WHAT'S our mission?
To disrupt racial and economic segregation in the Bay Area by building a diverse, integrated, and loving youth community at summer camp that will continue back in the city during the school year.
How will we achieve that?
At camp, our youth will grow in three major areas, all of which contribute to breaking down racial and economic barriers. After camp, they will apply these skills in leadership projects back in their home institutions and communities. These core skills are:
- Intercultural Competence: Build meaningful relationships with one another
- Social-Emotional Learning: Develop empathy for each other's experience
- Leadership: Collaborate and take action with youth from a diversity of backgrounds
theory of change
1. Develop three core skills at camp
2. build integrated youth community in the city
3. advocate for integration and equity at home
Summer camps have been shown to build leadership and social-emotional skills, and have been studied as successful sites of inter-group contact theory, a primary intervention for reducing racial bias. We also went to camp as kids and appreciate that it can be a powerful socializing force and totally magical.
WHO DO WE SERVE?
Camp Common Ground serves rising 6th-9th graders from middle schools throughout the Bay Area. We intentionally bring together youth from families of different means, which allows us to bring kids to camp who otherwise could not afford to go, and to provide everyone with a uniquely diverse experience. In this way, we can be financially sustainable as we focus on providing the best program we can.
HOW ARE WE DEFINING SUCCESS?
We are collaborating with researchers at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education and the Greater Good Science Center to measure growth in leadership, social-emotional, and inter-cultural skills. We also care deeply about the social cohesion that remains in the group post-camp and the leadership projects the campers deploy back home.
what's the vision?
In America, we breathe the discomfort of segregation every day. Policy can only do so much. Cultural change precedes political change. Cultural change stems from pioneer communities. A diverse, integrated, and empowered youth community centered in Oakland can be the pioneer community to disrupt the cycles of segregation. Ultimately, the Bay Area can show other cities what an integrated city can look like—and that it is possible, and urgently necessary, today.
With our sliding scale tuition model, it is more financially feasible for other cities to initiate and sustain their own Camp Common Ground's. We imagine an integrated America. One camp at a time.