b'OWNERS PERSPECTIVE nBY JEFF CRIDERThe Jansens Work to Create a Welcoming EnvironmentforAllatLassenRVResort Likemanyentrepreneurs,Benand Danelle Jansen wanted to create a new vi-sion for their lives and they saw the camp-ground business as a great opportunity to blend their interests in the outdoors, art and community. They purchased Lassen RV Resort in McArthur, Calif., in March 2020 and have spent the past two years developing their unique vision for the 44-site park. But while many newcomers to the pri-vate park business focus on making cos-meticimprovementsoraddingnew amenities to their parks, the Jansens have made it a priority to make their rustic, 68-acrecampgroundintoaplacewhere everyone feels welcome, and seen, re-gardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual ori-entation or religion. Theyre also trying to make their park as welcoming as possible to people with differing physical abilities. Its a tall order, but one the Jansens are uniquely equipped to take on given their unique personal and professional back- Danelle and Ben Jansen A welcome sign for deaf campers is part of how Lassen RV Park caters to campers of all abilities. grounds, family histories and life experi-ences,whichtheysharedinrecentnobody feels targeted. When you havetreats prospective guests over the phone.there is no race, Ben said. But this (ap-interviews with Woodalls Campgroundan intentionally degrading or inflamma- Am I welcoming folks when they call inproach) unfortunately masks all the is-Magazine (WCM).tory slogan or tag on your rig, youre notand have a strong accent from India? shesues you need to delve into to understand Ben identifies as mixed Native Ameri- inviting conversation, youre shouting atasked.the issues going on with race, culture and can and anglo and is a member of thepeople, Ben said, adding, We try to de- Ben said the quality of phone interac- identity in this countryespecially when Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. He was adoptedvelop practices to promote compassion,tions can have a profound effect on peo- it comes to indigenous peoples and other by a white family in Boulder, Colo., andwhich can safely include deeply uncom- ples experiences with and perceptions ofpeopleofcolor.Makingraceinvisible grew up with adopted siblings who werefortable conversations and non-agree- a campground. He said there have beenmakes oppression invisible. of African American and other ethnicities.ment.times when a reservation comes fromAs adults, Ben and Danelle gained ad-Danelle also has a mixed background,The Jansens also make concerted ef- someone whose name he wasnt sure howditional sensitivity and respect for peo-with Spanish and Mexican heritage.forts to verbally communicate with theirto pronounce. But he did research onlineples differences by developing careers The Jansens have also been inspired byguests enough to make sure they truly feelto find out how to pronounce the guestshelping people with disabilities, experi-the principles of the Burning Man culturalwelcome. We try to provide a deep levelname correctly.ences which gave them awareness about events they attended in northern Nevadaof kindness, Ben said. We desire for peo- Peoplearesohappytoheartheirdiscrimination that goes beyond racial or over the past decade, which include theple to experience our campground whoname pronounced correctly. Its one of theethnic lines. Ben worked for a nonprofit concepts of radical inclusion, civic re- may feel under-invited in the industry.first steps of respect, Ben said.company called Imagine, which provides sponsibility and leaving no trace, amongHe cited a recent example of a mixedBen and Danelle make extraordinaryservices to help incorporate people with other principles. The Jansens have takencouple, an Apache man with his angloefforts to make all of their guests feel wel- developmentaldisabilitiesintotheir their life experiences, their Buddhist prac- wife, who came to their park. We got tocome because they both grew up withcommunities. Danelle spent two decades tice and their Burning Man experiencestalking and the man said, It is so nice tocomplicatedfeelingsaboutraceandworking with deaf people as a sign lan-and used them to create a guiding philos- be seen (at an RV campground). Peopleknow what its like to have ones racial orguage interpreter. ophy of inclusion at Lassen RV Resort,never talk to me. They only talk to myethnicidentitysuppressed.WhileReflecting sensitivity to deaf people, where they make a conscious effort towife, Ben recalled.DanellesgrandmothertriedtoeraseLassen RV Resort features signs with sign make everyone feel welcome, regardlessBen said it takes effort to reach out toevery trace of Spanish and Mexican cul- language symbols, including a sign along of their race, ethnicity, gender identity,everyone and make them feel truly wel- tureinherfamily,Bensparentsat- the driveway into the park that says Wel-sexual orientation, respective religion orcome. It requires leaning into the dis- temptedtomakeraceinvisible,asifcome Home in the American Sign Lan-whether they have a physical challenge ofcomfort of not knowing somebody, heracism was someone elses problem andguage alphabet. This is also how they some kind.said. It requires empathy, compassionsought to be above it.greet you at Burning Man as you check in They do this in part by having a policyand leadership.I grew up in a time when the adoptionthrough the gates, Ben Jansen said. that prohibits displaying political slogansDanelle said making people feel wel- theory was, Dont talk about race withHe said deaf campers feel particularly or symbols that denigrate people so thatcome also applies to the way park staffadopted children. Treat everybody as ifwelcome at Lassen RV Resort since they Art classes at Lassen RV Park allow campers to help decorate the park.Art classes at Lassen RV Park are designed to help campers connect with each other. 36 September 2022 Woodalls Campground Magazine'