It feels like now is a bad time to be silent. It feels like one of those moments where we may look back and wish we had gone with our gut. It feels like a good time to think about our principles, our values and ensure we are being true to them. As individuals and citizens, we have personal beliefs, we have a sense of right and wrong. We choose times to be vocal and active. As organizations, we develop core values and beliefs – we agree on principles and norms. Whether we actively establish them may be a question, but they organically develop over time with or without our help. There are times when organizations should also be vocal about their principles.
We are a values-based organization. We hire people that have our core values and believe in the path that we are on. One of our main evaluation criteria for our team is how well each person embodies the CampBrain values.
We believe in respect, tolerance, empathy and kindness. We have deliberately defined the environment within which we want to work. We believe that kind of environment makes a difference – it enables us to build great software and provide truly unique client service. Without that as our base, we simply would not be the same company. Perhaps we would still be building camp software or perhaps we would no longer exist. Our values and principles are our foundation. When times are great, they ground us, making sure we are centred, humble and focused on what really matters. When times are not so great, they lift us, remind us why we are doing what we do, give us direction on how to continue forward.
It feels like our core values and principles are under attack by some people in high places, holding a fair bit of power in various parts of this small planet. It does not feel right. It feels like we need to stand up and remind ourselves and our community of what we believe. So, to our team, clients, vendors and the wider camp community, we would like to publicly emphasize a couple of our core beliefs:
From our employee handbook, “The Ontario Human Rights Code… prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, gender expression, record of offences, marital status, family status, and disability. It is our policy to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace.”
The above text from our handbook is an important declaration in terms of how a company approaches hiring and employment. But, it is more than that. We actually feel that way about how people should be treated in general, not just when it comes to employment. Regardless of religion, race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, gender expression, record of offences, marital status, family status, and disability, we will treat everyone with respect, empathy and kindness. Whether part of the team, a client, vendor or community stakeholder, we will focus on what matters, not on how you look, where you come from or where you worship. These are important principles because it obligates us to look at the individual, to evaluate them as an individual. We all deserve that. To evaluate or judge someone based on the items above paints large groups of people with a very wide brush. It may be easy to do and easy to implement but it is just not fair. It is much harder work to focus on the individual. But it is the higher path.
Regardless of circumstances, these principles are non-negotiable. They are not malleable to a new leader, political trends or other external forces. You either believe them or you don’t and you are either willing to stand behind them or you are not, regardless of the winds at your back.
We believe in those values. They matter to us.
It is hard to watch specific groups of people to be singled out and marginalized. It is extremely dangerous and it seems that it will continue until enough people vocalize their beliefs, their principles.
We are blessed to serve in the camp community where respect, tolerance, empathy and kindness are held so close to our collective hearts. We have had this thought many times – “if only the world could have a little more camp in it.” This sentiment seems very appropriate at this particular time.
It feels a bit better to say all of that. It feels a bit more positive. We are a small voice but the alternative of simply staying silent did not feel right.
With much respect for all that you do,
Rob and Shane