The YMCA of Central New York continues to strive to be inclusive and respectful of our diverse region and to meet our collective goal of being an actively anti-racist, multicultural organization. Our Y’s leadership has been quietly examining and reconsidering the name of one of our dearest programs, Camp Iroquois, for the past few years, researching its origins and doing our due diligence to discover its meaning. For our Y to move forward in a way that is in line with our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, we believe it is time for us to change the name of this facility.
Our camp is a treasure, without a doubt: it is both the longest continuously operating YMCA day camp in the country, and a quality program that has served and delighted generations of families. The name “Iroquois,” however, represents the misappropriation of indigenous culture. Using our current lens and appreciation for our First Nations neighbors, we wish to remedy the error of our past lack of cultural sensitivity, historical context or the input of the people whose traditions were being borrowed.
To that end, we will immediately rename the camp as “Camp Evergreen.” You’ll see this change reflected in YMCA materials over the coming weeks.
Naming the camp after its most prominent feature—Lake Evergreen—is a natural substitution that will resonate with generations of past campers and honors a symbol of importance for the Haudenosaunee without appropriating their culture.
Facing the reality and historical impact of marginalization and discrimination of others is no simple task, and these are the times when it is most important to uphold the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, as they are integral to the mission of the YMCA. We believe this is the time to take this long-overdue action.