Vietnam Culture Camp — Unforgettable

ATG’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Aivy Nguyen, returned for another summer volunteering as camp counselor for Catalyst Foundation‘s Vietnamese Culture Camp. Here is her recap of her weekends.

“Two weekends. Two cities. One sad ATG’er who’s sad another year of camp is over.

Yet another wonderful year of camp has passed with more memories and stories with the kids, parents counselors and staff at Catalyst Culture Camps in Northfield, MN and New Haven, CT. With two camps back to back, my culturally fused weekend was a blur of kids, play-time, snack-time, arts, crafts, circle painting and the infamous never-ending piggy back rides.

Midwest Catalyst Culture Camp
East Coast Catalyst Culture Camp

This year, I was lucky enough to be chosen as camp counselor for both the Midwest and East Coast camps. Double the fun. Double the excitement. Double the amounts of lost sleep. All the while, it was very much worth every minute, because each Vietnamese adoptee I meet is a reminder of why I love doing what I do for ATG — providing ways to help raise funds for the orphans still in Vietnam so that they can hopefully one day have the same opportunities as the children I meet at Catalyst.

Day one of Minnesota camp is always a joy, as it gives the opportunity for many of the campers and parents to meet and get to know the counselors on a more one-to-one level. They also have their chance to dunk their favorite counselors during the Catalyst Carnival.

This year also reunited myself, Jack Nguyen and our incredible improv emcee skills for the counselor talent show. I was very impressed to see such an array of skills in acting, dancing, fiddle-playing and most impressively — song writing. Catalyst Culture Camp finally got its theme song, thanks to the counselors from Group 4 who re-wrote the lyrics to Katy Perry’s “California Girls” for culture camp. To see/hear a real treat, visit the Catalyst Foundation Fan Page.

The addition of Circle Painting and Vovinam also brought different cultural learning lessons to camp. The kids learned how to build onto each other’s creativity with painting, as well as the great art of martial arts and self-defense with Vovinam.

With more activities that filled the day than I could imagine, the best of all of them was getting to bond with the kids. Each one with their own story, their own history, their own personalities and ability to adapt. Every year I return, I grow more impressed and attached, not only with the kids, but the parents who have given a piece of themselves to share their lives and love. To the parents and kids, I thank you again for another great summer.

To see more of Aivy’s camp adventures, be sure to visit our ATG Fan Page and check out our photo albums!

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