Friends and Colleagues,

We know that camp can be a vehicle to build a better world. Every summer, we work to inspire our campers and staff to discover and be the very best version of themselves. Today we call on you to join us in denouncing the verbal assaults and physical attacks experienced by Asian American and Pacific Islanders across the US and take steps to end the racism, hate, and violence that these and other beloved members of our community continue to face.

This is not the first time we have called on you as individuals and as our collective camp community to acknowledge and take action against the racism plaguing our nation. As we step closer to summer with each passing day, we have to acknowledge the emotional baggage, trauma, and challenges that many of our campers and staff will bring with them when they walk through our doors. As camp professionals, we must ask ourselves how we can ensure that all of our campers, families, staff, and communities know that they are valued, they belong at camp, and their contributions are prized in the camp experience. We must correct false narratives when they arise, question bias, and take active steps within each of our communities to end the perpetuation of racism and hate.

We encourage you to utilize these resources to support your work, and join us on April 29 as we continue our webinar series on race conversations with tools and activities for engagement at camp.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will continue to be at the core of ACA’s work.

In 2019, 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 2020, we engaged a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy to help us expand our DEI efforts. Based on this work, a comprehensive DEI implementation plan for ACA is currently in development.
  • Get More Kids to Camp: We’re building a plan to make sure young people feel safe, included, seen, valued, and empowered at camp. We are working with educators and out-of-school time partners to ensure that camp is a significant part of the solution to the disruption and loss our children have experienced this past year.
  • Create Pathways: Cultivating camp staff from diverse backgrounds is critical to making US camps not only accessible and inclusive, but agents of change. We’re developing resources and partners to strengthen seasonal and professional staff recruitment practices, starting with our Leadership Pathways initiative to expand staff representation through counselor-in-training programs.
  • Cultivate Empathetic Youth Voices: To break the cycle of prejudice and bias, we need to engage young people in meaningful dialogues that impact their experiences, promote lasting learning, and erase bias. All year, ACA Now, the Camp Wire podcast, Camping Magazine, and our regional and national conferences have featured DEI thought leaders, speakers, and sessions to facilitate and encourage dialogue on this important topic.

Camp is for everyone. Together, we must work to create camp experiences that include and support every child.

Scott Brody
Chair, ACA Board of Directors

Tom Rosenberg
ACA President/CEO