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How Can Camps Track Progress Towards Their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goals?

Dr. Allison Dymnicki, principal senior associate at Abt Global, and Dr. Ann Gillard, research director at SeriousFun Children’s Network

The What?

SeriousFun Children’s Network camps and programs support the idea that “All youth –regardless of their identity or circumstances –should be able to experience a sense of belonging that supports their development within and across the systems and settings where they spend their time. Advancing equity is key to building systems where all youth feel valued, respected, and supported.[1]

The Why?

We, at SeriousFun Children’s Network, are behind this idea because we know advancing equity and evaluating our equity related efforts will tell us If we are doing what we planned to do, if we are achieving the goals that we set out to achieve, and whether and how to adjust the activities, policies, and practices to more fully achieve our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals.

The How?

But how can camps effectively monitor their DEI related efforts and the progress being made towards our DEI goals? Drs. Dymnicki and Gillard recently developed a resource to help camps evaluate their DEI work.

Here are some key takeaways (but this is just a teaser, the resource has so much more!)

1) Evaluate your organization’s DEI work at the beginning, middle, and end of an initiative or strategy.

  • At the beginning, create advisory committees, be good listeners, and plan out your evaluation carefully.
  • At the middle, set aside time for staff and others to reflect and debrief about the work. Ask questions such as “Who are we serving (in terms of campers) and who are we not reaching? Are we doing what we said we would? What is making our work stronger and what is preventing us from accomplishing our DEI goals?”
  • At the end, get input from campers, families, staff, and volunteers (if you can). Think about the expected and unexpected outcomes of your DEI related work, if you reached the groups you wanted to reach, and whose perspectives are still missing.

2) Evaluate your DEI staff trainings routinely. These trainings are important to do and evaluate. We have a list of questions that you can ask of staff who participate. Don’t just assume that your DEI training is working as you think it is.

3) Identify the needs and gaps in your DEI related work. Ask your Advisory Council members, families, and community members for their thoughts about needs and gaps, look at the data that you already have, and maybe do a formal needs assessment (if you have the capacity).

4) Evaluate how you are engaging campers and families. Get the perspectives of youth and families, and have your staff engage in self-reflection. We offer questions to ask campers and families and self-reflection questions for staff.

5) Evaluate if your program delivery is inclusive and equitable. Do observations of programs (we offer tools to use) and ask campers, families, staff, and volunteers for feedback (we suggest questions to ask campers and families and self-assessments for staff to use).

To maximize your efforts, collect data from a wide range of perspectives, give yourself space and time to reflect on the data, and think about what to do with the results. You can do this and we are here to help!

Click here for instant access to the report.

[1] Forum for Youth Investment, 2023, p. 6.

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