By Jeanette Tran - BN Magazine
Since 1998, the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association (VCSA) has organized Len Duong, an annual national youth leadership development camp. The camp aims to recruit young Vietnamese leaders who are currently involved, or have strong interest in, the development of their communities. In English, Len Duong means embark on a journey, and for the past nine years, the camp has aided hundreds of Vietnamese American youth nationwide to embark on their personal journeys to becoming better leaders and more active members of their respective communities.
Len Duong asks that you be at least 18 years old to attend the camp, and a registration fee does apply ($110), but what the group offers thir attendees in terms of highly practical leadership and team building skills make the wait and the cost of the camp well worth it.
According to Anhlan Nguyen, Board Chair of VCSA, Len Duong's future goal is to develop leaders for the Vietnamese communities from around the world, and someday to develop leaders for the country of Viet Nam. Ms. Nguyen encourages Vietnamese youth from all around the world to spread the spirit of Len Duong's positive messages through taking a stand in whatever local scene they may find themselves in. The globalization of Len Duong has not been rapid, but is certainly well on its way to being realized. In 2005, Len Duong saw their first Vietnamese Australian trek to the US to attend their events, and at their most recent camp, which took place over Memorial Day weekend in Virginia at Prince William Forest Park, they witnessed the graduation of their first Vietnamese youth from France. This youth was just one of the 200 Len Duong Camp graduates this year.
2007 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Len Duong?s existence, and, thus the group plans on centering their next camp meeting on the highlighting of the 10 most current and prominent Vietnamese leaders who have graduated from the Len Duong Camp in the past. This 10 will probably be difficult to choose, but such a difficulty will only serve as a testament to Len Duong?s accomplishments.
As Len Duong has been so successful in the United States, it is perhaps unsurprising that Len Duong fever has also hit our neighbors to the north, Canada. One month after the 2006 Virginia Len Duong Camp, the VCSA Toronto chapter hosted the very first Len Duong Canada Camp. This Canadian version of the Len Duong camp, like the original Len Duong, aims to provide the same leadership training program for Vietnamese Canadian youths from across Canada. See www.toronto.vcsa.org for more information.
As we can see from Len Duong's abilities to slowly but surely attract a global audience and to inspire other organizations to adopt their principles and models for community leadership training, this certainly will not be the last that we will be hearing from this particular group of idealists.
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