Mission, Vision, Values

Our Mission, Vision, and Values guide our decision making, inform our plans for the future, and remind us why we’re here. 

Our Mission:

Schoolhouse of Wonder creates kind, curious, and confident kids through nature-based outdoor adventures.

Our Vision:

We believe open-hearted children become open-minded adults. Schoolhouse of Wonder is a place where everyone can play, learn, and grow toward being their best selves.

Our Values:

  • We model and teach self awareness and empathy
  • We celebrate individuality; different is just different
  • Everyone deserves to be witnessed, heard, and respected
  • In nature, we’re all students
  • Life should be filled with adventures and a sense of wonder
  • We send every kid home dirty, tired, and happy

Our Core Beliefs on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

We believe in the importance of all children, from all backgrounds and of all identities, having access to a safe, accepting camp experience—where they can enjoy the remarkable diversity of nature and each other. One thing we hear from campers and camp families is how the Schoolhouse experience often provides young people with the opportunity to belong and be accepted, something they have tried and not found with other programs. We know we have more work to do to welcome all children who might want to attend Schoolhouse, but we’re proud of the work we do each day to meet children where they are with care and compassion.

In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of questions we received about how we approach gender identity, transgender campers and staff, and the sharing of pronouns. We feel it’s important to share with our camp families a little more about our core beliefs and how we manage complex topics at camp.

Racism, Politics, & Religion: We embrace diversity of thought, background, and experience at Schoolhouse. All viewpoints that respect the humanity of others are welcome. 

We work tirelessly so that all young people in our care, and by extension their families and communities, may be treated fairly and with dignity and compassion. We will not stand for the unfair treatment of anyone based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, sex, gender expression, sexual identity, disability, or culture. 

Transgender & Nonbinary Campers and Staff: We stand in solidarity with our trans and nonbinary campers and staff. Campers and staff are under no obligation to share information about their gender identity with us. If they do share, we validate and encourage them to be their whole and authentic self.

Pronouns: During morning circle for the first few days of a camp week, campers have an opportunity to introduce themselves by sharing their name and their pronouns if they choose. As with many things in camp, our staff model this. Some campers choose to share, some don’t. We normalize both approaches and let campers know that their choice is good with us and will be respected at camp. 

In our experience, this is not only supportive of our trans and nonbinary campers and staff, it’s often a welcomed opportunity for our campers whose gender expression does not match masculine or feminine gender norms (e.g., boys with long hair, girls with short hair) to clarify their pronouns if they wish.

Changing Names or Pronouns at Camp: We are sometimes asked by campers to call them a name and/or pronoun that are different than the ones provided on their camper registration. At camp, we will respect that choice and acknowledge the name and/or pronoun change as requested. 

We understand that families may choose a different approach at home. As a child-serving organization, we will continue to create communities where all feel safe and all belong. That does not mean that we teach the complexities of gender identity during camp. We have been intentional about handling sensitive conversations at camp for many years. Our staff are trained to redirect conversations about sensitive issues (e.g., politics, religion, sexuality, gun control, abortion, vaccines, war, etc.) to more neutral topics during the camp day. We also encourage campers to bring up sensitive topics with trusted adult figures outside of camp.

Our Non-Discrimination Policy:

Schoolhouse of Wonder is committed to creating a supportive environment for all marginalized groups including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people by promoting collaboration within our organization and community. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, national or ethnic origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.