We are SO EXCITED to announce that we will be speaking at this year’s ACA Tri-State conference in March on Gender Inclusive cabins. Unirondack was one of the, if not the first summer camp to offer gender-inclusive cabins to the general summer camper population back in 2014. We’ve since expanded this option to all age sessions and all sessions. We could not be happier to share our experience with hundreds of camps in the northeast so they may learn how to include this necessary program aspect to their communities.
Like many great ideas we incorporate in our summer program, the idea of offering gender-inclusive cabins originated with our campers at our daily camp council meeting. Eventually, the staff brought the issue up with leadership staff and the Board of Directors. In 2013 I (Kris Fiore) pitched the idea with a presentation to the board to offer a trial run of gender-inclusive cabins in our Ballou sessions. At the time, I couldn’t find a single other summer camp that was offering gender-inclusive cabins to their campers which made proving its success difficult. The board narrowly voted to support the initiative, although it’s worth noting that the concept had almost universal support.
The first year had many additional steps to take before implementation. I sent out a letter to the entire Unirondack community, wrote to all camper parents who registered, and we had staff and camper meetings with our Program Director, Caleb Seguin and myself with the counselors and campers of each cabin on the first night.
After 3 successful years, I again returned to the board with the goal of expanding our gender-inclusive cabin offering to our entire camper population and in 2017 we had at least one gender-inclusive cabin for every age group. In the end, gender-inclusive cabins have been a huge success for Unirondack. For our gender nonbinary campers, trans campers, and cis campers alike.
I can’t wait to see how far this initiative will take the summer camp world and we’re happy to be one of the first camps in the country to start it!