This post is a follow-up to our Now We Act post from June 12, 2020. As a positive youth development organization, it is imperative that our work, and our board and team members, reflect the communities and populations we serve. We still have a lot to accomplish and we remain dedicated to this process.
Chill has committed to centering our work around racial equity and anti-oppression practices. We want to be held accountable for this work. In the coming weeks, we will be working on the following actionable steps to re-work some internal and external processes.
Chill’s imperative racial equity steps:
Identify, support and partner with more BIMPOC companies.
We are reviewing the percentage of BIMPOC companies we currently work with and we’re actively looking at alternative vendors and program partners in areas where an imminent change is needed. We are also committed to prioritizing BIMPOC owned companies for a large marketing-related RFP (“Request for Proposal”) that will be released soon. To that end, we are partnering with a BIMPOC-owned marketing agency to help us reach the broadest BIMPOC creative population possible.
Commit to the education of anti-oppression and anti-racism at all levels of our programming, organization, and partnerships. Participate in immediate workshops and trainings this summer, to truly dig deeper into unpacking our whiteness and privilege, and how we can best support BIMPOC communities. We hope to translate this into continuous training, with an understanding that racial equity work is a priority.
We have conducted three internal anti-racism/anti-oppression trainings facilitated by outside experts for all Chill team members, followed by debriefs to reflect, connect, and commit. Funds have been committed to cover trainings through the end of our fiscal year (April 2021) and funding will be built into our annual budgets going forward. Processes, procedures, and approaches are being updated and re-evaluated as a result of the ongoing learning from these trainings and debriefs. In addition, we have added a personal anti-racism/anti-oppression education progression component to our Progression Review (Chill’s version of Performance Reviews) to ensure that individual progression and education is monitored, documented, and discussed.
Diversify our hiring, recruitment, and training practices for the next roles we are hiring for this summer (and beyond). Change critical job description language, reach out to recruit BIMPOC individuals, and have paid BIMPOC diversity and inclusion consultants help advise.
Having just wrapped up recruitment for 5 open positions, we are thrilled to share that our pool of BIMPOC candidates was the most robust ever, with BIMPOC representing 50% of candidates selected for final interviews and at least 80% of our successful new hires. As we initially reflect on our hiring process and continued growth, there are three factors that jump out as having contributed to diversifying our hiring:
We updated our job descriptions to ensure more inclusive language and requirements and heard from several applicants that our job description and was inviting for those who are not already snowboarders, skateboarders, etc. This was an intentional change, where we specifically identified options for new-hires to gain access to equipment and instruction so that boardsports were not a barrier for attracting applicants who would best represent our youth. We know that boardsports are a white-dominated industry (both recreationally and professionally), so we must create opportunities that create equitable access to our sports and jobs.
Within our job description updates and hiring decisions, we explicitly prioritized candidates who reflect our youth from marginalized communities and identities. More than one BIMPOC candidate spoke about growing up in a community similar to those Chill serves and reflecting on the fact that the folks that would come into their community to run youth programs did not look like them. This speaks directly to the importance of prioritizing applicants who represent our youth, emphasizing this within the job description, and highlighting it as a deciding factor when selecting the best candidate for the job.
The undeniable fact that the hiring market is especially saturated right now with such high rates of unemployment and folks seeking new jobs due to COVID-19 job loss. While a grim reality, this most definitely played a role in the number of applications we received and the diversity we saw amongst applicants.
We’re excited to announce our latest additions to the Chill team when they officially come on board mid-September. Our onboarding process has also been overhauled with a fully holistic approach combining team members from all departments and position levels to ensure a well-rounded and thorough introduction to Chill for anyone new joining the team. We will continue to reflect and adapt our hiring and onboarding process as we aim for ongoing improvement, knowing that our work is not finished.
Further seek mentors, partnerships, Chill reps and ambassadors who reflect the communities we serve. Provide space, time, and trainings, to have conversations with these communities to create lasting impact. This will be an ongoing effort starting today.
This work is ongoing and we’ll share a detailed update once pending relationships and recruitment have been finalized.
Create social justice change in our boardsport communities (snow, surf, SUP and skate) by hearing from and amplifying our youth BIMPOC voices from our programs; especially them doing rad things on boards! This starts with a re-work of our marketing focus, which will be an ongoing effort starting today.
We’re working on evaluating the language we use when working with photographers and videographers to be as inclusive as possible, as well as how we recruit past participants and volunteers for testimonials (being cautious of coded language). We have and continue to make sure our marketing collateral accurately represents our participants and the communities we serve.
Provide more opportunity for justice work by increasing and elevating opportunities for Alumni Opportunities and Explore programs, to creating lasting opportunity for youth. We will start with our snowboard program and build from there. This will start to happen in winter 2021.
Planning and discussions for Explore programs and alumni opportunities with current and new host sites/partners is underway. This will be a major programmatic focus going forward, leveraging Chill’s relationships with corporate partners to create enhanced experiences. Over the next year we’ll prioritize a series of pathway opportunities and resources for our alumni to continue their involvement with Chill: volunteer and employment opportunities, further boardsport progression and access, career exploration, community involvement, and leadership growth. We’re on pace for substantive evolution for the winter 2021 season.