To Our Coniston Community:
Black lives matter. We apologize for not speaking up sooner to say this and make sure you all know that we are paying attention and that we as an organization unequivocally believe in the cause of racial justice, stand with the Black community, and condemn racism.
We didn’t release a statement earlier both because we were afraid to say the wrong thing and because we weren’t sure if we had anything valuable to add to this conversation. We also did not want to make an empty statement that isn’t backed up by concrete actions Camp is taking to become a more inclusive and actively anti-racist organization.
However, we realized last week that the wrong thing to say is nothing at all. We want you, our Coniston community, to know we are paying attention, we are listening, we are having conversations, and we are actively working on those concrete steps. We understand the importance of taking action and we hope you understand that it will take time to figure out how to translate the values each of us on staff and on our board holds individually into actions that an entire organization takes — including steps to make sure that we are truly living our anti-racist values and teaching them to campers during camp sessions when we are once again open.
Camp has always worked hard to teach and live the values of respect, honesty, inclusivity, responsibility, and caring. But we acknowledge that we need to and must go further and we’re deeply committed to doing that. We also acknowledge that, despite our good intentions, Camp has not always felt welcoming to every community member.
As a predominantly white organization, we have a special responsibility to our community to teach and model anti-racist behavior. History teaches us that movements for change are most successful when privileged communities use their voices to advocate on behalf of marginalized communities. And our hearts tell us that it is the right thing to do.
John Tilley, John McNair, Nicole Berthiaume
June 10, 2020