INCLUSION AT OUR PREK-12 PROGRAMS
Afterschool, Field Trips, Virtual & In-class Environmental Education
At Camp Fire Minnesota, inclusion is one of our core values, and we strive to live that value every day. We believe that each young person should have the opportunity to engage in the outdoors freely and safely. To do that, it’s our responsibility to create a space where they can be their full authentic selves and be accepted for who they are.
You can see this commitment in action in a variety of ways when you engage in Camp Fire programs. And we’re developing an Inclusion Plan that will guide and hold us accountable along our journey.
Discover more about what that looks like during our Afterschool and Environmental Education Field Trips, and Virtual and In-Class programs – and view our main inclusion page here.
We believe every young person should have access to the outdoors without financial barriers. Thanks to the support of generous community partners and other supporters we provide free and reduced-price programs.
- Afterschool programs are provided at no cost to our partner schools and include options for participants to attend school break camps, partner overnights, and summer camp for free.
- PreK-12 environmental education field trips, virtual, and in-class programs offer financial aid (based on free and reduced lunch rates) to partner schools.
We recognize that outdoor spaces, including camps, are not always safe and welcoming places to Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC). You can read more about that history here. We believe and know that Black Lives Matter, and we work to create outdoor spaces where BIPOC communities feel safe and affirmed. Here are some ways we’re working towards racial diversity, inclusion, and equity:
- Our programs focus on centering the individual experiences of each young person. Program materials and participation waivers are offered in multiple languages. During on-site programs, we strive to accommodate the needs of all students by offering a space for meditation or prayer. All our bathrooms are equipped with Lotas and we provide alternatives to pork and pork by-products whenever serving snacks to students.
- We acknowledge that we have a history of cultural appropriation. We are working alongside the national Camp Fire office to acknowledge our history and begin repairing the harm caused to Indigenous communities. Find out more about this work here.
- Staff attend diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings that address race and ethnicity.
- We know that representation in our staffing matters, and we have space to grow in this area. We are focused on continuing to build a team that reflects the diverse communities we serve and are working with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant to make improvements to our hiring, outreach, and retention process.
Gender and Sexuality
We welcome and affirm Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) participants, campers, and staff. While our program is focused on young people finding their spark in the outdoors, our staff are trained to navigate age-appropriate conversations and questions as they arise. Here are some of the practical ways we support the LGBTQIA2S+ community:
- Our staff wear nametags with their pronouns displayed, and we encourage others to respect those pronouns.
- Our Excelsior property includes all-gender restrooms and all-gender cabin options for groups staying overnight.
Ability, Mental Health and Neurodiversity
We aim to provide support and eliminate barriers that may impact a student’s ability to fully participate. Here are some things we do to support students of varying abilities and neurotypes:
- Our staff receive additional training in Youth Mental Health First Aid and many have a background in supporting young people with Mental, Emotional and Social Health challenges, ADHD, and autism.
- Field trip students are welcome to come with a school nurse who will remain in their group at all times.
- The Community & Dining Center at our Excelsior property has acoustic paneling to dampen noise and a porch that offers sensory-safe seating.
- When programming with students at our Excelsior property, we offer a space with fidgets and noise-canceling headphones so students can take a break from their group and rest in a quiet environment, supervised by their school staff.
Dietary Restrictions and Medical Needs
We offer specific accommodations to support students’ medical and dietary needs while they are programming at our Excelsior property. Here are some things we offer:
- We are a nut-free campus, so we ask field trip students and staff to bring a nut-free lunch.
- Our health office has a refrigerator specifically for refrigerated medications.
- For Afterschool participants attending programs at our Excelsior property, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions through the meals we serve.
- For Field Trips at our Excelsior property, we do not provide meals or beverages on-site; students will only eat the meals approved by their school and parents/guardians.