All are welcome in this place
From the "Safe and Welcome" statement by Calumet's Board of Directors:
"God creates people with great diversity including race, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. God takes on a body in Jesus Christ, and in so doing deems all bodies holy. Calumet celebrates our God-given diversity and affirms that every body is made in God’s image -- beautifully and wonderfully made. We honor, respect, celebrate, and foster diversity: valuing the gifts of each member of our community. We continually seek to build and expand our community through programs of outreach and partnership; and, we continually seek to build and expand our awareness of and knowledge about our siblings in Christ through continuing education and training."
Here at Calumet, we have always worked to create a welcoming and affirming community for all of our campers at Calumet's Resident Camp for Kids. More recently we have reexamined and reformed some of our practices to make sure our LGBTQIA+ campers are not excluded from our mission. While our work is not complete, here are some changes we’ve made:
Calumet is a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) ministry. RIC is a designation Lutheran congregations and institutions receive after going through a thorough self-evaluation and self-examination. Though Calumet has been a welcoming landing spot for young adults for decades, it was important for Calumet to go through "The RIC Process." Calumet is one of the first camps in the ELCA to become an RIC camp/retreat center.
Calumet is working with "Transplaining" to educate our year round and summer staff on how to best support LGBTQ+ youth.
Education and Training
The 2023 Summer Staff were required to take a course with Transplaining and loved it!
The Calumet Board of Directors, as well as the year-round staff, will be taking a similar course this fall/early winter.
This training experience produces eager dialogue among staff members focused on how Calumet is doing in following through with its commitment to be a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQIA+ people. Our staff is awesome and their ideas for improvements and changes, big and small, make Calumet better. These expriences happen during Staff Week at the very beginning of the summer and it sets the tone for the season. This vitally important training and dialogue reinforces the importance of inclusion in our camp culture.
Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a matter of identity and sharing that information with others at camp is great! It is no different than saying you are Lutheran or you are from New Hampshire. However, we understand that talking about what you do sexually is inappropriate regardless of sexual orientation. While we encourage everyone to be their authentic self, we also make sure our staff are educated on boundaries when it comes to certain areas of anyone’s personal life.
* More private and accessible bathrooms for everybody have been built around camp.
* Menstruation hygiene and care products are available to all campers, regardless of which bathroom they use.
* Activities and programs are not gendered -- anyone can play basketball or make bracelets, as long as they are safe and having fun!
* On their first day at camp, all campers are made aware of these practices, shown where the private restrooms are, and encouraged to let their counselors know if they would like different accommodations.
* We don’t make anyone come out or disclose their LGBTQ+ identity. It is a camper and their guardian’s decision whether or not to disclose that information. If they choose to remain stealth or in the closet while at camp, that is their decision.
* When it comes to gender and housing preference, we know that everyone is different. If your camper is someone who would benefit from some special attention on our part so that they can be comfortable and successful at camp, please be in touch with us. We want to be sure that their housing assignment is appropriate.
* Everyone uses pronouns!
* Campers are asked to list their pronouns when registering for camp.
* Staff are also asked their pronouns during their application process.
* During resident camp drop off and pick up days our staff uniforms now include ID tags with pronouns.
* Gender neutral language on camp, because all are welcome.
* Staff will typically default to gender neutral language when addressing a group.
* Our iconic "BOOM CHICKA BOOM" cheer no longer includes the lyric that refers to Calumet as “the Lutheran camp for boys and girls”, but rather, “the Lutheran camp for everyone." Sometimes our counselors also choose to use the line, “All the kids.”
* Summer staff has begun neutralizing language in our other songs in a similar manner, we are also continually looking at the music we use at camp to make sure the music we use to worship reflects our values and does not include ableist, racist, or sexist language.
* We have begun the process of changing how our cabins and tents and buildings are referred to. Gender is no longer referenced in the names of living quarters and bathrooms.
* Physical signage and maps are also being updated to reflect these changes.
* While we are flexible with living assignments and bathroom choice, we always prioritize safety and privacy. As it has been in the past, staff and campers are not to be visiting living quarters or bathrooms other than their own.