Friends and Colleagues:
In a country where we have so many rights, it’s tragic how many still don’t have true access to them.
Systemic racism leads directly to a loss of food and dignity, shelter and health, jobs, and lives.
We stand in solidarity with the millions of people who are angry, hurt and grieving, especially for all of those who have lost their lives to violence.
We will always remember George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and the tragic, long list of so many others.
We each have a role to play in not just calling for change but in leading by doing.
Camp experiences play an important role in helping to dismantle systemic racism and violence:
- At camp, we teach empathetic leadership
- At camp, we teach social justice
- At camp, we teach inclusion, belonging and community
- At camp, everyone is valued, included, belongs, and has a voice
Camp is for everyone.
ACA is working to help people of all backgrounds, beliefs, identities, and all abilities be valued inclusively and have access to camp.
Last year, ACA committed to a new strategic course to aggressively expand equitable access to camp, and to grow the camp community through diversity and inclusion:
- Deepen Strategic Intent: In January this year, we hired Nika White Consulting, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy, to ensure that we could make a fast start to expand our efforts.
- Get More Kids to Camp: Camp is for everyone, but especially for our most vulnerable families. We’re building a plan to make sure young people of color feel safe, included, seen, valued and empowered at camp.
- Create Pathways: Cultivating camp staff from diverse backgrounds is critical to making U.S. camps not only accessible and inclusive, but agents of change. We’re currently developing resources and partners to strengthen seasonal and professional staff recruitment practices.
- Cultivate Empathetic Youth Voices: To break the cycle of prejudice, we need to engage young people in meaningful dialogues that impact their experience, promote lasting learning and erase bias. What better context than camp to engage young people in social change?
Thank you, to each of you, for all you are doing to lift-up the field of camp and advance our critically important strategic plan in these most challenging times.
Everyone needs camp – but systemic racism, racial injustice, and economic inequality demand that our most vulnerable families have access to high-quality and safe camp experiences.
We must each do our part individually and collectively to end systemic racism and violence. Black Lives Matter.
ACA is here for you — and is with you.
Chair, ACA Board of Directors