Monday, October 04, 2010

Celebrating Heritage (con familia)

I was searching for something interesting about this month being LA Heritage Month, and when I typed in "Latin American Heritage..." to google, I looked at the predictive options that show up underneath and something caught my eye. Underneath "... month" there was "... camp" and I know how I love camp, so I checked it out. This link is for a bunch of nationality heritage camps for adoptees.
I really like the concept of summer camps for kids who are in some aspect different from most of the other kids they live and interact with on a daily basis. In fact, I've attended one every August from the past 10 years and don't see myself ever missing a year. Granted, my camp is for diabetics (and I really do have a love for the place and program) but I figured that these heritage camps would function along the same lines: tailoring its activities so the campers feel like they are one of many, many kids who deal with the same things they do. I know at my diabetes camp (Camp Setebaid) we have time set aside for checking our blood sugars and everyone does it. All the campers are diabetic, and most of the staff is, too, so it helps that you aren't the exception for once. Being at camp is like being normal for that week because EVERYONE knows how to deal with diabetes and they'll all look out for you, and share stories of their experiences - bad and good - but it makes you feel at home. The friends I have from camp are some of the closest friends I have ever made, and we really do bond over everything we do at camp - diabetes-relatede and not.
But anyways, back to the heritage camps: I think it's awesome that kids who are adopted have a place (at least in Colorado - ironically where one of my diabetic friends moved to this summer after camp) where they can feel normal - even if they are the only Latin American, or whatever race, in their home. I can relate to these kids in an unexpected way, but it's really comforting. At Setebaid, we learn new ways to cope with and treat our diabetes, and I'm sure at these heritage camps the campers learn new ways to celebrate their heritage, from other campers and from the staff, just like I did. All in all, these camps are a wonderful counterpart to other summer camps that take everyone (but better for the kids who are unique because they finally feel like they have a family just like them).

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