Inclusion is one of the YMCAs of Québec’s core values, and it is strongly reflected in Y camping. Inclusion means providing spaces where all feel welcome and safe, and where continuous effort is made to provide accessible programming and services to all members of our local communities. Through our dedication to inclusion, we strive to demonstrate solidarity with all the families in our Day Camp community.
What is the difference between integration and inclusion?
Integration is welcoming a camper to camp and ensuring their smooth transition into summer camp life. Inclusion at the YMCA day camps, on the other hand, is represented by all the extra and necessary steps our team takes to help support a camper’s every need so they feel included, have opportunities to grow, and can enjoy a positive experience at camp.
The YMCA Day Camps are inclusive for all families and children. We strive to take a needs, strength and interest-based approach; in order to support the wellness of all campers, and provide them an experience that includes dignity of risk, an opportunity to grow, and a place to feel belonging. Our day camps are founded in; an inclusive approach, an environment which values representation and diversity, and a camp experience free of as many possible barriers.
What does this look like at camp?
This approach can be seen at camp in many different ways. Our Companion program has played an essential role in supporting YMCA Day Camps to demonstrating and developing a more inclusive approach each summer. We wish for it to be recognized that inclusion is engrained within our fundamental approach at camp and is considered when planning and preparing staff training, camp programming, camper support, and many other areas of camp life.
In addition to our Companion program, you can see this demonstrated at camp in the following ways;
- Doing our best to hire diverse role models for our campers
- Using gender neutral language in our communications and when addressing groups
- Actively demonstrating our support for Black lives in camping, and in our communities
- When possible, providing additional support or tools to campers who are having a lot of trouble with a situation or behaviour
- Integrating Universal Design principals during camp programming sessions