In recent weeks, several of you have shared stories of racist events that happened while participating in the Youth Leadership Camp (YLC), either as a camper or staff member. We have seen your stories and we thank you for sharing. While the NAD Youth Programs does not tolerate such incidents, it has become very clear that such incidents did happen as a result of privilege, bias, systematic and systemic racism. These actions are a result of racism and oppression, and can be a single act, a word, a thought, or an overlooked incident.
In recent years, the NAD Youth Programs have made improvements towards dismantling racist behaviors to ensure these stories and experiences are not repeated or ignored. The Jr. NAD, YLC, National Deaf Youth Day, College Bowl, and Youth Ambassador Program (YAP) are the NAD Youth programs and are all committed to doing better and striving for more equity. That includes: acknowledging our racist history by paying attention to and validating our community’s stories; revamping the YLC application process for staff and campers; revisiting YLC traditions; re-evaluating the YLC Social Justice & Solidarity classes; exploring ways for Jr. NAD chapters to support other student clubs on campus instead of competing; and working with other organizations’ youth programs.
Through this process, we value your thoughts and welcome your feedback. We’ve made a survey form available for anyone who wishes to share feedback about any of the youth programs without asking for your name or email. We know that by collecting your input and learning from it to create necessary changes, the NAD Youth Programs has to create a better tomorrow.