Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Wilderness summer camp programs provide a unique opportunity in youth development. Historically, these types of highly impactful enrichment experiences have been reserved for families with significant financial means. A THOUSAND SUMMERS’ (ATS) primary mission is to bridge that financial gap and make camp accessible to youth who otherwise would not be able to attend. At the same time, we are committed to serving youth who represent the full breadth of diverse backgrounds. This means partnering with camp programs that invite people not simply to “fit in” with the spoken and unspoken cultural norms of those who have historically been represented at summer camp, but to feel a deep sense of belonging. We strive to ensure that each participant is valued for who they are and what they bring to the summer program they join. 

Dimensions of Diversity

There are many dimensions of identity that shape who we are. We know that some identities can be seen (race, gender) while others remain unseen or internal (sexuality, gender fluidity, neurodiversity). Background, social identities, personal interests, and many other factors impact each person’s experiences in the world and at camp. We know recognizing the complexities of these dimensions is essential in affirming everyone in our programs. We value the diversity that enriches camp and strive to create a sense of belonging for all who are part of our communities. We also know our programs are not the right fit for everyone. If you have a specific question, please contact us prior to applying to make sure that the programs you are interested in represent a good fit for you.

Racial Diversity

It is a priority for us to create welcoming spaces for people who have been historically underrepresented in camping. Our goal is to partner with communities that value and affirm individuals and families from all racial backgrounds. Additionally, we understand the importance of removing barriers that have prevented families of color from accessing wilderness summer camps.

Gender Inclusivity

We know that our community may include gender identities that do not fall into binary (girl/boy) gender categories, and we strive for inclusive spaces for all campers. While some of our summer experiences have historically been and may remain designed as single-gender programs, some of those camps are also welcoming of nonbinary and transgender youth. 

Affirming LGBTQIA+ Youth

Our goal is to provide safe, affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth. It is important for ATS to support all in our community regardless of their sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. We rely on the trained staff in our partner camps to support age-appropriate conversations and guide discussions when they arise.

Supporting Ability & Neurodiversity

Our programs welcome participants with various capabilities and can make reasonable accommodations for most applicants. We aim to provide support and remove barriers that may impact any camper’s ability to fully participate in our programs. Some campuses may be difficult to navigate for people with certain physical disabilities. Our camps value neurodiversity, and most can meet the needs of many neurodivergent campers, but we may not be able to accommodate every need that exists. To best support your camper, clear communication about the level of support your child requires is essential in setting them up for successful engagement in our programs.

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