater access to overnight/resident camp among three cohorts of underserved youth: 1) young people from economically underserved backgrounds, 2) young people who identify as LGBTQ2S+, and 3) young people with disabilities. This work is made possible through a three-year grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. As part of the grant, Camp Fire National Headquarters hired Ben Matthews as our program consultant for diversity and inclusion.
2S is for Two Spirit. Two Spirit is a term designated for Native, Indigenous, and Alaska Native LGBTQ+ individuals. The word came from the Anishinabe language and means having both female and male spirits within one person. Two Spirit has a different meaning in different communities. –Tribal-Institute.org
Camp Fire is on a journey to acknowledge and rectify our history of cultural appropriation. Part of this journey is recognizing the harm that has been done and working to build new, trusted relationships with Native and Indigenous communities. As we move forward into new partnerships and spaces, we want to honor the significant and largely unrecognized contributions of Two Spirit and Indigenous people. By adding 2S to our LGBTQ2S+ acronym we remind ourselves that without these contributions we would not be here today and hold space in the future of Camp Fire for Native, Indigenous, and Two Spirit people to we welcome, affirmed, celebrated, and supported.
If you have exchanged emails with Camp Fire National Headquarters staff, you may have noticed that we have our personal pronouns in our email signatures. If you are not sure why they are there, or the importance of pronouns, check out this page to learn more!