2020 Virtual Camps
Each camp weekend of this past summer–a summer like never before–the HCAF staff, along with many of our directors, adoptive families, counselors, and community members, longed for the familiarity and comfort of camp. When the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we quickly changed gears and, thanks to the flexibility of our camp directors and presenters, we were able to put together nine virtual camps.
While the experience of Zoom can’t compete with hugs from our friends, the fresh air of the mountains, or the in-person connections with camp counselors, we found that the “HCAF recipe” in its online version still created that same sense of belonging and much of the fun that we look forward to each summer at camp. We were thrilled to see nearly 1,200 family members, counselors, and presenters at virtual camps!
“One of our yearly highlights is 3.5 days with our amazing African/Caribbean Heritage Camp family. This was our 10th year and although much abbreviated and virtual, we got to connect, see faces we love, have meaningful conversations, and end with an amazing dance party. Thank you to the HCAF crew for making lemonade out of lemons. Best (and hopefully only) virtual camp ever!” – Marilyn
Prior to virtual camps, we heard from several parents who expressed that their kids were struggling with isolation, and that they needed camp more than ever. While we know that one weekend doesn’t create the social opportunities that our kids need on a regular basis, we were so happy to hear that many of the supportive relationships between counselors and our tweens and teens were reignited through virtual camp.
“Thanks to Virtual Chinese Heritage Camp, Emily reconnected with one of her campers who has been struggling, and they’ve been communicating ever since! That made having a virtual experience so worthwhile!” — Patty
The best part about the Virtual Camps has been the appreciative response from parents and enthusiasm from kids!
“Well… virtual Indian/Nepalese Heritage Camp was nothing like the real thing. But Jamuna spent the night on FaceTime with camp friends, something she hadn’t done in quite a while. So, thank you for managing to keep those connections going, even during these hard times. I LOVED the adult workshop with Joelle & Julia, and Jamuna had a lot of fun cooking with Geeta. And I FINALLY got to do the dance workshop with the amazing Mudra Dance. It was great seeing so many faces. We miss our camp families.” – Lynn
Webinars for Parents & Adoptees
In addition to our nine virtual camps, we offered 19 webinars from May through August, with additional online educational and social opportunities in place for adults and campers this fall. We have so much gratitude to our incredible presenters, who shared their lived experience and expertise in ways that resonated with so many of our camp parents. Additionally, our community of adult adoptees provided a few very valuable Adult Adoptee Panels, offering perspective to guide parents in supporting their children.
“Thanks so much for these webinars. Both sessions were phenomenal. My children are now in their twenties and thirties, and the last two presentations really hit the spot in many areas. Mark Hagland was just amazing, and I will certainly tell my oldest daughter, who just became a mother herself, about Mark’s Facebook group as a resource. I also appreciated all the reading materials. Again, the webinar series was just so great that I wanted to say how much I appreciate that you are taking time to pull together events like these. Thank you.” — Melinda
“What a great webinar we just sat in on with Dr. Hannah Matthys. Especially in the climate in which we are living now. Every year since we have been attending Heritage Camp, we walk away more ‘awake’ , more educated, and inspired to be better parents, better humans.”
We look forward to continuing to strengthen our connections, and build community together, for the rest of 2020 and beyond.