Health and Safety Statement for Campers

The Sufi Invocation expresses the intention of Northwest Sufi Camp (NWSC). We open our hearts; we awaken new energies; we move toward the vision described in the Invocation. We must be able to evolve in an atmosphere of safety. This includes physical safety, emotional safety, spiritual safety, and an individual’s right to set boundaries that are respected. We must have a culture of consent, where we stay humble about our ability to know or guess what others want, and where we work to recognize, communicate, understand and remove the many barriers that could keep someone from saying “no” before we act on their “yes”.

The NWSC Board acknowledges that camp is made up of a collection of human beings living together for a week in close quarters, and that minor conflicts and annoyances will happen, as well as in some cases more serious harm.  Campers are here to feel deeply, and are not immune to the conditions of being human and to the conditions of the world we inhabit.  During Camp feelings and sensitivities can be heightened. The Health and Safety Committee is in place to help camp and individuals navigate and respond to these challenges.  We ask everyone to proceed in the spirit of respect for the process of opening and vulnerability that happens.

In order to promote the safety of all participants, the NWSC Board has developed the following guidelines for the wellbeing of the camp as a whole. In alignment with the Sufi Invocation, NWSC Camp also often provides opportunities to work with the ego nature (nafs). The Board believes that when participants are made aware of their role in creating the camp atmosphere, that behavior will be appropriate. The Board’s responsibility is to hold the post for these shared agreements and provide a means of accountability. However, the following specific behaviors will not be tolerated: 

  1. Emotional or verbal harm 
  2. Sexual coercion, harassment, abuse, or violence
  3. Physical aggression, violence or harm to persons or property

The NWSC Health and Safety Committee is announced at the opening of camp, and periodically during camp. Any participant who feels unsafe for any reason is encouraged to speak to the Camp Nurse, Camp Manager, Camp Counselor or any member of the Health and Safety Committee. The Committee will review the situation with the involved parties and assist with and/or determine appropriate action. Our goal is always to work with campers and staff to resolve a situation before it becomes a major problem.

We recognize children and teens hold a unique position in the camp and we have tailored health and safety presentations for them and their guardians that are part of the mandatory meetings held at the beginning of camp.  

We ask for your support in creating a camp atmosphere where every individual is free to grow and awaken without fear for their safety.

DEFINITIONS and examples follow and can be triggering:

  • Consent:  

    • Consent is agreeing to an action based on your understanding of what it involves. It implies communication every step of the way. Consent is not a given, just because it may have happened before, it needs to happen every time.

    • Example of asking for consent::  “May I give you a hug?” In the time of Covid, May I hold your hand, especially during dances?

  • Emotion and Verbal Harm

    • Disrespectful and denigrating comments and actions

      • Comments and actions based on any aspect of an individual’s identity including gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation

      • Microaggressions:  Indirect, subtle, and intentional or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group.

      • Blaming, mocking, yelling, spreading rumors, telling lies, asserting dominance, intimidation or threats and expression of anger and hostility.

  • Physical Aggression and Violence

    • Physical aggression includes hitting, kicking, scratching, pushing, biting, punching, grabbing, throwing objects, pinching, cutting,  stabbing, or throwing any object(s)

    • Sexual Coercion etc

    • Think of sexual coercion as a spectrum or a range. It can vary from someone verbally egging you on to someone actually forcing you to have contact with them. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt or shame.

    • By definition, sexual coercion is “the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against their will” and includes “persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused.”