Camp Tapawingo’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
In diversity there is beauty and there is strength. — Maya Angelou
In line with YWCA Toronto’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, A Bold Purpose, Camp Tapawingo fully embraces a radical transformation of society where all women, girls and gender diverse people can thrive. That is why Camp Tapawingo is committed to increasing the diversity of campers and staff. We want to create a more inclusive environment so that our excellent camp experience is shared more equitably. There is much work to do, but we are committed to making the necessary changes to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in our camp programs and services.
What Diversity Equity and Inclusion Means to Us
At Camp Tapawingo, to quote Verna Meyers, “diversity is being invited to the dance, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” We believe that our campers, families and staff, across race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, place of origin, disability and other identities, have a right to full inclusion and engagement.
As a part of this commitment, we have developed a Five-Year Action Plan to advance our DEI strategy forward until we eliminate inequalities in access to Camp Tapawingo. Below are some of the key steps we are taking to ensure a diverse camp that promotes equity and inclusion:
- Diversity metric: We aspire to be a camp that is representative of Toronto’s diverse demographics. Therefore, 30% of all summer camp registrations in 2023 are reserved for racialized, Indigenous, low-income, disabled and gender diverse campers. We have developed a self-identification questionnaire to include with our registration package to ensure our goals are met.
- Camperships: Making camp accessible to children from diverse economic backgrounds is an important aspect of our plan. We have an ambitious goal of ensuring 20% of all campers during the 2023 season can attend camp at no charge or at a reduced cost as part of our campership program. For more information about this initiative and to register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Staffing: We will widely share all job openings in various settings, including with community agencies serving diverse populations. Currently, an audit of Camp Tapawingo’s operational and administrative processes is underway to remove any barriers to entry for prospective staff, which includes a review of our interview process.
- Training/Professional Development: All staff, including both year-round and sessional staff, will participate in training on implicit bias, racism, micro-aggressions, and harassment before camp begins. Topics will range from unconscious bias to cultural safety and inclusion in the workplace.
- Behaviour: Bullying, discrimination, harassment or any other harmful behaviour towards children, staff or parents will not be tolerated at Camp Tapawingo. We are committed to a Camp environment where everyone feels safe.
- Program accessibility: We will develop and implement culturally appropriate, inclusive programs and activities geared to the needs of our campers. For the 2023 season, we are offering a 5 day camp program for campers of all ages to increase accessibility for campers.
- Content: Our marketing content is actively being evaluated to uncover any concerns and ensure every camper feels welcomed and seen.
- Partnerships: To strengthen our capacity to serve diverse populations at Camp, we will collaborate with key community stakeholders and Camp constituents to identify and develop strategies to improve access and participation for all campers and staff.
- Outreach: Our outreach strategy is broadened to include Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods so we can connect with hard-to-reach youth who may be experiencing isolation and may have limited access to camp opportunities.
Some of these steps will be implemented quickly, while other steps will certainly take time. We commit to making steady progress on a yearly basis and keep stakeholders informed.
Resources for Adults and Children on Diversity
The way children understand the world evolves as they grow, and it is never too late to begin the conversation with them about equality. We understand that finding the right starting point to these conversations can be hard. Below is a list of some age-appropriate resources that may help: