“I was super excited because I had heard that there were going to be Spanish speakers at camp. My family is from Central America and growing up I spoke Spanish at home. Being around people who speak Spanish or speak your native tongue makes you feel more comforted, builds connections and, since I was already someone who had been to camp and I heard that this would have been these girls’ first summers, I wanted to make them feel welcomed and let them know that they had someone. I didn’t know their level of proficiency in English, so I just wanted to make sure that they felt understood. Eventually they came and I remember we would talk in Spanish and it would be the highlight of my day just to see them and to communicate with people I felt connected to. We might not have been from the same country, but a language is enough to connect. We happened to be hanging out and catching up on the day and I remember a counselor coming by and telling us ‘Oh you guys should really try to speak English people might be feeling left out not knowing what you’re talking about or think you might be talking about them.’ I felt so threatened and so silenced and the other girls…just seeing their faces kind of said it all…what they were feeling. So after that we just kept speaking in secret, we would still do it but not let the counselors catch us. Like we thought we were doing something bad….when we were trying to just better include ourselves.”

—Hive, Camper, 2009

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