Name & Logo Listening Circles

Journeying Together Toward A Respectful Future

For nearly eight decades, Camp Mini-Yo-We has been a place of learning and growth for tens of thousands of children and young people.  We're initiating a period of introspection rooted in our desire to ensure our branding reflects the respect, understanding and values we hold dear. We invite you to join us in this critical conversation.

Join a Listening Circle

A Time for Reflection and Renewal

Our story began in 1946 with the intention of introducing young people to the message of Jesus Christ. Rooted deeply in the Christian faith, we christened ourselves Camp Fountain of Living Waters, drawing inspiration from Jesus and his teachings. Our efforts to resonate with the younger generation led to the change of our name to Camp Mini-Yo-We. It incorporated Indigenous-sounding words and resulted in the inclusion of a teepee in our logo. The aim was simple: align with the positive associations and reverence for the natural world that many associated with Indigenous cultures and offer a sense of adventure to the young people we sought to lead.

Since that time, these branding choices have been part of our identity. The name Camp Mini-Yo-We and use of teepee imagery is associated with countless memories, life lessons, and personal transformations. However, with the growing awareness of the painful histories of residential schools in Canada and the undeniable fact that our branding drew from Indigenous cultures without proper understanding or permission, it has become imperative for us to introspect.

As a Christian organization in Canada, we don't turn a blind eye to history. Instead, we embrace the responsibility to educate ourselves, show empathy and act with respect toward the Indigenous communities whose symbols and practices we adopted. This reflection has led us to acknowledge and honour the land through acknowledgements placed in our cabins.

We are now at the crossroads of our history and our future. It’s not about cancellation but about progress that reflects our deepening understanding of past choices in the current context.  We believe it's crucial to reassess, relearn and possibly, renew.

This isn't a fleeting trend or a hurried reaction but rather having an understanding of historical experiences and therefore acting responsibly. It may be time for a new chapter in which Camp Mini-Yo-We continues its mission to inspire and shape tomorrow's leaders but does so with a change in our logo and/or name. 

Join us as we embark on this path of reflection and renewal. Your voice, insights, and experiences will ensure we take our next steps with care, wisdom, and respect.



Our Commitment

In the spirit of Canada's truth and reconciliation process and in response to the awareness surrounding residential schools and the experiences of Indigenous communities, we are initiating a period of introspection. We wish to examine carefully the appropriateness of the words "Mini-Yo-We" and the teepee in our logo.

We recognize the responsibility to address and correct the unintentional insensitivities from our past, ensuring that we're creating a respectful environment for everyone connected to Camp Mini-Yo-We.

Our Board will thoughtfully consider all feedback and insights gathered. It is essential to understand that this is not just an exercise but a genuine commitment to aligning our branding with respect and awareness. As such, Camp’s leadership  will weigh the collective voices of our community and decide on potential changes to our name and logo. Whether the outcome is a modification, a complete change, or a decision to retain our existing identity, it will be based in deep consideration, empathy, and the desire to reflect our values. This is a pivotal moment for Camp Mini-Yo-We, and we trust in the wisdom of our community and the guidance of our Board to lead us forward.

We understand that for many people, our name and logo are deeply emotional symbols of cherished memories. While we embark on this journey, we pledge to remain sensitive to these sentimental ties. We promise to tread with utmost respect and consideration while balancing our desire to examine what our faith demands in response to the tragedies done to Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Leading the Conversation

Our Board has entrusted Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo to spearhead this process, supported by our Executive Director, Rich Birch. Their backgrounds and dedication to inclusivity and understanding make them the ideal leaders for this initiative.

Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo

  • Focuses on the history and impacts of residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Calls to Actions.
  • Special Advisory on Indigenous Initiatives and convenor of the Indigenous Advisory Circle at Victoria University.
  • Previous roles include Director of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Toronto and teaching at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.
  • Personal interests include skiing, knowledge of superheroes, and spending time with his family, which includes a bunny and a cat. He's also a proud Mohawk from Kahnawake and an unwavering Montreal Canadiens fan.

Rich Birch

  • Dedicated to helping young leaders thrive, with nearly three decades of leadership experience in the non-profit sector.
  • Author of two books and a consultant for Christian non-profits across North America on issues of growth and culture.
  • Enjoys family life with his two young adult children, Haley and Hunter, and his wife, Christine. They share their home with their whimsical dog, Rory.

Other team members on this initiative include:

  • Rob Elliot
  • Steve Gibson
  • Rod Stein
  • Brittany Anne Howson-Jan
  • Spencer Tamming


Join Us in the Listening Circles

We believe in the power of collective voices. To ensure a well-rounded perspective, we are organizing a series of Listening Circles to gather insights, opinions, and suggestions. Everyone is vital in this journey, and we want to ensure your voice is heard.

How You Can Participate

Different stakeholder groups have been identified, each with its own unique connection to Camp Mini-Yo-We. For every group, there's an opportunity for in-person discussion (some face-to-face, some online). Additionally, if you cannot join the circles, a dedicated platform will be available for you to offer written feedback. Our goal is to have these conversations over the Fall of 2024. Here's a brief overview of each group:

  • Tomorrow’s Leaders: This group consists of our dynamic young leaders. From current summer staff to interns and our year-round team, this circle captures the perspectives of those actively guiding our campers. It took place at Summer’s End in 2023. 
  • Camper Families: The heart and soul of Mini-Yo-We! This circle includes parents of campers registered for the 2024 summer season and families who have been with us over the past two years.
  • Donors, Alumni, and Adult Volunteers: This circle brings together our extended family: those who have generously given over the years, our cherished alumni, and adult volunteers who have selflessly offered their time and expertise.
  • Connected Public: Our partners in making Camp Mini-Yo-We a success! From the leaders of recent rental groups to our immediate neighbours and our vendors, this circle captures the essence of our broader community.
  • First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Listening Circle: A very special circle dedicated exclusively to members of these communities who have any of the above connections to Camp Mini-Yo-We. We highly value your unique insights and experiences.

Listening, Learning, and Living Our Faith

As the Canadian truth and reconciliation process emphasizes acknowledging and understanding, we too aim to learn from our past. 

Jesus' teachings guide us, highlighting the importance of care, respect, and empathy for all. Our commitment is to remain open-hearted and embrace the lessons of Jesus' teaching. Let's forge a future for  what Camp Mini-Yo-We represents, that resonates with our values, ensuring a legacy of inspiration and respect for future generations.

Thank you for adding your insights! You will help shape the legacy and future of Camp Mini-Yo-We.

For further details or inquiries about the Listening Circles, please contact Rich Birch.

Are you interested in joining a Listening Circle? Fill the interest form to be among the first to be contacted with more information about joining a Listening Circle.

Join a Listening Circle