AWSL Equity initiatives

AWSL Equity Committee

As part of AWSP's 3 year strategic mission, which integrates Equity as an overarching goal for all programs, AWSL is convening a 16 member AWSL Equity Committee to propose new programs and initiatives, direct existing programs, shape our policies and procedures, and inform our existing programs and staffs to better serve all students. In our initial recruitment drive for the Equity Committee, we received over 50 interest responses in less than a week! As we move forward, we will form the 16 member committee and organize the remaining pool of applicants into a support structure for the committee and its initiatives. Of course, we will always be looking for additional professionals interested in supporting our equity initiatives, and encourage anyone interested to contact Van Anderson (van@awsp.org) at AWSL.

Existing and Emerging Camps and Programs

In 2004, AWSL developed its first program designed to explicitly address an equity issue in student leadership with the creation of the La Cima bilingual/bicultural leadership camp. In the intervening years, we have expanded the La Cima model to a middle-level regional program, ¡La Chipsa! Other camps have been developed to address the needs of Deaf, Deafblind and hard-of-hearing students, non-traditional student leaders and to provide culturally responsive leadership experiences for Native American students.

AWSL Policies and Procedures

From the very first principal sponsored leadership programs asking for each school to send one boy and one girl to camp as a means of counteracting gender inequity in schools of the 1950s, AWSL's programs have always strived to push ourselves out of complacence and into tackling emerging areas of consciousness. As we become aware of inequity in educational environments, we develop policies and procedures to quantify and counteract systemic inequity in leadership education so that the leaders of tomorrow can better reflect the lived experiences of the world to come.

Race / Ethnicity data

With the adoption of our new Strategic Plan, AWSL has begun optionally asking for race/ethnicity data, beginning with all summer leadership and cheerleadership camp participants in 2018. With this information, we hope to provide a baseline comparison to the demographics of Washington state students as a whole. We will be encouraging individual schools to begin comparing the demographics of their leadership programs to their student bodies, as we begin to evaluate our program participation on the basis of statewide student demographics.

Trans* and Non Gender-Binary policies

For several years, AWSL has been including non-cisgendered participants in our programs following best practices established by OSPI to respect the gender identities of the trans* and non gender-binary individuals, while providing alternative facilities for cisgendered individuals who are uncomfortable or have privacy concerns sharing accommodations with non-cisgendered individuals. Utilizing open communication strategies, we have been able to successfully include trans* and non gender-binary individuals into several of our past programs, providing a positive experience for all program attendees. As we continue to develop institutional competency in these situations, AWSL has included "Other" as a gender option in our high school summer camp registration forms in order to positively invite schools and students to request accommodation for non-cisgendered participants, in the hope that our openness can ease perceived barriers to participation.