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  • Nick M. Teich, PhD, LCSW

Why is trans & non-binary inclusion intimidating for some camps?

I've often heard camps say that they would like to - or "need to" - begin the conversation on gender inclusion, but they just don't know where to start. It seems overwhelming and intimidating. Unfortunately, that means for some that the path of least resistance is to leave things as they are. It might be tempting to think that policies and culture around trans and non-binary inclusion are not relevant. But, we all know that there are already trans & non-binary campers and/or staff at your camp. Before complacency starts to affect your camp in any number of ways, the time to act is now.

I always tell camps, "gender inclusion is not rocket science." Yes, you may have to change your way of thinking about the age old "boys over here" and "girls over here," but it also doesn't mean that everything about your camp will have to change. Here are some simple things to begin thinking about:

  • Does our camp have a general culture of inclusion with respect to people from all different backgrounds and those with differing points of view?

  • Is our camp a refuge for kids who sometimes feel like they can't be their whole self in school or at home?

  • Have we built a community over the years that alumni and parents want to continue to be a part of?

  • Do we support the emotional well-being of the kids and staff in our care?

If your answer is yes to these, then moving forward with more formal trans/non-binary inclusion is necessary in order to uphold your camp's values. It doesn't mean that everyone has to have the exact same point of view on the subject. Start from the most basic common denominator, which is the final bullet point above: do we support the emotional well-being of the kids and staff in our care? Then, build from there to ensure all of your constituencies understand why this inclusion is necessary.

For more info on helping your camp with gender inclusion, reach out! or 207.200.5228.

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