National Leadership Youth Camp
May 26-29, 2000, Camp Carter YMCA, Fort Worth - Texas
|About Len Duong Camp||Camp Reunion|
|Len Duong 1999|
Special guests Josephine Cam Van and Dat Nguyen after the opening ceremony
|Link to Ly Thuong Kiet's home page:|
|If your team have its own home page that you like to link from this page, please email to email@example.com|
Camp Fire Pictures
Big Game Pictures more pictures of big games are coming ...
Preliminary Camp Report
Hi all; I hope that those who attended Len Duong 2000 already recovered from all the three intensive days full of activities and projects in the last weekend (walking from the Headquarter to the Dining Hall was already a good exercise to keep your body fit! :-)). I would like to update y'all about what happened in the last weekend. We all had a blast!!!
Len Duong 2000 youth leadership camp was held from 5:00pm Friday May 26 to 2:00pm Monday May 29, 2000 at Camp Carter YMCA in Fort Worth Texas, a beautiful area around the lake CottonWood. We had 8 cabins which were named after the famous towns in Vietnam like: Hue^', Saigon, Ha` No^.i, DDa` La.t, Ca^`n tho*, Ha` Tie^n, Ba('c Ninh, La.ng So*n, etc..
This year due to the limitation of the camp site we had to turn down quite a few late registration forms... We had 259 campers altogether (based on the database we have) with about 55% female and 45% male campers. The group of campers this year was a wonderful group with a lot of enthusiasm and great spirit and most of all, the spirit of participation and team work. We have campers from as far as Alberta, Canada, Toronto, Canada, and campers from out of state like: Colorado Spring, New York, Philadelphia, California, Ohio, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Seattle, Washington State, Florida, Washington DC and New Jersey. Many of them are VSA officers or currently active with community programs and projects.
The camp atmosphere was already exciting right at the beginning when the Ice Breaking Games Session started at 9:00pm on Friday night. Under the direction of anh Tran Quoc Tuan from Toronto, Canada and also with the assistance of Duong Dieu from Oklahoma City, the ice-breaking games went through with lots of fun and excitement. All campers were challenged right at the beginning when each of them had to solve a riddle to find their team mate and working together to find the solution of the riddle before the Opening Ceremony the following day.
(There was something that I'd like to share with you and also to show my admiration of the enthusiasm and the spirit of volunteer that this couple demonstrated. On the way to the camp, Ngo Hoa Lac and Nguyet Minh ran into a tragic accident, the car was flipped three or four times and totally wrecked. Because of some miracle, both Lac and Minh survived although Minh was injured and hospitalized right after that. Although under that tragic accident, Lac still remembered his responsibility as a Camera man for the camp and also technical assistant for the slide presentation, he called me from the hospital to ask someone to pick up the equipment from him at the hospital. Later in the afternoon, they managed to get a ride on the bus that our group carried about 55 campers to the camp and showed up at camp with all bandage, vo`ng co^?, etc... Lac and Minh managed to stay for half of the day on Saturday to meet with Nguyen Dat and listened to him before they were taken back to Houston with anh Le Mong Hung. We were all so moved with their great spirit and we all thank God who had protected them from the accident. We are very proud of you and wish you a fast recovery, Lac and Minh.)
On Saturday morning, everyone already got up very early to follow the Rise and Shine session led by Mr. Nguyen Xuan Nghia (chi Nguyet Anh's husband). Since anh Nghia is a vo~ su* Bi`nh DDi.nh, he has done an excellent job in teaching the new techniques of keeping your body fit with breathing exercise. All team got together and elected team leader and also submitted the solution of the riddle. The campers were so smart, nearly all of them were able to solve the riddle and submit the correct answer, BRAVO! The Opening Ceremony was started at 9:00am sharp! with the presence of many guests from the local community in Fort Worth, Texas, also presence of some television crew from Washington DC and some local newspaper agencies. Nguyen Dat and Cam Van Josephine Nguyen took a group picture with the whole camp in front of Len Duong 2000 gate and you can check it out the picture on our web site very soon.
After the Opening Cerermony was Nguyen Dat's Keynote Speech and he did a great job in sharing with us his personal story on how he overcame all the challenges and difficulties to become a NFL player today. Initially Dat only planned to stay until 10:30am since he had prior commitment, but seeing the spirit and the enthusiasm of the whole camp, he changed his mind and stayed with us until after 11:00am and he even participated in a Ke'o Co competition (who dare to compete with his team? :-)) right after the keynote speech. He also mentioned to me that he would like to particpate in Len Duong 2001 as a camper since he wants to learn more about Vietnamese herritage.
Saturday is the day of Leadership theme and hence in the afternoon, there were four parallel workshops focusing on some four important skills that a leader needs to have such as: Problem Solving skill, Planning Skill, Goal Setting skill and Team Building skill. All campers had the chance to practice, play game and then discover the primary things that needed to develop to master these skills. Each camper can choose one of these four workshops and at the end of the two hour session, there was a presentation selected from each group to share what they learned from each workshop. The second keynote speaker Josephine Cam Van Nguyen delivered a great speech on leadership and sharing her personal story on how to achieve the success as she did when she graduated from the Naval Academy as Second Place out of 868 midshipmen.
The highlight of the day was the BonFire session #1 (Lua dam duong) conducted by chi Nguyet Anh. Since it rained hard outside, this session was held indoor at Dining Hall which created a very cozy atmosphere (candle lights, closed circle and the enthusiasm of all participants did help to create a very special atmosphere). Within only one hour and a half chi Nguyet Anh was able to bring all of us back to our homeland, through singing and listening to her great songs, everyone never felt so patriotic like that before. I was completely amazed on the closeness, on the high spirit and most of all, the patriotism demonstrated by campers' response to chi Nguyet Anh's songs and speech. It's quite a very powerful experience. The session was followed by an Open Forum for campers to share their own experiences about community involvements, the difficulties they encounter when involving in community activities and their inspiration of volunteerism... We talked about different trends of VSA groups, how to unite the young people together despite the differences in cultural background (a group growing up in America and the other group arrived here when they are already grown up, etc.) and we talked about our homeland Vietnam. The forum was ended with more songs and everyone enjoyed cha'o ga` as a light supper before going to bed.
Sunday is the Vietnamese cultural day which focuses on helping the campers learning about the history and Vietnamese herritage. The religious service was conducted very early in the morning, followed by breakfast and games session. Anh Nguyen Ngoc Bao has delivered a great cultural session which taught the campers on how to produce "tho* lu.c ba't" and amazingly our campers' Vietnamese skills are quite impressive this time. All 12 teams put together a poem about Len Duong camp that is worth memorizing:
Mu*`ng vui cha(?ng nga.i ddu*o*`ng tru*o*`ng xa xo^i.
Nu. cu*o*`i no*? ro^. tre^n mo^i,
Ha^n hoan vui nho^.n kho^ng tho^i no'i cu*o*`i.
Be^n nhau xa^y dda('p ti`nh ngu*o*`i
Le^n ddu*o*`ng nho*' ma~i nu. cu*o*`i trong tim".
The session followed by a Tha? Tho* Game with all excitement and enthusiasm.
After the cultural session, all campres were told to prepare for the Big Game in the afternoon which will last about four hours. The theme of the Big Game this year was
"Dinh Bo Linh and loa.n 12 su*' qua^n"... to compete with each other, each team has to overcome 7 challenge stations which tested their team work, their leadership skills, their knowledge on Vietnam history and also Vietnamese language, etc... The game went through and everyone did not have time to notice that time was already up... the game was ended with a battle field for the finalists.. Everyone was so exhausted and was spending free time afterward to prepare for the skit at Van Nghe Lua Trai.
The climax of the whole four day camp was the Bonfire #2 (Van Nghe Lua Trai) and we had a wonderful wonderful time. Personally, I have been involved in Len Duong camp three times, but this time, the Camp BonFire session was the best I've ever had... thanks to the creativeness, the enthusiasm and talents that all 12 teams contributed. It was so amazing and so pleasant to see all of these young people demonstrated their talents and use their creativeness in putting together in such a short time, such a great production. Each skit, each dance was a great contribution to the success of the camp. I guess that our guests on that night were also very impressed. It made the Judging committee having a hard time to pick the best ones since every team did an excellent job. From the skit "Nguyen Trai den tham trai Len Duong" from Team Nguyen Trai, to the skit "Ngoc Han Cong Chua ken chong" from team Quang Trung (both of them got perfect score), to the skit "Le Loi khoi nghia" of team Le Loi or "Ly Thuong Kiet pha quan Tong" of team Ly Thuong Kiet (winner of van nghe lua trai)... and very special performance of team Bui Thi Xuan with the break dance of the young guy from New York that really added another variation of the camp fire session... Mann, I felt so glad that I was part of this meaningful event... Chi Nguyet Anh closed the camp fire session with the song "Viva Vietnam" that she taught the campers the previous night and we ended with the song "Den voi que huong toi" performed by a group of camp staffs and later followed by all 12 team leaders.... The atmosphere, the spirit was so wonderful and powerful that some of us wanted to cry... You have to be there to see it. I felt sorry for those of you who cannot make it that night. Everyone knew that that night was the last night they would be together and it's heartbreaking after all the time they spent together at the camp. We all came back to the Picnic area #2 to have che` and continue to sing songs till 3:00am in the morning.
Monday morning started a bit late since everyone stayed so late the previous night. The Millennium Games Presentation was also a hightligh of this day with many creative ideas and presentations. Each team showed their teamwork, their effort to learn the mother tounge and their creativity. The Closing ceremony was held in a very moving spirit and this year, Camp staff came up with the three outstanding teams to give out gold medals, silver medal and bronze medal. Gold medal was given to Quang Trung team, Silver to Le Loi and Bronze to Hai Ba Trung. All other teams were doing great also and deserved another Len duong 2000 medals as well. Everyone came back home with lots of memory and powerful experience during the four days at camp.
The success of the camp cannot be possible without the leadership of the Camp Staff team led by anh Pham Duc Dung, our camp master and Luu Huyen Thanh, Assistant to camp master. Please join me to give them a great round of applause for all the dedication, leadership and great spirit that they demonstrated with the team in all these four days at camp. Compare with what we did back in 1998 we had greatly improved our process, Registration was excellent, Program, Security, Food, Transportation, Workshop, etc.. each team was led by experienced staff and each volunteer has a really high spirit of responsibility. The Houston team and Dallas team has worked hand in hand and together we made a wonderful team to deliver a successful Camp 2000 as promised. Also a great round of applause for our Program Manager and his assistant: Tran Phu Mathews and Hoang Nguyen Duc for a job very well done. Great dedication has been shown in all teams like Security team, Food and Catering team and Transporation team. The great PLUS of Len Duong 2000 was that we followed our schedule nearly exactly... Timing is perfect!
Anhlan P. Nguyen