월요일, 6월 17, 2024
HomeNewsKorean Heritage Camp’s 32nd Anniversary Successfully Closes the Curtain

Korean Heritage Camp’s 32nd Anniversary Successfully Closes the Curtain

spot_img

More than 120 Families and 750 Participants Enjoy
Korean Culture and Activities

     This year, the Korean Heritage Camp marked its 32nd anniversary and the participation rate ranked of the highest in the last few years. Due to the pandemic, the Korean Heritage Camp had to be held through online platform and the level of participation was slowing down. However, this year, more than 140 adoptive families and approximately 750 people visited the Korean Heritage Camp which was held from June 15th to 19th. Many families and volunteers gathered at the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch and celebrated their root and Korean culture.

     This camp is a celebration of Korean culture, and of adoptive families. Moreover, this blending of culture and families has created an enriching, supportive space for the campers of all ages. The Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families began in 1992 when 40 families with children adopted from Korea gathered together on weekends to experience Korean culture. Since then, as more families started to participate, just within 4 years it has grown to nine camps that classify more than 1,000 adoptive families who have adopted children born in more than 40 countries around the world.

     The Heritage Camp also aims to support the healthy development of families formed by adoption and to encourage children to grow successfully into healthy adults proud of their family and roots, while providing an essential link for families to share with each other. It is that connection – with other families, a child’s cultural heritage, the greater community, and role models – that affirms a child’s self-worth and belonging.

Participants at the Heritage Camp are enjoying Korean food provided by the Korean community (Photo by Lee Hyun-Jin)

     The camp is divided by age and grade from kindergarten to high school, and students wear uniform provided and roam around the wide YMCA camping site under the guidance of volunteer teachers according to the set timetable. Volunteers who have registered in advance take classes according to the camp’s operating guidelines, or fulfill their duties in various genres such as food service or student guidance.

The Korean community generously provided lunch to everyone two days, and the amount is enormous since it was approximately 750 people per meal. After lunch, various types of classes start such as tubing, zip line, baseball, basketball, roller skating, rafting, K-pop dance learning, cooking, folk painting, taekwondo as well as sharing concerns for teenagers and skin care classes for parents. Those who participated in the camp this year enjoyed Colorado’s nature and the camp by visiting a large site located at the foot of the mountain.

In the cooking class, children are seen making and deliciously eating hotteok (Photo by Lee Hyun-Jin)

During the interview with Colorado Times, Pam Sweetser, an executive Director for the Heritage Camp stated “I am so glad that more families and friends have visited camp this year compared to last year. Many people are grateful for the increasing interest and support from the Korean community.” This year, the number of volunteers for the camp amounted to almost 300 people. Sydney, one of the volunteers that the Colorado Times met, said “I started to participate as a volunteer for my daughter, who was only 2 years old when I first adopted her 12 years ago. Since then, every year, our family has been steadily participating in the camp and this year is even more special since my daughter is participating as a counselor.”

Another Korean volunteer, Gong Jeong-myung said he has been serving as a coordinator for the last 7 years at the camp. “Many people come and go as volunteers. The continuous interest and participation of volunteers are paramount for a high-quality program for adopted children. Parents of adoptive families want their children to fully experience Korean culture and have a great time with their peers. If more volunteers and pay attention to the camp and participate annually, it will help these children make good memories about their root,” he said.

Most Korean adoptees who participate in the Heritage Camp have parents who infinitely love them and pay constant attention to them. However, it is not easy for these children to adapt to a new culture, language and family environment. Understanding and respecting their roots is a huge challenge for them. Listening to the stories of the children who participated in this year’s camp enable us to understand how hard they are trying to find their own cultural roots in a new environment.

People coming forward and dancing in cheer at the APPA Band performance (Photo by Kang Hayne)

Hence, it is necessary for the Korean community to take a responsibility of supporting them to understand and be proud of their cultural roots while successfully adapting to their new lives. The community should consistently provide them with language education programs, create opportunities to experience Korean culture, provide psychological support and provide networking opportunities. The Korean Heritage Camp is where all these opportunities and bonding happens.

On the last night of this year’s Heritage Camp, various games were played and some performances were showcased in the auditorium and Korean volunteers provided free chocolate pies, puffed rice and yogurt. For this year’s camp, numerous volunteers have sponsored the event, participated in the camp activities, served with their children, prepared food and gladly donated money. The names of institutions and companies that have participated in the sponsorship of the Korean Heritage Camp are as follows: H-Mart, M-Mart, Denver Jeja Church, Korean Christian Church, The Women’s Group of Helen Cho, St. Lawrence Korean Catholic Church, Jeil Methodist Church, Hallelujah Church, TekMax LLC, Hanmaeum Senior Center, Duluth Presbytherian Church, Second Home Community, Appa Band, Weekly Focus, Marine Corps Chairman Chung Yong-Soo and Colorado Times.

By YAEWON CHO

y.rachelcho@gmail.com

spot_img
Rachel Y cho
Rachel Y cho
• BA Journalism&Mass Communication, Korea University • BA International Studies, Korea University • MA International Security, University of Denver

뉴스레터 구독하기

이메일을 남겨주세요. 중요한 최신 소식을 보내드립니다.

콜로라도 타임즈 신문보기spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
spot_img

Most Popular