Check out the recent press Tawonga has received on this pilot program – and don’t miss the full-length feature in the New York Times from August 23, 2019! Our community has been very receptive to this initiative, and we are grateful for the encouragement and support to be able to center the margins for our camper community.
At Camp Tawonga, Near Yosemite, an All-Gender Cabin Offers Respite
August 23, 2019
In an All-Gender Cabin, Summer Campers ‘Don’t Have to Hide’
August 22, 2019
Why are you offering all-gender cabin options?
Providing more choices for housing allows us to accommodate more campers’ gender identities and housing preferences. This is aligned with Tawonga’s mission of allowing each camper to be their authentic selves. Our goal is to ensure that every child who attends Camp is welcomed, included and celebrated.
Are you offering an all-gender cabin in all summer camp sessions?
In 2019 we piloted an all-gender cabin during Session 4 only. We are expanding our pilot program in 2021 and offering multiple all-gender cabins during Session B.
What age groups are going to be offered this option?
In our pilot year, we offered one all-gender cabin for rising 6th, 7th and 8th graders. In 2021 we are offering all-gender cabins for rising 5th through 10th graders during Session B.
If my child is attending a session and is in the eligible grade spread for an all-gender cabin, is there a chance that they could be housed in an all-gender cabin even if they don’t want to be?
No. This is an opt-in program.
How will you handle privacy and changing clothes in all-gender cabins?
There will be no public nudity in these cabins. Campers can change clothes in the bathroom, in their sleeping bags, or behind a curtain which will be installed in the cabins like a fitting room at a clothing store.
Who should live in an all-gender cabin?
These cabins are open to anyone in the eligible grade spreads who opt in during registration. It is a great option for children with non-binary gender identity, children who prefer to bunk with children of other genders, children who want to bunk with a friend who is non-binary, and campers who feel this is the best fit for any reason.
How will you determine which cabin my child lives in?
Parents whose children are in the eligible grade spreads can register for their child to live in an all-gender cabin.
What is the bathroom situation?
The all-gender cabins will have access to all-gender bathrooms and showers, as well as the boys’ and girls’ bathroom and shower facilities.
Who will be the counselors?
We will assign loving Tawonga counselors to the all-gender cabins and provide additional training and resources to them.
Will the all-gender cabins take away from the boys and girls cabins’ bunk experience?
Not at all! Creating community within each cabin remains the cornerstone of the Tawonga experience. We know there is a lot of power in girls creating a diverse sisterhood and boys creating a diverse brotherhood within their cabins, and that isn’t going away. We will continue to train counselors that there are many ways to express gender, and all gender expressions will be accepted and celebrated in all cabins.
Will there still be diversity of gender expression within the boys and girls cabins?
Yes. Tawonga believes there is not one right way to be a girl or be a boy and encourages all campers to just be themselves regardless of what cabin they live in.
Where can I find more information on gender diversity?
Here is a link to articles, books, and resources.