Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Our staff has been at camp for a full work week as of this Friday, though we define “work” a little differently over here. This first week we have been focused on getting to know each other and creating a wonderful community for our staff and campers. At each meal, Dan puts out name tags (written on keylogs) on the tables so staff have had the opportunity to sit with different people each meal. Our goal is to take our staff of 115 wonderful individuals and create a single community.
Over the past three nights, we have facilitated discussions that have allowed our staff to open up to each other, have a better understanding of what makes us different, and, in turn, what brings us all together. Thursday night our staff headed up to the tennis courts to participate in an inclusion activity. We lined up on the line separating the two courts as Molly Montgomery, one of our Health Aides, read out statements, such as “I have a skill that I can contribute to the North Star community,” or “North Star actively fights against racism and other forms of discrimination.” Our staff would move to the side designated to agree or disagree. When Molly stated “I have a friend here,” and “I have someone here I can talk to,” even though we’re only a few days in, the entire staff agreed.
As Molly asked us to point to the person they could confide in, people lifted both arms, turned in circles to find multiple people, and the warmth and compassion of this community was easy to see. With still 9 days left before our boys arrive, our staff continues to learn more about each other and themselves.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of listening to Brian Corley, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Single Story Inc. Brian specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion training in professional environments, schools, and diversity policies. He took us through a series of exercises to reflect on our own cultural differences, from how individualistic or collective our mindsets are, how we react to informality versus a hierarchy, and even how we perceive a person late to a meeting. This was part of our continuing mission to create a more diverse and inclusive community.