Updated usually on Mondays and/or Thursdays!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Dig Into Your Roots

Korean Heritage Camp 2015

I had the honor and privilege of going to the 2015 Korean Heritage Camp for adopted children! I am not adopted, so I wasn't a participant of the activities. Instead, I was the camp's cinematographer, in which I was able to go around and film everywhere. KHC is hosted annually in the Rocky Mountains at Snow Mountain Ranch. It began 24 years ago and has grown tremendously over the years. Because of Korean Heritage Camp, 12 other Heritage Camps have been created; it was the first and original of all 13 Heritage Camps. There were nearly 1,000 people involved with KHC this year. 

KHC is a family camp, so the entire family is there for four days and three nights. The purpose of KHC is to educate Korean adoptees and their families about the Korean culture and to provide a sense of Korean identity and community to them also. Because the majority of Korean adopted children do not have Korean parents, they are unfamiliar with the Korean culture. Thus, this camp gives them an opportunity to appreciate and learn about their roots. 

Camp activities ranged from calligraphy to cooking to counseling. This camp was so unique and cultural that it is must-share! While I was there, I met families from various states. Some came from foreign countries or all the way from Korea. It was so touching to see how the parents cared and loved their children. Because of my experience, I am truly considering adopting children one day. All the parents I spoke to talked about how they felt so grateful and blessed. One mom told me that she doesn't know how it happens, but you always get the child you are meant to have. The families were so special.

A lot of the photographs below are still-frames from video clips, so they may not be very focused. I am currently creating a documentary on the camp, so I will share the link with all of you once it is completed. Here is the link to the KHC website if you're interested in reading more:  http://www.heritagecamps.org/what-we-do/the-camps/korean.html

Left: The view outside my cabin Right: Korean Tea Ceremony
Left: Dongman Han delivering a seminar to the adults and high-schoolers//Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco Right: Pam, Mimi, Jacqueline, and Kelli//KHC Camp Directors
Left: Korean Lantern Craft Right: The Anderson Family//Mr. and Mrs. Anderson adopted 3 Korean children
Pre-schoolers learning to play the Sogo (소고), a traditional Korean drum.
During lunch, over 800 people gather to eat a meal prepared by the Korean community. 
Right: Middle-schoolers learn how to cook kimbap (김밥), a popular Korean dish.
Kids compete to make the best tasting kimbap!
Another middle-school group learned calligraphy and to write in Korean.
Left: Excited pre-schoolers! Right: Dad and adopted son
Left: Two little girls dressed up in hanboks (한복). Right: He was showing off his magical watches!
Taekwondo is Korean self-defense. It has become a popular sport, and you are likely to find a studio nearby you. 
Left: Elementary school kids learning to read Korean and do crafts. Right: Picture of the Korean traditional dress, hanbok. They were selling used ones at a cheap price. I was so close to buying another one.

The most rewarding part of this camp was realizing how lucky and proud I am to be Korean. As a Korean-American, I have grown up getting the best of both worlds. The Korean culture is exceptional, and I am so thankful that it has shaped me as an individual. Dig into your roots!

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