Camp Equity is a virtual camp where students engage with today’s most pressing social justice topics from nonprofit leaders who are creating a better world. Our camp combines inspiring presentations with intimate discussions, allowing our campers to form close connections with other like-minded youth from around the country while discovering how all our lives intersect.
Camp Equity was created in the summer of 2020 in response to three pressing issues in our unprecedented year:
- When George Floyd was murdered parents sought advice and resources on engaging their children.
- Over the summer millions of dollars worth of individual donations were directed towards non-impacted led groups.
- In the world of virtual learning there exists an opportunity to bridge geographically diverse young people who gain empathy through connection.
Our three co founders spent five intense weeks planning, dreaming and building and in the fall of 2020 our pilot was launched! We were blown away by the response and will become a full time organization in January 2021.
Each Camp Equity session is grounded in the belief that by exposing young people to grassroots leaders and by creating space for them to grapple with current issues with their peers, changemaking work will be inspired. Every instructor-led session opens with a talk laying the groundwork of that week’s studied movement or topic. Campers then break out into their virtual campers where they will meet with a diverse group of similar-aged campers to engage in facilitated discussions and activities with an assigned counselor. The group then comes back together for a full-camp Q and A!
Our instructors are grassroots leaders with lived-experience whose work directly uplifts a specific social justice movement such as the Black Lives Matter Movement, Indigenous Rights, Immigrant Rights, Climate Justice, Workers Rights and Disability Rights. Each instructor works directly with our founder and former High School Teacher Donnie Belcher to develop engaging, inspiring, and developmentally appropriate talks for the campers and follow up questions for facilitation within each cabin. All instructors are provided an honorarium donation to use at their organization however they see fit and we are humbled for them to share their stories with our camp!
Counselors are passionate and active community members? and who deeply believe in young people’s ability to create change. They receive facilitation training from Camp Equity’s leadership team and are provided with on-call assistance while camp is in session. You can read about our past counselors here!
For Camp 101 and our Deep Dives there is no homework! We know things are hard right now and having anything extra can feel like a large burden to bear. While we do provide suggested articles, books, films and more to explore on their own time, nothing is required of campers outside of camp. Camp 201 does require a small number of time spent outside of camp each week to allow for deeper discussions at a higher level.
Upon signing up for Camp Equity we will ask campers to fill out a brief survey about their age, demographics, and some other basic information. We will use these answers to form groups that are diverse across various areas, but are similar by age group. It is our goal that this will be a wonderful opportunity for young people to meet similarly interested youth from around the country with whom to form deep relationships over the course of camp.
The wealth gap in the area known as the United States has more than doubled in the past thirty years and we currently have a higher rate of income inequality than any other developed nation in the world. Camp Equity celebrates everyone attending our camp and leaves it up to you and your family to determine what you would like to pay through an equity lens. If you are someone who has generational wealth, has benefitted from policies that do not treat all as equal, or receive a high salary even though nurses, teachers, and other, lower paid professions work just as hard, we invite you to select a higher price point for your child to attend. At the same time, if times are tough but you think your child would enjoy camp, please sign up for free! We at Camp Equity know that the value in your bank account has nothing to say about the value of your life. No one will “check” on what you select and the cost is up to you. Finally, if you don’t have a camper but want to help supplement another person’s tuition, feel free to buy a registration at any level that works for you!
Camp Equity applies for outside and individual funding to cover our administrative and personnel costs. Thus, every dollar of tuition goes directly to our programs in the following ways:
- A Thriving Wage To Our Counselors: At Camp Equity we believe in a thriving wage for all and ensure that our non-profit leaders and counselors receive above market rate pay in a profession that is so often undervalued, particularly when positions are held by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). By signing your child up for camp you indicate that you believe this work is worthy, needed, and that you celebrate those who are undertaking it today.
- Honorariums to Our Instructors: The vast majority of our instructor identify as BIPOC or gender nonconforming and are thus the most likely to be asked to provide free labor or otherwise be undercompensated for their work. We provide substantial honorariums to our instructors that reflect the depth of their knowledge and experiences.
- Our Fiscal Sponsor: Finally, we are thrilled to be partnering with Creative Reaction Lab, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, train, and challenge Black and Latinx youth to become leaders in designing healthy and racially equitable communities, to provide fiscal sponsorship for Camp Equity in our inaugural session. Ten percent of our entire earnings will go to support their work helping create equity in the world today.