Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Embracing The Larger Culture


Published on

Experience and advice for recruiting diverse campers and staff from Camp Kupugani Multicultural Camp

  • Login to see the comments

  • Be the first to like this

Embracing The Larger Culture

  1. 1. KEVIN GORDON, CAMP KUPUGANI Embracing the Larger Culture
  2. 2. People of Color in Camping <ul><li>Underrepresented in ownership, directorship, staffing </li></ul><ul><li>Overwhelming majority of camp directors and campers is Caucasian </li></ul><ul><li>Inhibits the broader camping field from providing universal access to quality experiences </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Bottom Line is… Any business model must respond to the needs of a large client pool, or will soon be out of business or competing for a shrinking share of a small pie.
  4. 4. My Story <ul><li>Tennis pro in a Jewish girls summer camp </li></ul><ul><li>As time went on, I saw homogeneity- with very few camps intentionally attracting, supporting, and maintaining a diverse camper base. </li></ul><ul><li>A Harvard graduate in psychology, Berkeley Law alumnus, and former attorney at a prestigious law firm, Kevin Gordon directs Camp Kupugani at Camp White Eagle, a multicultural program for girls and the only black-owned private, residential camp in the U.S. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What Camp Kupugani has to Offer Camp Kupugani is a unique program that promotes diversity and empowerment of young women. “Kupugani” is a Zulu concept meaning “to raise oneself up.” The fundamental tenet of Camp Kupugani is to expose girls of varied backgrounds and ethnicities to each other.
  6. 6. 20/20 Vision Our Camp Kupugani mission corresponds with the ACA’s 20/20 vision: we can expand how camps contribute to positive child and youth development in an expanding national and global community.
  7. 7. What Camp Kupugani has to Offer <ul><li>Valuable Life Experience: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community and Self-Empowerment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social intelligence skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploration of cross-cultural issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultivate friendship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice teamwork </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fun activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rock climbing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ga-ga </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>River walking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Canoeing and playing under waterfalls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Night hikes under the stars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carefully designed group activities and games so that fun and personal growth coincide! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. No magic...just hard work <ul><li>No magic tool that is going to automatically recruit any camper, regardless of culture, background, or ethnicity </li></ul><ul><li>Camp families—whether “traditional” or not- weigh the prospective costs and benefits when contemplating sending a child to camp </li></ul>
  9. 9. Safety- Physical and Emotional <ul><li>Physical safeguards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiring (background and reference checks, in-person interviews of new employees) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Against physical intrusion by strangers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systemic protections against camper-camper problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Emotional safeguards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimization of homesickness and bullying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensuring camper emotional development </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Demonstrate Cultural Relevance <ul><li>Genuine understanding of the values, lifestyles, and behaviors that parents are trying to promote. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural relevancy requires an individuated approach: assess the driving motivator to go to camp. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize how your camp can help. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Staff Members <ul><li>Hire Staff of Color </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t have or can’t find diverse staff, institute systems to recruit and develop them. </li></ul><ul><li>Developing relevant support systems is vital, so that non-traditional campers don’t feel alone and unsupported. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Staff Members
  13. 13. Strategies for Diverse Staffing <ul><li>Commit to Diversity from the Top Down. </li></ul><ul><li>Diversify Search Committee. </li></ul><ul><li>Broaden Your Candidate Pool. </li></ul><ul><li>Reach Students of Color. </li></ul><ul><li>Impress Candidates of Color. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Strategies for Diverse Staffing <ul><li>Emphasize Skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Watch for “Fit”. </li></ul><ul><li>Be Self-critical. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Varied Learning Styles </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage a camp culture respecting difference. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Programming <ul><li>Ensure that your camp programming promotes and supports diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>Be intentional in addressing issues of difference. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strive for emotional safety </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn and practice conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><li>resolution techniques </li></ul>
  16. 16. Lines of Communication <ul><li>Be creative with your message! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Give your child an opportunity for the human connections, awareness of the natural world, independence, and character development that only a quality camp experience can provide.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where do you start with a camper base of zero? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Foster relationships with specific communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish positive word-of-mouth stemmed from affirmative experiences </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Camp Communications <ul><li>Many camps have longstanding policies prohibiting direct parent-child communication. </li></ul><ul><li>You can establish a level of confidence in your judgment and experience so that they will trust that such parent-child communication may inhibit their child’s growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Possible Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parent to camper emails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Packages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posting pictures daily </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowing calls during meals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Camper to parent emails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open camp policy: first-time camp parents can drop in and see for themselves that their child is okay. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Pre-Camp Communications- Promotion <ul><li>People who are ready to listen: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilize bilingual promotional materials like website pages, brochures, and DVDs. You can also use targeted radio or print ads. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>People who have not been exposed to camping: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborate with community partners with established relationships with people of color- schools, parent associations and parent volunteers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer family weekends. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer scholarships or contests, and organize camp presentations. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Director to Parent Communication <ul><li>Non- traditional parent comfort is based largely on extensive director- parent communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-traditional parent comfort = simplified camper transition into camp, a better camp experience, and leads to that all important positive word-of-mouth </li></ul><ul><li>This communication exposes the benefits of camp to people who would otherwise be reluctant to help evolve the camp culture. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Post-Camp Communications <ul><li>Post camp communications provide a great opportunity to continue building on a good camp experience and really build positive word-of-mouth. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The director who calls just to say hi and see how a child is doing shows how the camp family can be integrated with the home family. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Counselor-parent communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Counselor-camper communication </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Alternatives to Communication Barriers <ul><li>Bilingual staff </li></ul><ul><li>Online translation </li></ul><ul><li>programs </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural awareness </li></ul><ul><li>should also serve as a </li></ul><ul><li>motivator to speak to </li></ul><ul><li>each parent as an individual </li></ul>
  22. 22. It’s Worth It! Opening up the camp experience so that all children have the opportunity to go to camp and feel supported is a momentous reward of intentionality. To get to 20/20, we must act now.
  23. 23. More Questions? <ul><li>Please feel free to contact me! </li></ul><ul><li>Visit camp online at </li></ul><ul><li>Email me at </li></ul>