Important News about Groups for Summer 2023 Jeannine Lawless

Sep 15 2022
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Dear Friends,

We hope you’re enjoying today’s beautiful weather, and that our campers are doing great!

We’re reaching out to let you know our plans regarding mixed/all gender groups for the 2023 camp season. First off, a record number of families completed the 2022 survey, and we thank you for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. What we learned from your feedback is that there is enough interest to move forward with offering mixed/all gender groups next summer, for those who want them. This is certainly a big shift from the traditional single gender groupings we’ve always offered, and it is an intentional change that we feel best aligns with our Promise of Inclusion: We will work to ensure that every member of the Sewataro community feels safe, valued, supported. Some members of our community will feel safer in a mixed/all gender group, and some will simply prefer it. By the same token, many will prefer to stay with the traditional single gender groups. Our intention is to create safe spaces for all!

We want to assure you that this is an additional offering to our single gender groups, not instead of. The choice is yours.

Below please find a list of FAQs that we hope will answer some of your questions. We recommend reading through this thoroughly to fully understand the additional considerations for campers placed in mixed/all gender groups. Once you’ve had a chance to read through the FAQs, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have that were not addressed. We will keep the FAQs updated on our website as new questions arise.

Important note: Your camper’s group preference will need to be selected on their application. (Reminder: the application goes live next Wednesday, September 21st, at noon!) We suggest discussing this with your camper (and perhaps their friend request) over the next week, so that you’ll be ready to make that choice on the application. Please note that once a selection is made, we will enroll your camper in the group of their choice (space permitting), and may not be able to make changes.

Keep an eye out for a follow-up email on Monday, with additional important information about our enrollment process. As always, please don’t hesitate to call us at the office (978-443-3100) with any questions about this, or our enrollment process in general.

Warmly,
All of us at Sewataro

Mixed/All Gender Group Enrollment FAQs

How will the addition of mixed/all gender groups affect the enrollment process?

As always, we are committed to a fair and transparent enrollment process. We will continue to enroll in order of longevity and timestamp, regardless of your choice of group.

When completing your camper’s application, you will be asked to choose whether or not you would like to enroll them in a mixed/all gender group. There will be a follow-up question asking if, in the event that the group you chose is full, you would be willing to enroll your camper in the other group. If you answer no, and the group you have chosen is full, we will reach out to you to let you know.

What will the makeup of the mixed/all gender groups be in terms of grade and/or session breakdown?

This is hard to know for sure until we see how applications come in, but based on percentages from survey feedback, it is likely that there will be one mixed/all gender group per grade and that it will be a mix of campers coming for 2, 4, 6, or 8 week sessions. This will be different from how we typically organize our groups. Whenever possible, we group campers by length of session; campers coming for 2 or 4 week sessions are grouped together and campers coming for 6 or 8 week sessions are grouped together.

If I request a mixed/all gender group, is it guaranteed? Will there be a mixed/all gender group for every age group?

The number and breakdown of mixed/all gender groups will depend on interest. Since this is our first year offering this option, we don’t yet know how popular our mixed/all gender groups will be. There may be some grades that don’t have enough interest to create a mixed/all gender group; there may also be a mixed/all gender group that is a combination of two grades.

Will mixed/all gender groups be equally distributed between male/female/non-binary campers?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to guarantee the gender makeup of our mixed/all gender groups, as it will depend on the interest and first-come-first-serve availability in those groups.

How will this impact friend requests?

Your choice of a single or mixed/all gender group will supersede your friend request, similar to how your choice of session (2/4 week campers are grouped together, and 6/8 week campers are placed in a separate group) supersedes friend requests. If your camper has a friend that they must have with them, please be sure to check with their friend to ensure that your group/enrollment choices line up. Friend requests are not guaranteed, although we do our very best to accommodate one friend request per camper.

How will mixed/all gender groups be staffed?

The staffing for mixed/all gender groups would reflect the makeup of the group.

How will you handle changing?

Groups already change in two shifts, half of the group at a time, with a counselor supervising. In the case of a mixed/all gender group, we would give the opportunity for male or female identifying campers to change first, and then switch, continuing to offer the option of a private changing tent for anyone who wishes to use it.

How will you handle Overnights?

In the case of mixed/all gender groups, campers will sleep in tents with similarly identifying campers and/or where they are most comfortable. Changing will happen in a similar fashion to our daily swim changing.

If my camper changes their mind, can they change groups?

After our enrollment process is complete, it is extremely difficult to make changes, as groups do tend to fill up. Changes will be contingent upon availability.

If we choose a mixed/all gender group this year, are we locked into that choice going forward?

No. Next year you will be free to make a different choice.

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