Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at the Club
As many, if not all, of you already know, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging has become an important topic of conversation in our country these past two years. It is an important topic for all walks of life, and in every corner of our society, including here at The Skating Club of Boston. But what does this term actually mean on a day-to-day basis here at the Club, and why is it important to our membership, our guests, our employees, and the sport of skating?
We intend for this page to outline how the Club understands the meaning of these terms and appreciates them as important objectives as the first step in establishing them as important for the entire Club community. We also want to outline where we believe the Club is now in creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, inclusive and belonging community, while also acknowledging the challenges and opportunities immediately before us.
We hope Club members and others new to the Club will use this page as a resource in better understanding the Club’s values and goals with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; to better inform themselves on the topic itself and why it is important to our culture, our sport and our ongoing relevance as an organization; and to establish greater trust that the Club is present and accessible to all its members.
“The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.”
Here at The Skating Club of Boston, our goal is to support a diverse membership, whose many constituencies comprise a community that is representative of the larger community of which we are part. Whether it be race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, birth gender, gender identity, age or more, the Club’s goal is to encourage and welcome members from all walks of life and all corners of the world into our community. Figuratively, the many different faces of the Club community represent the many threads of a cloth, that when woven together, create a fabric of greater richness and strength than one type of thread alone.
“The quality of being fair and impartial, and giving every member access to the same opportunities.”
Equity represents the fair, transparent and impartial distribution of resources (where applicable). Equity is different from equality. Equality represents treating every member and guest at the Club in the same fashion, according to the same rules, policies and standards, and without favor or prejudice to any. Hence equity should not be confused with equality. Importantly, equity must happen first if there is to be equality among members. As a starting point at the Club, this certainly means that the Club’s rules are clearly stated and easily accessible by all, and then holding every member, employee and guest to the same rules. For Club employees, there is also an Administrative Manual that outlines expectations, standards and rules for every employee at the Club, whether they be part of the facilities staff, the front office team, the 1240 Cafe or business office.
“The practice or policy of making all feel welcome, and with equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.”
At the Club, inclusion begins with making every member, guest and visitor feel welcome in the Club’s facility for who they are and the unique qualities each brings to the Club community, including the Club’s newest members, a constituency who are not yet familiar with the Club or many of its members.
“The feeling of being happy or comfortable as part of a particular community, and having a good relationship with the other members of the group because they welcome you, treat you as an equal, and accept you.”
Feeling you belong, and are an integral and respected member of the Club community is one of our most important goals. We believe this is true for all Club members, including our newest members who may not know many, or even any other Club members. The Skating Club of Boston is a single community of many different people, but all united by our common passion for the sport of skating. Belonging is an individualized feeling and experience, but one that every member of the Club can help promote for every other member of the Club. Holding a door, saying hello or expressing other acknowledgments of other members are simple courtesies but powerful drivers for everyone to feel they belong in our community.
Where are we now?
There are many things that the Club does now and plans to do moving forward to better foster equity, education and inclusion within our community.
– Promoting events and common experiences, such as Ice Chips and other events with opportunities to participate and/or volunteer. Volunteering side-by-side with a common goal is not only a great way to support important Club activities, it also provides an even foundation for building community and friendship.
– Member-to-member engagement through social opportunities in the Club lounge, whether it be weekly Thursday evenings in the Frieling Club Lounge, or periodic Friday night dinners celebrating seasonal cuisine.
– Celebrating various cultures within the Club community with special dinners honoring the Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day and others of interest to the Club membership.
– Expanding the Club’s holiday celebrations to more fully celebrate the many traditions of other cultures such as Hannukah and the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
– Fostering safe spaces and the opportunity for open dialogue for members in confrontation. The Club’s Membership Services Director is an easily-accessible resource for every member for this purpose, and should be contacted if you are in conflict with another member, coach or member of the management team. Communication is a critical tool for understanding for everyone at the Club.
– The 2016 World Championships Scholarship Fund with clearly communicated and transparent guidelines for how annual financial awards are made.
– The coming introduction of the Phoebe Weston Skaters’ Fund (formerly the Yarmouth Ice Club Skaters’ Fund) to support younger skaters across every skating discipline.
– Hosting or supporting special events that celebrate diverse cultural groups from veterans to the LGBTQIAP communities.
– The Club’s Adaptive Skating program is managed by The Skating Academy. This popular program provides children and adults with a wide range of disabilities access to the sport in a specialized skating experience. The Club believes that every member of the community interested in skating should have the opportunity to learn and participate in the joy of the sport.
But what about greater diversity at The Skating Club of Boston? There are many challenges facing the Club in creating a diverse community that better reflects the larger community around us. Figure skating is not an easily accessed sport, both in terms of geography and expense. We learned firsthand that without unlimited resources, it is impossible to build a skating facility in a city where the cost of land is so expensive, or even welcomed in Boston’s closely-knit neighborhoods. Yet at its beginning levels, choosing to skate for almost every family is a geographic decision. While the Club has programs that help bring skating to folks who live in the City of Boston via its operations at the Boston Common Frog Pond, it needs to also encourage a more diverse community of prospective members to its home facility in Norwood. This is especially true for the black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.
This starts with the Club’s Skating Academy membership, which, while increasingly diverse and inclusive of the BIPOC communities, is just the first step in attracting new members to the Club. The next challenge lies in creating more open paths to Club membership, better support systems for new members, and opportunities for financial support for younger members across every discipline. We recognize that all of these challenges are also opportunities, and important ones if the Club and the sport of skating are to remain relevant and important choices for families here and across the nation.
The Skating Club of Boston