Light and hope in divided times

Dear Rising Sun Community,

The world is becoming more and more divided. In these difficult times, we need Camp Rising Sun more than ever, as a space to bring diverse individuals together and give campers a hands-on experience in navigating dialogue among people who share differing ideas and perspectives so that they are better prepared to lead our world forward.

Despite what is happening worldwide, we are a community in which differences are celebrated. We pride ourselves on open-mindedness, seeking further understanding rather than deeper divides. We will stand with our principles of acceptance and love no matter what is happening in the political climate of the world. We will continue to open our doors and serve as a safe place for young people of every faith, culture, gender and political beliefs.

Many of you are likely wondering how the results of the United States presidential election will impact Camp Rising Sun. President Elect Trump had mentioned during his campaign potential trade, immigration and defense strategies that could negatively impact our alumni and Camp Rising Sun.

We are concerned that there may be a decrease in travel and work visas that may limit the international diversity of our campers and staff. We will work to assure that our program welcomes young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences no matter what limitations are imposed on the visa process. As we learn of potential policy changes we may call upon you to advocate locally for our future campers' ability to travel to the US.

Our history is long and this would not be the first time CRS was affected by the political climate. Rick Richter shared with me yesterday that "During the war years 1940-45 there were no international campers but Camp continued to function." We do not anticipate major changes to the US travel agreements and expect 2017 camper selection to go as planned.

We must face the future together and LIVE the values of diversity that are so dear to our organization. We are still committed to letting CRS be a light in the world, no matter the challenges we face. Please find ways to support the value of diversity and acceptance in your communities, wherever you are. Now is a good time to be involved with Camp Rising Sun. If you are not currently involved in your local alumni association- seek them out. Connect with CRS alumni to grapple with these difficult topics.

With warm regards and hope,
Helene Mattera, Executive Director