COMMUNITY AND BELONGING

KWE is guided by our mission: to empower people to contribute positively to society by promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship through year-round experiential programs, camps for youth and adults, and guidance from inspirational role models.

Our mission guides us to be expansive in who we serve and to make the KWE experience more accessible and equitable while striving to foster a sense of belonging for each of our campers, counselors, students, educators, staff members, alumni, and families.

You and your connection with KWE matters to us. If you have stories to share, questions to ask, or feedback to give, please email [email protected]. We will learn from you and be responsive to what our community needs.

COMMUNITY AND BELONGING

KWE is guided by our mission: to empower people to contribute positively to society by promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship through year-round experiential programs, camps for youth and adults, and guidance from inspirational role models.

Our mission guides us to be expansive in who we serve and to make the KWE experience more accessible and equitable while striving to foster a sense of belonging for each of our campers, counselors, students, educators, staff members, alumni, and families.

You and your connection with KWE matters to us. If you have stories to share, questions to ask, or feedback to give, please email [email protected]. We will listen, learn, and be more responsive to what our community needs. 

OUR GUIDE

Fostering a community where everyone feels belonging is imperfect and perpetual work. These questions and their answers will always evolve, but they orient our efforts and empower us all to more effectively advance KWE’s mission, promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship wherever we live and work.
What is diversity at KWE?
Who are we now and how can we reflect more forms of diversity?
How do people learn about KWE?
How do we become more expansive in who we serve?
How accessible are KWE programs?
How do we lower social and economic barriers that act as gatekeepers?
How do individuals feel during their KWE experience?
Do our traditions, systems, and curricula foster a sense of belonging for all those in our community and all those we hope to reach?
How do people grow within KWE?
How do we provide opportunities for growth for all our role models?
How does KWE provide the best experience to all the campers and students under our care?

What is diversity at KWE?

Who are we now and how can we reflect more forms of diversity?

How do people learn about KWE?

How do we become more expansive in who we serve? How accessible are KWE programs?

How do we lower social and economic barriers that act as gatekeepers?

How do individuals feel during their KWE experience?

Do our traditions, systems, and curricula foster a sense of belonging for all those in our community and all those we hope to reach?

How do people grow within KWE?

How do we provide opportunities for growth for all our role models?

How does KWE provide the best experience to all the campers and students under our care?

Meet Our Collaborators

We’re working with experts and stakeholders in DEIB and education to help create a more expansive and equitable experience at KWE. We are grateful to Simón, Andrew, Apryl, Eduardo, and Masi for guiding us as we prioritize this work.

Simón Ponce
Diversity Consultant

Andrew Bevan
Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher, Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Facilitator for Curriculum Development, English Program Coordinator
New Canaan Country School

Apryl Doyle
Upper School English Teacher
Severn School

Eduardo Pazos
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Inclusion and Diversity & Director, Center for Multicultural
Bowdoin College

Masi Ngidi-Brown
Director of DEI Co-curricular Programs
Colby College

OUR CURRICULUM

We want our EASEL (Experiential Approach to Social-Emotional Learning) curriculum to be accessible to our broader community as it features activities that our DEIB collaborators have found to build skills that foster belonging among people in any setting, of any age, and from any background.

The following EASEL activities are drawn from our curriculum resource, Kindness and Respect, based on the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Self-Awareness

KWE defines self-awareness as the ability to recognize how emotions, understanding, and personal values affect behavior. Self-awareness includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses with well-grounded self-confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.

Understanding the limits of your experience and being able to hear the experience of others is essential to supporting a diverse community. People with strong self-awareness skills recognize where they lack experience or knowledge and seek to learn from others.

In a Hat

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Pen/pencil
    • Hat (or any kind of container)
  • Directions:
    • Participants write hopes, goals, etc. on their slip of paper.
    • Each participant puts their anonymous slip in the hat.
    • The activity leader reads submissions aloud.
  • Discuss:
    • how what was shared resonated with you, what you understood, and a question you have;
    • what were common goals, hopes, questions, or concerns/fears; and
    • brainstorm answers/solutions together.

Self-Awareness

KWE defines self-awareness as the ability to recognize how emotions, understanding, and personal values affect behavior. Self-awareness includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses with well-grounded self-confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.

Understanding the limits of your experience and being able to hear the experience of others is essential to supporting a diverse community. People with strong self-awareness skills recognize where they lack experience or knowledge and seek to learn from others.

In a Hat

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Pen/pencil
    • Hat (or any kind of container)
  • Directions:
    • Participants write hopes, goals, etc. on their slip of paper.
    • Each participant puts their anonymous slip in the hat.
    • The activity leader reads submissions aloud.
  • Discuss:
    • how what was shared resonated with you, what you understood, and a question you have;
    • what were common goals, hopes, questions, or concerns/fears; and
    • brainstorm answers/solutions together.

Self-Awareness

KWE defines self-awareness as the ability to recognize how emotions, understanding, and personal values affect behavior. Self-awareness includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses with well-grounded self-confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.

Understanding the limits of your experience and being able to hear the experience of others is essential to supporting a diverse community. People with strong self-awareness skills recognize where they lack experience or knowledge and seek to learn from others.

In a Hat

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Pen/pencil
    • Hat (or any kind of container)
  • Directions:
    • Participants write hopes, goals, etc. on their slip of paper.
    • Each participant puts their anonymous slip in the hat.
    • The activity leader reads submissions aloud.
  • Discuss:
    • how what was shared resonated with you, what you understood, and a question you have;
    • what were common goals, hopes, questions, or concerns/fears; and
    • brainstorm answers/solutions together.

Self-Awareness

KWE defines self-awareness as the ability to recognize how emotions, understanding, and personal values affect behavior. Self-awareness includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses with well-grounded self-confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.

Understanding the limits of your experience and being able to hear the experience of others is essential to supporting a diverse community. People with strong self-awareness skills recognize where they lack experience or knowledge and seek to learn from others.

In a Hat

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Pen/pencil
    • Hat (or any kind of container)
  • Directions:
    • Participants write hopes, goals, etc. on their slip of paper.
    • Each participant puts their anonymous slip in the hat.
    • The activity leader reads submissions aloud.
  • Discuss:
    • how what was shared resonated with you, what you understood, and a question you have;
    • what were common goals, hopes, questions, or concerns/fears; and
    • brainstorm answers/solutions together.

Self-Management

KWE defines self-management as the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, as well as effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and setting achievable goals.

Individuals with strong self-management skills can exist in diverse spaces because they can listen, respect their own personal limitations, lean into discomfort, and make room for others to share their experiences.

Community Maps

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Drawing materials
  • Procedure:
    • Participants divide into small groups of three to four people.
    • Each group is given a piece of paper to share and drawing materials.
    • Groups draw a map of their community on the paper for 10-15 minutes.
    • Participants have 10-15 minutes to walk around and view each map.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants worked together to reflect on and depict their local community;
    • how participants were aware of their own experience and the experience of others;
    • what groups did to ensure the map was inclusive of each member of their group;
    • how challenges and characteristics of their community relate to the broader community; and
    • how a community can foster a sense of belonging for each member.

Social Awareness

KWE defines social awareness as the ability to recognize the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others, including gaining perspective, practicing empathy, respecting others, and appreciating diversity.

Social awareness skills help us celebrate the differences of others while also recognizing and appreciating our similarities. Finding areas of commonality help us build empathy and respect for people who have a different life experience from our own.

Find a New Spot

  • Materials:
    • Chairs
  • Procedure:
    • Form a large circle with one fewer space than the total number of participants.
    • All participants except one find a space in the circle to sit.
    • The extra participant stands in the center of the circle and finishes the statement: “Find a new spot if [state a positive, nonphysical, and appropriate characteristic that applies to who they are].”
    • If that statement applies to other participants, those participants must stand and not immediately move to their left or right. The person in the middle also looks to sit in a new spot while others move around; otherwise, they stay in the middle.
    • Play until everyone has moved at least once.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants found similarities in their experiences;
    • what they learned about their peers;
    • the differences that they can celebrate; and
    • how their peers experience similar situations in different ways.

Social Awareness

KWE defines social awareness as the ability to recognize the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others, including gaining perspective, practicing empathy, respecting others, and appreciating diversity.

Social awareness skills help us celebrate the differences of others while also recognizing and appreciating our similarities. Finding areas of commonality help us build empathy and respect for people who have a different life experience from our own.

Find a New Spot

  • Materials:
    • Chairs
  • Procedure:
    • Form a large circle with one fewer space than the total number of participants.
    • All participants except one find a space in the circle to sit.
    • The extra participant stands in the center of the circle and finishes the statement: “Find a new spot if [state a positive, nonphysical, and appropriate characteristic that applies to who they are].”
    • If that statement applies to other participants, those participants must stand and not immediately move to their left or right. The person in the middle also looks to sit in a new spot while others move around; otherwise, they stay in the middle.
    • Play until everyone has moved at least once.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants found similarities in their experiences;
    • what they learned about their peers;
    • the differences that they can celebrate; and
    • how their peers experience similar situations in different ways.

Relationship Skills

KWE defines relationship skills as the ability to effectively communicate – as a listener and a speaker – to resolve conflicts, and to have the capacity to seek and offer help.

Relationship skills are key to forming and sustaining healthy relationships between diverse people. Being able to navigate social hierarchies is necessary to understanding and respecting the experiences of others.

Poker Face

  • Materials:
    • Deck of playing cards
  • Procedure:
    • Participants are given a playing card but told not to look at it.
    • Each person places the card facing out on their forehead without looking at it.
    • Participants have time to form groups based on the value of each card; they cannot look at their own card or directly state the value of another person’s card.
    • Participants then have time to arrange themselves according to perceived rank.
    • When an order is established, participants can look at their card’s value.
  • Discuss:
    • what caused participants to rank each card the way they did;
    • how did participants’ behavior affect other participants’ feelings;
    • how can individual differences increase vulnerability to being treated poorly;
    • what hierarchies can participants identify in their own life; and
    • when those hierarchies can change.

Relationship Skills

KWE defines relationship skills as the ability to effectively communicate – as a listener and a speaker – to resolve conflicts, and to have the capacity to seek and offer help.

Relationship skills are key to forming and sustaining healthy relationships between diverse people. Being able to navigate social hierarchies is necessary to understanding and respecting the experiences of others.

Poker Face

  • Materials:
    • Deck of playing cards
  • Procedure:
    • Participants are given a playing card but told not to look at it.
    • Each person places the card facing out on their forehead without looking at it.
    • Participants have time to form groups based on the value of each card; they cannot look at their own card or directly state the value of another person’s card.
    • Participants then have time to arrange themselves according to perceived rank.
    • When an order is established, participants can look at their card’s value.
  • Discuss:
    • what caused participants to rank each card the way they did;
    • how did participants’ behavior affect other participants’ feelings;
    • how can individual differences increase vulnerability to being treated poorly;
    • what hierarchies can participants identify in their own life; and
    • when those hierarchies can change.

Responsible Decision-Making

KWE defines responsible decision making as the ability to take healthy risks, creatively solve problems, and reflect on experiences in order to learn and grow.

A diverse community can not foster a sense of belonging for its members unless each person takes the time to make informed and intentional decisions that reflect empathy for the experiences of others.

Lifelines

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Drawing materials
  • Procedure:
    • Divide participants into small groups and give each group one piece of paper.
    • Each individual group member should choose a marker of a different color.
    • Give each group 15-20 minutes to draw a shared timeline where all group members mark dates in alternating order of major life moments past, present, and future.
    • Participants choose the start and end dates of their group’s lifeline; encourage creativity in the shape of this drawing.
    • If a group finishes early, they can add illustrations or label major events.
    • When groups finish, hold a gallery walk to share timelines.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants worked together to choose start and end dates;
    • how their decision making was affected by their other group members;
    • what affected each person’s decision on what to share; and
    • how they may have acted or shared based on what they learned about others from this activity.

Responsible Decision-Making

KWE defines responsible decision making as the ability to take healthy risks, creatively solve problems, and reflect on experiences in order to learn and grow.

A diverse community can not foster a sense of belonging for its members unless each person takes the time to make informed and intentional decisions that reflect empathy for the experiences of others.

Lifelines

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Drawing materials
  • Procedure:
    • Divide participants into small groups and give each group one piece of paper.
    • Each individual group member should choose a marker of a different color.
    • Give each group 15-20 minutes to draw a shared timeline where all group members mark dates in alternating order of major life moments past, present, and future.
    • Participants choose the start and end dates of their group’s lifeline; encourage creativity in the shape of this drawing.
    • If a group finishes early, they can add illustrations or label major events.
    • When groups finish, hold a gallery walk to share timelines.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants worked together to choose start and end dates;
    • how their decision making was affected by their other group members;
    • what affected each person’s decision on what to share; and
    • how they may have acted or shared based on what they learned about others from this activity.

Responsible Decision-Making

KWE defines responsible decision making as the ability to take healthy risks, creatively solve problems, and reflect on experiences in order to learn and grow.

A diverse community can not foster a sense of belonging for its members unless each person takes the time to make informed and intentional decisions that reflect empathy for the experiences of others.

Lifelines

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Drawing materials
  • Procedure:
    • Divide participants into small groups and give each group one piece of paper.
    • Each individual group member should choose a marker of a different color.
    • Give each group 15-20 minutes to draw a shared timeline where all group members mark dates in alternating order of major life moments past, present, and future.
    • Participants choose the start and end dates of their group’s lifeline; encourage creativity in the shape of this drawing.
    • If a group finishes early, they can add illustrations or label major events.
    • When groups finish, hold a gallery walk to share timelines.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants worked together to choose start and end dates;
    • how their decision making was affected by their other group members;
    • what affected each person’s decision on what to share; and
    • how they may have acted or shared based on what they learned about others from this activity.

Responsible Decision-Making

KWE defines responsible decision making as the ability to take healthy risks, creatively solve problems, and reflect on experiences in order to learn and grow.

A diverse community can not foster a sense of belonging for its members unless each person takes the time to make informed and intentional decisions that reflect empathy for the experiences of others.

Lifelines

  • Materials:
    • Paper
    • Drawing materials
  • Procedure:
    • Divide participants into small groups and give each group one piece of paper.
    • Each individual group member should choose a marker of a different color.
    • Give each group 15-20 minutes to draw a shared timeline where all group members mark dates in alternating order of major life moments past, present, and future.
    • Participants choose the start and end dates of their group’s lifeline; encourage creativity in the shape of this drawing.
    • If a group finishes early, they can add illustrations or label major events.
    • When groups finish, hold a gallery walk to share timelines.
  • Discuss:
    • how participants worked together to choose start and end dates;
    • how their decision making was affected by their other group members;
    • what affected each person’s decision on what to share; and
    • how they may have acted or shared based on what they learned about others from this activity.

Our Community

We’re working with experts and stakeholders in DEIB and education on and beyond our campuses to create a more equitable and expansive experience at Kieve Wavus Education.

Meet Our Collaborators

Kate Kaplan

Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Kate Kaplan
Wavus Director & Community and Belonging Committee Lead
Kieve Wavus Education

Simón Ponce
Diversity Consultant

Andrew Bevan
Teacher & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Facilitator for Curricular Development
New Canaan Country School

Apryl Doyle
<Details TBD>

Eduardo Pazos
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Inclusion and Diversity & Director, Center for Multicultural Life
Bowdoin College

Masi Ngidi-Brown
<Details TBD>

Connect with Us

You and your connection with KWE matters to us, and we want to hear from you. If you have stories to share, questions to ask, or feedback to give, please email our collaborators at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing your voices, celebrating the ways you may already feel belonging at KWE, and learning how to better serve you and our community as a whole.

Expert Resources

Healthy, diverse communities that foster an equal sense of belonging and celebration of all individuals require their members to be proficient in the social-emotional competencies highlighted by our EASEL activities. We hope our curriculum, along with the following resources from DEIB experts, help you have age appropriate conversations that spread kindness and respect wherever you live and work.