Takeaways from the Women in Camp Summit
The Women in Camp Summit is a unique experience. A two day summit typically hosted in Illinois, it is a safe space to speak to the #ladycamppro across the camping industry. It is a wonderful place for professional development, discussions, and networking designed for those who identify as women working in summer camp. This year the summit was virtual, as most conferences moved to in 2020.
CampBrain sponsors individually to attend the summit. This year, we sent Julia Fulton from YMCA Camp Kitchikewana, who graciously shared her experience and takeaways of the summit:
After being unable to attend the Women in Camp Summit in 2019, I was absolutely thrilled with CampBrain’s generous offer for me to attend the conference this past December. The conference was well-organized, and despite being held virtually, fostered a sense of community among attendees. There was one thing, however, the Women in Camp Summit 2020 did that stood out to me: they focused on anti-racism.
Black Lives Matter at camp, and everywhere. The camping industry is one whose systemic racism can be seen in many camp’s origins, traditions, and lack of diversity in leaders and campers, to name but a few. The conference organizers clearly had anti-racism as a priority when planning the conference, and they did not shy away from the conversations and learnings required to make our camps anti-racist.
“If it isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism”: This is something I have been hearing for years, and was impressed and inspired by the way the organizers of the Women in Camp Summit put this into action. We aren’t succeeding in creating spaces for women unless we are intentional in making sure those spaces actively include, and are designed for, Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour.
Providing much more than lip service, this conference walked the walk when it came to being intentionally anti-racist. By hosting a panel discussion called “Women Around the World'', the conference held space for highlighting the incredible work of women of colour in the camping industry worldwide. In the agenda, nearly every block of sessions offered an option that addressed some element of anti-racism in camps, and leaders were given tangible tools in order to do anti-racist work in their camp settings. I am appreciative of all of the opportunities to learn from Black, Indigenous, and Women of Colour, and was grateful that the conference intentionally focused on anti-racism.
I gained many tools that I have and will continue to introduce at my camp; I sincerely thank the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in the camping industry who took their valuable time to educate me and the other attendees on how racism presents itself at camp, and how we as leaders can do better to make our camps anti-racist. I am grateful for the WIC Summit for holding space for this learning in order to equip leaders with tools and learnings in order to make camps anti-racist.
Thank you Julia for your wonderful insight and takeaways!
If you'd like to be considered to be sponsored for the Women in Camp Summit, make sure to follow our Facebook page where we will share details in September 2021.