Chevy was part of our staff group in 2017 and is back with us for 2018. Chevy is a transgender male, he has written a blog about his previous experience as a camper growing up on the west coast, and, as a counselor with us (click here to read). We wanted to ask Chevy a few more questions about why Hawkeye is different from other camps and why diversity matters to him as a member of the transgender community.
Here is the interview we had with Chevy in January of 2018:
Why was it important to you to find a camp that had experience with the transgender community?
"Finding a camp that already had experience with transgender counselors was something that took one fear off of my plate. In my first year as a counselor I was worried about a lot of things, and I didn't want my identity to be one of those things I worried about."
Why do you think having a diverse community is important especially at a summer camp?
"I think it's important because the world itself is diverse. Summer camp especially is a place that I know to be diverse. No matter which camp I went to, I met and befriended people from all over the country and world, with all types of backgrounds and interests. At summer camp we don't want to be closed off into this little box because throughout the school year you're already in a box of the people you know. And while it might feel nice at first to be in a little box with people only like you and only with your interests for the summer, eventually you're going to want more than that. At Hawkeye I believe that there is no box because we've got so many different types of people with so many different histories and interests."
How does Hawkeye community cater to the transgender community? Is there anything we do differently?
"Hawkeye ensured that I was going to be comfortable and happy. After making it known what I identified as and what pronouns/name I use, that was it. I was put into the cabin that I felt most comfortable in, and I wasn't treated any differently than any other counselor. For me that was important, to be treated the same when it came down to it."
How did it feel being part of the Hawkeye Community?
"Being part of the Hawkeye Community was amazing. Before I arrived I was worried, as I was so sure that everybody there would already have strong bonds and I wasn't too sure how I would fit in with the counselors that already knew each other. The minute I arrived, everybody welcomed me like they had known me for years and that really helped me settle in. Over the summer I grew into the community, and leaving was a very sad time for me. I can remember saying goodbye to everybody and after having lived with them all for the past two months, it really had felt like I'd known them for years by that point. I can't really picture having spent my summer any other way."
Did you find anything challenging being at camp, is anything we could improve on?
"I found the hikes challenging, but it was a good thing to have my boundaries pushed on. I became a healthier person over the summer due to how active camp makes you and I liked that. I don't really think there's anything that could be improved on, really."
What would you say to someone who was considering coming to Camp Hawkeye?
"I would say go for it. Entering a new community can be a little daunting, but I don't believe there is any other camp that is going to be as welcoming as Hawkeye. From the moment you drive down the road and meet your counselors, you're already a part of the community, and it's a community that'll put you around a bunch of amazing people."
Thanks to Chevy for taking the time answering our questions. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any further questions about gender identity, gender expression, and inclusion in the Hawkeye community.