Camp Hanover's Statement of Welcome and Inclusion

 Our mission is to create inclusive community, inspire each other to live in God's love, and equip all people to live out God's call. Since Camp Hanover's beginning in 1957 as a racially integrated camp, it has been important that all people be welcome and valued here. We aim to live out this mission and this ministry by following the greatest commandment that Christ taught us – to love our neighbors as ourselves. We understand this teaching as being inclusive of everyone, with no exceptions. We believe that God declared all life (people, animals, and creation) as “good” and has blessed it all.  We celebrate, affirm, and value the diversity present in our communities: diversity of ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, faith, belief, ability, age, and identity.

Sincerely, we say, “all are welcome.” YOU are welcome here.

In all our programs, activities and events, Camp Hanover is committed to providing safe and inclusive environments that reflect the lesson Jesus taught us: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). Camp Hanover values diversity, opposes discrimination, and promotes equal opportunity for all people, regardless of age, ability, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, or others who are often marginalized. We strive to ensure that all participants and staff are valued as unique individuals and can reach their full potential by living and working in a community of inclusion and mutual respect. As an organization, we encourage our partners to do likewise.

Some considerations:

  • We acknowledge our buildings cannot accommodate all abilities yet but commit to making reasonable accommodations until all facilities are renovated.
  • We acknowledge the long history of camp as an integrated space, with a commitment to anti-racism and training staff to be welcoming of all people
  • We acknowledge transgender campers/staff/guest require extra consideration and as such:
    • The parent or guardian determines the gender of any child and in the case of camper facilitated programs, submits this during the registration process. Adults determine their own gender.
    • Guests/Staff/Campers use the bathroom that corresponds with their expressed gender. Any guest/staff/camper who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a single user restroom. However, no guest/staff/camper shall be required to use such a restroom because they are transgender or gender nonconforming. If another camper and/or a parent of another camper expresses discomfort with sharing space with an LGBTQ+ youth, that child/person can use a separate, private space.
    • At Camp, campers typically sleep in lodging areas according to their gender. Note: There is not a “one-size-fits-all” housing policy for transgender or gender non-conforming youth. It is vitally important to openly communicate with the youth about their needs and desires in order to create the best solution. Some transgender youth may feel more comfortable housing with the gender that correlates with their full-time presentation and identity, others with their biological sex. Again, it is important to work with the youth to create a reasonable accommodation that best suits everyone.
    • Camp encourages all guests/campers/staff to change clothes in private areas and discourages nudity or disrobing directly in front of others.
    • All our showers are single occupancy, and each has a private undressing/dressing area where guests/staff/campers can have privacy while changing and showering. Our swimwear policy allows campers to be comfortable, while covering private areas. Campers may wear clothing over the top of their swimsuit if they choose.
    • In some cases, it may be beneficial to have children of different genders sleeping in the same room/area. Because campers are always supervised while at Camp, there are not any apparent safety concerns or legal issues related to this.
    • Camp fills staff vacancies and assigns staff lodging/responsibilities based on summer staff applicants self-selected gender.
    • When referring to a camper/guest/staff member, staff and campers should use preferred pronouns when not using the person’s name.
    • It is not required that a parent/guardian inform camp staff that their child is transgender. However, camp prefers that parents, if comfortable, indicate that their camper is transgender when they register for Camp. Being made aware of a transgender camper will allow our staff to be prepared so we can put forth our best effort to aid the child in having a positive experience at Camp.
    • Staff will not discuss the gender of a camper in any situation where it is not pertinent or appropriate to do so. Calling attention to something that is particularly EXCLUSIVE is not in keeping with the INCLUSIVE nature of the Camp environment we create. Only the staff noted below will be made aware if a particular camper is transgender, and this information will remain confidential, as would specific medical information for any camper.
    • Directors and nurses will be notified of any camper that identifies as transgender.
    • Other staff that relate directly to the camper will also be notified (the child’s counselors and the Unit Coordinator for the group).
    • Staff training will include a session regarding inclusion of LGBTQ+ campers. This policy will be discussed, along with rationale and training for providing transgender campers (and every camper) with an emotionally and physically safe environment.