The first weekend in December, the National Association of Independent School sponsors a conference called the PoCC, or People of Color Conference along with the SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference). I began attending PoCC as an administrator at BB&N School in Cambridge. At PoCC, independent educators of color (plus some white allies and others) gather with high school students from across the nation and world, with nine countries represented this year. The conference offers workshops for all levels of educators and administrators, affinity group meetings, intensive allday workshops, and fellowship.  

For the third year, F&W hosted an exhibitor table, which we shared with The Putney School to save money. I met potential summer staff, parents, and future camper families, as well as colleagues from peer organizations like the many Quaker Schools who send dozens of folks. Last summer, Ciera Young joined the terrific leadership staff at Tamarack Farm, thanks to PoCC recruiting.  

Last year, I hosted a Quaker School educatorofcolor planning lunch, which was attended by about 30 people from a dozen schools. This year, we had over 90 educators join us for topical conversation and connections over lunch, including Barn Day Camp Director Polly Williams and F&W trustee Ann-Marie White. We realize that as a Quaker educational foundation, we benefit from the collaboration and support of a community whose mission and values align with ours. Topics discussed ranged from how affinity groups work at our organizations (for adults and youth), to ways we may better support employees, students/campers of color and their families.  

We didn’t solve the many challenges we face, but we are building a network of support, wisdom and counsel so that all may benefit in return. For Farm & Wilderness, it is a chance to appreciate the progress we’ve made towards social justice and equity, while recognizing how far we have yet to go. Our strength in numbers and shared commitment bolsters our work. It keeps us encouraged to move forward, to weather inevitable setbacks and to continue to grow and improve. PoCC is a time when we gain the resolve and courage, much as F&W campers do through their summer camp experience, to be held in the light through our transformative experiences that 3 days of fellowship brings. 

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