Hello Readers. Like every year camp is full of awkward drama, ok Korean-ish food, good friends, and weird amounts of flirting! I loved the class I had this year, and my fellow aid David was great! I had some pretty kickin' teens too! Class 4-C baby!! Korean Culture Camp is wonderful, magical, I grew up with it, and I do love it.. But I think this might be my last year.
As an adoptee aid I have no say in anything at all. Camp is run by the Caucasian parents for the Caucasian parents. Everyday at assembly you could see the tension building between the 2 camp directors too. Camp feels like its falling apart.
"Teen Camp was a huge success!" said the parents, But unfortunately the teens told a very different story. They were always surrounded by parents, They never got real time to talk about anything real, And the only thing that they felt good about was packing meals for starving children.. Which actually had nothing to do with being Korean-American or adopted at all.
I tried all through the school year and all summer to contact the moms in charge, and they ignored my ridiculous amount of emails. I am really incredibly hurt and super pissed that they would keep out the one adoptee aid who still had hope in really helping these young adoptees.
I really wanted to be the self-esteem teacher so badly. I already talk with most of the teens about real things regarding adoption, being Korean-American, loving you're own sexual orientation, and just what its like to be a teen. I preach not religion, but total acceptance and tolerance of all kinds of people. Plus I've been going to KCC since kindergarten, and write and speak in the Asian-American and international adoptee communities. I even had a lesson plan for the entire week written out and everything planned.
The majority of our aids this summer were, you guessed it, Caucasian parents! This creates a very negative environment for the kids. They micromanage their own kid all day, and/or harshly control all of the kids. Even when a parent isn't like that at all, their presents in the classrooms makes all the kids feel insecure and awkward when talking about Korean things.
The reason why we had such a rush of parent aids vs adoptee aids is because most of the adoptee aids didn't come back this year. They all had the same excuses too, Many admit to really just giving up on camp changing hands, To our hands. Most of us feel like camp only got sicker with what Teen Camp ended up being.. The whitest and saddest culture camp ever.
I feel sick to not go to back to camp.. But I feel even sicker supporting an organization that does not support the kids and does not support the adoptee aids. The reason why the kids and teens love us so much isn't because we are all magically super cool. They love us because they can look up to us. They trust us to understand them, and to care about them because we went through and are still going through the same things. We make sure camp is a safe place for them and the sharing of their feelings.
I have and will forever stand up to any parent that tells me I am wrong to say to my campers I love them all regardless if they're gay, Regardless of their religion, Regardless if they don't believe in God, And regardless of how they feel on their adoption. For me to say otherwise would be me making camp an unsafe place for their feelings. To me Korean camp is about one magical week in summer. Where you are surrounded by campers, teens, and aids who are just like you. You are surrounded by the love and acceptance of faces just like yours. Korean camp is your home when you feel confused and homeless the entire rest of the year. It's the highlight of your summer, of your year, and the warmest safest shelter in a scary lonely tossing sea of emotions.
I can't say goodbye to Korean Culture Camp just yet.. Maybe I will do it next year.. But I am looking at other Korean camps to work at. I'm sorry, but KCC has just gotten so sick. Teen Camp is sick.