Virtual Korea Camp

The last few years Father’s Day weekend has found us up in the mountains at Korean Heritage Camp. It is one of our favorite weekends of the year and we all learn so much. However with all things COVID this year Heritage Camps had to make the difficult decision to not hold camp in person. However they “pivoted” and did an amazing job of creating virtual camps. I have to be honest, even though I’m on the board of directors for Heritage Camps and was one of the Elementary Coordinators this year for Korea Camp I was a little hesitant and didn’t know really what to expect or how it was all going to go down. Turns out I was worried for no reason.

We started Friday evening with the traditional Hanbok parade and traditional Korean drumming. The kids were excited to put on their hanboks and I realized Coppelia has out grown hers, but she was fine and happy with it. The drums played and the kids danced and laughed and had a great time watching other families on zoom and hearing the Korean Drums. During part of the opening ceremony Toby Dawson who was part of the US ski team for the 2006 Olympic year and won a bronze medal. He is a Korean Adoptee and has been a long time camp supporter and worked as a counselor and brought his medal to camp in the past. He zoomed in from Thailand and talked with the kids (and families) and answered questions. The next mornings I found all the kids running through each others rooms all trying to find Korean shirts to wear….they had all worn their Korea Camp shirts so much last summer that they were not wearable anymore. They found some Olympic shirts and were ready to go for the first section. In the morning there were a session for the younger kids with a couple of Korean stories read and then a session for the older elementary kids with Tae-Kwon-Do and traditional folk art project. As it turned out all the kids did each of the sessions because they were so excited. Many of the counselors jumped on the different sessions and were fun to watch their eyes well up with pride and tears over our kids and how much they care for them. Leighton had his Middle School session after lunch and got to make and bake Korean Street food which he was super excited about. He finished his session out with a traditional Korean folk art project.

Clint and I had a couple of parent sessions which are always so good and we walk away a little overwhelmed by how much we still have to learn and also challenged and encouraged at the same time. This year a big focus was on Race and biracial families and how to learn and grow and support our kids and to be an ally for the world at large. So pertinent in todays world.

We finished camp off with a massive dance party. I think it went on for 45 minutes. Dan Matthews who goes by Dan AKA Dan is a hip hop artist who has shared his adoption story in documentary form ran the music for the dance party over zoom and our zoom just cycled through family after family dancing and playing and goofing off in our living rooms. We had so much fun and laughed and giggled so much during it. Camp finished off with a rendition of “Happy Adoption Day” which is always preformed each year during closing ceremonies at camp, but this year a number of counselors got together and did their own version and there were very few dry eyes after watching it. You can see it here . The next morning I asked the kids what they thought of camp, they all said they missed camp in person and it going on for a few days but they all said they had a great time and were so glad that we “did” camp even though we had to do it over zoom.