Sherwood Forest’s goal for the better part of our 84+ year history has been to help kids discover the best in themselves so they can grow up to do good in the world. And although over the last 65 years Sherwood Forest has strived to run integrated, diverse programs, access to the camp industry as a whole has been limited for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. As an organization that strives to make sure camp is not a luxury and is accessible to all, we, as leaders in this industry, must continue our efforts in diversity and equity at Sherwood Forest and encourage and support other camps in their work as well.
History, culture and stories of marginalized communities should not just be celebrated for a month, especially as they are integral to the story of our country, community, and especially our camp. As we reflect on Black History Month, we acknowledge that this year we must take the further steps to eliminate racial disparities in our society and eradicate barriers that thwart the development, growth and prosperity of youth in our community.
At Sherwood Forest, we issued a statement last June speaking out against systemic and institutional racism. We acknowledged that we still have work to do as an organization and as individuals to dismantle any system that harms our campers or our community.
During the summer of 2020, our Board of Directors initiated a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to begin to review, evaluate, and assess our policies, procedures and programs through a racial equity lens. Through their work, we will strive to ensure no one is unintentionally limited or excluded from participating in, benefiting from or growing up in our program. This Task Force met several times over the last few months and created a framework which will be used to implement change at Sherwood Forest. This important work will continue throughout the year ahead and we will be sharing more with you as this process develops.
We are enriched by the Black communities in our camp’s history and those who continue to make it possible to open camp every summer to the children of St. Louis who deserve a place to grow, learn and explore the natural environment. Their footprint on Sherwood Forest’s land and the fabric of our organization is deeply appreciated and valued.
Interim Executive Director