Every cabin has five bunks to accommodate 10 children, two single beds for the counselors, and ZGF was careful to maintain a visual connection between the two sides for safety purposes. No curtains were used to close off the bunks, but instead private changing rooms were brought into the cabins as opposed to the separate communal ones along with bathrooms that campers used to have to travel to, or worse, change right in their beds—a nearly impossible, anxiety-inducing task, especially if a child is transitioning. The bunks are equipped with space to store more private, intimate items such as makeup, undergarments or medication. Shower rooms and all gender, equitable restrooms were also added to each cabin, allowing for everyone to have privacy while still being part of a community. “Organizing the changing and bathing facilities collectively helps create the sense of not being called out or being ‘other,’ as everyone is doing the same thing,” explained Hills, and no one can be questioned for using a specified restroom or changing area.
Cabins also feature an open, multi-use central area inside for everyone to gather for further connections to be made and strengthened. Outside is a fire pit that cabins are orientated around for the entire unit, with paths that lead them to other locations. ZGF was careful to make sure all sleeping quarters face away from the main path for further privacy, as each bunk has an operable window.
“Beyond that (the fire pit) is the big wide world of Camp Namanu, and all the nature surrounding it, which can be overwhelming for kids not used to it. So their cabins are meant to be that safe haven – a respite from the excitement and joy of the outdoors,” Hills said.
Another directive from the client was to have as light a touch on the