Expanded Gender in Camp Registration: Sponsored by CampBrain
October 17, 2022
Expanded Gender in CampBrain
In December of 2021, we released new features in our software with the goal of providing more options for our clients to collect gender-related information. The process of going from idea to solution took time, effort, iterating, lots of research, and creative thinking. Every step was worth it for the impact on our clients and their communities. We know many organizations in the camp community are making similar changes, so we thought we’d share our story to give you an idea of what the process and challenges looked like from the perspective of a camp management software company.
Why we expanded our gender options
Prior to our release of expanded gender in CampBrain, we had a gender field that was binary and, when enabled, mandatory for all registrants. For years, we had been hearing from clients who were looking for a way to collect gender information that better represented everyone in their community. As time went on, the voices grew in number, and we had many clients saying that CampBrain was preventing them from demonstrating their organization’s values. It’s important to our clients that all interactions with their organization reflected their values, including the experience of registering for camp. Here’s what some of our clients had to say:
It is important to our company that our software is representative of all our clients and the populations they serve, so we decided to take on finding a solution.
It took us a long time to get it right
Several years ago, when we first considered this feature, there was a good amount of uncertainty and shift happening when it came to gender in camp and school communities. This uncertainty made it challenging for us to pin down exactly what our clients needed, and the needs continued to change in the 4 years we spent thinking about and working on a solution. We also had a couple other challenges:
- We knew some of our clients would continue to collect gender as male and female. Since only some needed more options, we had to ensure there was flexibility when it came to collecting gender information.
- Many of our clients divide programs or cabins/housing based on gender and manage their program capacities based on gender. They’re looking for more flexibility when it comes to collecting gender information, but still need to manage their gendered programs and housing.
These are the approaches we took to address these challenges:
- We spoke with many clients with differing approaches to collecting and handling gender information.
- We consulted DEI experts and folks with lived experience for guidance and usability testing to ensure our solution met the needs of those that were most impacted by these features, folks in the LGBTQ2+ community.
- We tested our changes with the general public to ensure the process of registering for camp was still smooth after we made changes.
- We iterated and tested. With each solution our team worked through, if something wasn’t working, we gathered feedback and tried again.
The changes we made
We now offer a flexible solution that covers most of the needs our clients have demonstrated. Here’s what you can do in CampBrain:
- Continue to collect gender as male and female.
- Turn off gender and hide it altogether, even if you collected it in the past.
- For those that divide programs or cabins by gender, instead of asking for gender, you can ask whom someone wants to be grouped with (or in a cabin with) using your own words.
- Collect gender identity for registrants and staff applicants.
- Collect pronouns for all people.
Adoption of Expanded Gender
A year since its release, adoption of the expanded gender features has been gradual, but that’s what we expected. We knew its reach wouldn’t be as big as other features we’ve taken on, but having more flexible gender options would make a big impact for a segment of our clients and the communities they serve.
We’re still in the process of gathering feedback from the clients who have been using these features, but here are some of the comments that made us smile:
Reflecting on the expanded gender changes, we’re happy with the positive impact it has had for some of our clients. We know as a software company we need to stay up to date as conversations and policies about gender and equity evolve and change, and one year after the release, we’re pleased that we were able to help bring more clients closer to their values.
If you want to learn more, we’d be happy to chat. You can give us a call at 866-485-8885, email us at email@example.com or check out our website.
Love your Software,
Alison Sexton – Product Manager – CampBrain: Having been in the camp community for over 14 years as a camper and staff, I have always believed in the importance and benefit of camp. Working at CampBrain has been a great way to stay involved in a community I love. When I’m not at work you can find me baking cakes, pies, or doughnuts from my tiny kitchen, hiking in a forest, swimming in a lake, or rock climbing.