Ever since over-night summer camps became popular there has always been a strict gendered segregation when it came to sleeping arrangements—boys in one set of cabins and girls in another set. Until now, that is.
A children’s summer camp on Vancouver Island is forgoing this long-standing camp tradition. The YMCA/YWCA Camp Thunderbird will be offering the option of mixed cabins to campers for the first time. The campers range between 8 and 11 years old, which is roughly grades three to five.
The camp will still be offer segregated cabins, so parents and campers will have the option of which type of accommodation they’d like to register for.
“Kids like to camp with their friends and sometimes their best friend is of a different gender,” the general manager of the camp told CBC.
He also explained another reason for the change is because some of the kids within the community don’t identify with the binary gender system.
Though there are plenty of camp options across North America that are designed around LGTBQ youth, this is one of the first more traditional camps that is offering a non-gendered approach. This take on the traditional summer camp experience is a step in the right direction for youth who don’t conform to binary genders, ultimately giving these youth a place where they can feel accepted and part of a bigger community.
Ferris hopes that the changes being made will send a message of inclusivity to campers and to the community altogether.
“Camp is great for everybody and, whether you’re fitting into the binary gender paradigm or not, it doesn’t really matter once you’re at camp and you’re having fun.”
What do you think?