“Belonging is being accepted and invited to participate: being part of something and having the opportunity to show up as yourself…Othering, by contrast, is treating people from another group as essentially different from and generally inferior to the group you belong to.”
–Design for Belonging: How to build inclusion and collaboration in your communities by Susie Wise
Way back when I was in junior high school (I know, it’s middle school now!) my family had just moved from Mexico City where my father was working, to Sunnyvale California. I was 12 years old and completely unprepared for the changes I encountered. I knew the other kids were laughing at me behind my back because I thought I could still speak Spanish with kids I knew had to be Mexican. I was reprimanded, told that it was illegal to speak Spanish at school.
I felt like an outsider.
In high school, I went to overnight camp where I felt accepted and learned new ways of interacting with others. The insights I gained under the stars and trees opened the door to a career in recreation with the hope of helping other early teens to feel accepted. Thus began my life with Camp Fire in Solano County.
After two years as a field director and Camp Gold Hollow program director, I left to start my family. On my last day at Gold Hollow I breathed the familiar scent of the pines and looked back at the lodge and said to myself “One day I’ll come back and volunteer.” Now, beginning a new term as president of the Board of Directors, I am honored to have that chance again.
As Camp Fire faces a world where people want to feel a connection and to be part of something bigger, we at Golden Empire are working toward being a more inclusive, welcoming organization. Through workshops, training, and funding, we will explore a new and updated program framework for the council.
I hope you, too, will find a sense of belonging with us as we follow this new pathway.
Nancy Moore Wright, [email protected]
We invite you to read our Annual Report from 2021-2023; click photo to download.
Board meetings – September 28, October 26. Join via Zoom
Young people want to shape the world.
Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.
In Camp Fire, it begins now.