Striving To Be Our Most Welcoming

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By Debbie Locketz LICSW

One of my favorite times at camp is on opening day when we come together to sit at the Bitan.  It is during this time that I get to look out and see our entire community. Those new to camp and those that have been to camp before. Those from all backgrounds and those who come with different experiences.  We see our youngest campers and our oldest staff members sitting together ready to embark on another amazing OSRUI summer, together as one camp community. A place that we strive to be free of judgement or bias.  


While we have been making strides in many areas of inclusion over the past several years, we know there is work we still need to do to ensure each community members feels comfortable and confident bringing their whole and true self into a summer at camp. Our community is comprised of so many different groups.  From our campers to alumni, to our staff past, present and future, to our stake holders and to our prospective families, we want you to know that we see you.  We see those that are Jews of Color and those that belong to the LGBTQ+ community.  We see those in interfaith families and those with both visible and invisible disabilities.  OSRUI is the home to so many people and we will continue to assess, work and grow so that all our community members feel the welcome embrace when they walk through our gates and participate in our programs.   


This Fall, under the guidance of the URJ Audacious Hospitality department, OSRUI formed a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) working group.  This group is comprised of OSRUI former staff members, current staff members, current camper parents, board members and professional staff. Together we are critically looking and assessing the inner workings of OSRUI’s foundation, programs, trainings and communications.  We are having difficult conversations by acknowledging the way things have been done in the past and setting goals for the future. This exercise is helping us strive to reach our full potential and follow our core values of being an open and safe Jewish community dedicated to welcoming and valuing every individual. I am excited and optimistic to be on this journey with the DEI working group and look forward to continuing to share with our community the goals we set and progress we make so that OSRUI is a place where each community member is safe, able to enjoy all that camp have to offer, and has the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves.   


Debbie’s (she/her/hers) goal is to create a space where every camper can be successful at camp. She works on the OSRUI professional staff team year-round, and in the summer leads the OSRUI Camp Care team, which helps problem solve camper and staff concerns as they arise by working with campers, staff, and parents.  Originally from Toronto, Debbie grew up as a camper, counselor and unit head at OSRUI. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). When she’s not at camp, Debbie enjoys cooking and spending time with her family.   Debbie brings years of experience working with all ages in a range of settings as a social worker and psychotherapist.  She lives in Minnetonka, MN, with her husband, Rabbi David Locketz, and their two daughters, who both have grown up at camp and continue to spend their summers at OSRUI.

If you want to learn more about Diversity & Inclusion at camp you can schedule time to talk to Debbie by clicking HERE.