06 August 2012

Trai He Thieu Nhi 2012

This summer has been a rollercoaster ride between my youth work, South Africa and two children's summer camps. It's all good though, because there's nothing I enjoy more than to work with youth. My last post was about me preparing to say goodbye to Cape Town again. Once I got back in Holland, I had two days to prepare myself for Trai He Thieu Nhi and didn't had time to write another post until now.

Trai He Thieu Nhi is a catholic summer camp for children of Vietnamese heritage in Holland. At this camp, the children learn more about God and the Vietnamese culture. They're prepared to receive their Holy Communion or Confirmation. Although this is the foundation of the camp, the most important thing for us as camp leaders is to make sure that the kids have tons and tons of fun!

I used to attend these camps every summer ever since I was four years old. The thing I loved most about the camps is to hang out with my friends. These are the friends who I would only see once a year, but keep in touch with by writing letters (we didn't had e-mail or smart phones back in the days). This is probably the only reason why I still have Vietnamese friends. This is why I'm really glad that I get to contribute to keep this camp continuing for the next generations.

My Holy Communion class in 1992

Helvoirt, 1998

Trai He Thieu Nhi 2012 has been a huge success. The kids were angels! They were so mild and obedient that I was a bit in shock. They listened to everything that we said... no sneaking out of their rooms in the middle of the night and going to bed at a decent hour. I almost wanted to give the elder kids some tips on how to break out, but I didn't. I remember my days as a kid during these camps; it was a hobby to think of ways to break out of our rooms to annoy the camp leaders. It was a good and fun competition between kids and camp leaders.

The angels of 2012

The children were rather young this year so I'm pretty sure that they will come up with some tricks for us in the coming years. I really enjoyed seeing the children having a good time. We were blessed with a beautiful location, good food, great weather, a lot of help from parents, very kind and fun children which all let to this wonderful week.

Tôma: Philippe and I couldn't wish for a more wonderful group!

The thing that I'm most proud of is to see the next generation of camp leaders rise to the occasion. We had a mixture of old, current and new generation camp leaders. Our plan is to 'train' the new generation so that they will be ready to take over in a couple of years. It is a lot to ask of these youngsters during their first year of camp leadership. I saw them grow into their role as camp leaders and am so so so proud of each and every one of them. They are the ones who have made a difference in the experience of this camp for the children. I'm very glad and grateful that I got to witness this.

Old, current & new generation of camp leaders

Tuan, Yvan, Lucia, Philippe, Patrick, Jimmy, Anthony & Terence, 
thanks for everything that you've put in to this camp. 
Chi Nhi is very proud of you!! 

Lots of love,
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