These are extraordinarily challenging times. We know that COVID-19 is a novel, unprecedented virus. Unfortunately, we are also severely struggling with an ugliness that is all too familiar—systemic racism.
Looking Beyond Fun: Feeling Included is What Really Matters to Kids
When parents decide to sign up their kiddos for a week of summer camp, their heads are likely filled with images of their child scaling a rock climbing route, triumphantly paddling a kayak all by themselves, and, most importantly, coming home exhausted and happy five days in a row. Cultivating a culture of inclusivity is probably not the first skill that comes to mind at registration. And yes, I’m using the word skill here because the comprehension and practice of this type of social capability is not completely innate. Sure, some kids might have a natural talent for making others feel welcome in a group the same way some kids might be able to ride a bike without training wheels on the first day, but each skill begins with a lesson and is developed with practice. This is where the Respect PONY comes in.
“It’s more than just this simplistic concept of seeing more color on the trails. It’s about getting people out and embracing the outdoors as a lifestyle, in a way that acknowledges any limitations they face in life. You have to talk about low-income experiences, the immigrant experience, what it means for people to invest in gear, to balance it with work and life and family. You can’t just say ‘diversity.’ You have to see what’s barring people from getting to the outdoors.” - Ambreen Tariq in Outside Magazine, "To Diversify the Outdoors, We Have to Think About Who We're Excluding"
Topics: Diversity in the outdoors