Humans of Aloha—Aloha, Counselor, 2010s

“I come to camp with colorful hair every summer. The first summer, I wanted it to make me unable to sit in the corner and be shy and introverted like I usually am, and I realized it had other benefits and kept doing it. It worked at times. I was referred to as the counselor with the blue hair. But as I got closer to other Black counselors, then the microaggressions started like being called the names of other Black counselors and then the names of Black campers. It was crazy to me how bad it was. This wasn’t the first time I had been in a predominately white space, but the frequency was different for me. It spoke to how unaware white people were at camp.

Another summer I went even crazier with my hair (rainbow) and I thought there was no way I would be called someone else. A Lanakila counselor I knew and had several conversations with in person and via email kept calling me another counselor. The same things happened at Hive. At my home camp, we had done a more extensive counselor training in pre-camp and camper training during the summer and I saw the incidents reduce of being called another person, but when I went to other campuses, where that same training hadn’t happened, I was everyone else, but me.

There needs to be acknowledgement that these things happen at all of our campuses. My hair experiment, although I thought it would help the problem, proved to be a non-factor when the training isn’t consistent across programs. We are a collective group although living in different spaces. We will interact with each other and work together as a counselor staff. All of the Foundation programs need to come to the table with the same training and leadership.”

—Aloha, Counselor, 2010s

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