Len Duong Camp, the 12th Annual North American Youth Leadership Development Camp, organized by the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association (VCSA), took place at Crieff Hill Community Retreat Center at Puslinch, Ontario, Canada from July 3 to July 6, 2009. This year marked the 12th anniversary of camp Len Duong program and also the very first time the camp was taken out of the United States to be delivered in a camp site west of Toronto, Canada. The theme this year was “Leadership Beyond Borders – Energize the Passion and Seize the Opportunities” and its Vietnamese theme is to learn about the Vietnam geography and history.
Len Duong 2009 had more than 200 campers and staff coming from 10 US states and 4 Canadian provinces (Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec). The camp organizing committee comprises of more than 50 members, half of which are Canadians and the other half are from the States.
Camp 2009 opening ceremony
Len Duong 2009 Camp program
Friday, July 3, 2009:
Campers were transported to the campsite for registration throughout the day. From 7 pm to midnight, there was a diner, sport games, and ice-breaking sessions to allow campers to mingle with each other. Each camper also had to solve a riddle and found his/her camp team mates in 12 teams bearing the names of 12 different towns or cities in Vietnam, which will help campers to learn about Vietnamese geography.
Saturday, July 4, 2009:
After morning exercise and breakfast, all campers attended the Opening Ceremony and listened to the Keynote speech by Ms. Mina Trang Nguyen, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Business Affairs. She delivered an excellent keynote speech on goal setting, living one’s life with passion and leadership.
All teams then had the chance to know each other and had some team activities afterward. The twelve counsellors were assigned to 12 teams to work with the team throughout the weekend as advisors and supporters.
After lunch, campers chose to attend one of four 2 hour concurrent leadership workshops:
Campers listen to Mina Nguyen Tran speech
In the late afternoon, all teams participated in sports competition games and then joining in the Media presentation by Mr. Duong Phuc and Mrs. Vu, Thanh Thuy from Saigon Houston Radio 900Am with the topic “How to work the media?”. All teams were able to utilize the lessons they learned immediately by producing a video clip and work on a team project on critical issues faced by Vietnamese American/Canadian youths these days. Within two hours and throughout dinner teams, these teams worked magic and produced great video clip discussing: global issues such as human trafficking, community issues such as youth-at-risk and how to encourage more youth participation in the community activities and also on how to preserve the Vietnamese culture and closing the gaps between different generations in our community.
The bonfire with a lot of singing and also various youth activists sharing their involvement with others such as Kim Vu from Union of Vietnamese American Student Association from Atlanta, Georgia, Michelle Tran from VSA in University of British Columbia, and Minh Chau Phan, President of VSA at the University of Waterloo, Kitchener, Ontario. The bonfire led to the Youth forum discussion two separate topics: Youth-at-risks issues and Generational Gaps issues. The Youth-at-risk issues forum was facilitated by Anne-Marie Phuong Anh Pham from Calgary, Alberta and they had a very moving stories and sharing among the campers about the topic. The Generational Gaps issues were facilitated by Ms. Kim Yen Vu also brought many insights to the challenges that Vietnamese youth nowadays are facing related to cultural gaps.
Everyone ended the day with great supper provided by local Chief Cook Donald Dung Duong.
Sunday, July 5, 2009:
After morning exercise, religious services (Father Tuan Pham for Catholic campers and Ven. Thich Tam Hoa for Buddhist campers) and breakfast, all campers commenced a day full of activities.
Sunday was the Vietnamese Cultural Awareness Day in the program with two cultural workshops in the morning: the English session delivered by Mr. Jeff Watkins, Executive Director of YMCA International in Houston, Texas; and the Vietnamese session delivered by Mr. Bao Nguyen, Founder of VCSA, and Ms. Duy-Loan Le, Sr. Fellow, Texas Instruments.
Guest speakers Ms. Duy-Loan Lê, Kim-Yến Vũ, and Mina Nguyen Tran
The Big Game was always the highlight of the Sunday program with the theme “From ZERO to HERO”. The game taught Vietnamese history and values to all campers and throughout team work competition, team building and problem solving techniques they learned from previous days, the 12 teams competed with each other to win the game.
Everyone had such a great time throughout this 4 hour big game activity
After dinner, the Camp’s bonfire of two hours comprised of a great sketch with legends in Vietnamese literature, a presentation of every two-team’s sketch (either musical or theatrical with an emphasis on performing skills). After the bonfire, all campers ate supper and participated in the “Talent show” – with dance, songs, Vietnamese opera, martial arts until 1 am the next morning. The day was ended with a fantastic firework delivered by the Camp Assistant Tho Pham.
One of many big game checkpoints
Monday, May 28, 2007:
The judging committee announced the 3 winning teams of Len Duong 2007.
Team Nam Dinh won the first prize.
Team Saigon won the second place and the two teams Ha Noi and Thanh Hoa both won the 3rd place.
Each other team also won a special award for their special talents and services throughout the four days at camp.
A renovated and very well-prepared camp program
Len Duong 2009 was in fact a very well-orchestrated program put together by several VCSA members across the two countries Canada and United States. Camp masters Nhu Quynh (see right image) was assisted by two camp assistants from US (Duy Anh Truong) and from Canada (Tho Pham) with a great team of Program Managers: Christine Nguyen (Canada), Boon Tran and Dinh Ngo (US). The team consist of more than 50 staff, half of which were from Canada and half of which were from USA.
This year, each camper paid approximately $160 to pay for the camp fee, 11 meals provided by a great Food Catering team in
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