Camp Rising Sun alumnus Duarte Geraldino (1993) is a journalist who studies global migration patterns, and his work recently led him to give a TED Talk called “What we’re missing in the debate about immigration.”
In the talk, he speaks of his experience seeing the Statue of Liberty with his mother, and what a profound effect that experience had on him as a child. There were other experiences that shaped his upbringing and worldview as well, many of which occurred during his time at the camp. “I was a young teenager when I won a spot at Camp Rising Sun (CRS),” says Duarte. “I thought the prize was a summer hiking, swimming, and tent-sleeping in the woods away from New York City's noise, but it was so much more!”
He says CRS was one of his first lessons in global cooperation, and that he still carries that wisdom. In the TED Talk, you can hear hints of his summer at CRS. He speaks about the importance of social circles and how those circles often transcend national borders. “Imagine 15-year-old Duarte running around the woods collaborating on projects and building deep ties with some of the brightest young minds in the world,” he says, “and you might have been able to predict how my journey would lead me to TED's red dot.”
One of his clearest CRS memories is of writing in a journal in the woods, an activity that presaged his later career as a journalist. “When I was at Camp Rising Sun, there was one night when we were encouraged to go into the woods by ourselves and journal (I am sure there must have been counselors nearby, but I didn't see any! ha!).” Duarte says it was a stark contrast to the communal living of the summer, during which they slept together in tents, hiked together, and ate together in the cafeteria. “And yet there I was by myself walking into the darkness to think by a small campfire all night...it helped me realize the value of solitary moments of reflection and meditation.”
Though life has worked out well for Duarte, he has dedicated his life’s work to immigrants who are not as fortunate, and who have been hit hard by the recent repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA was a US Immigration policy started in 2012 by President Obama. DACA allowed for immigrant children and youth who entered the US illegally to stay in the US to work or study. They received a renewable 2-year period of deferred action from deportation.
“I fear there will be an uptick in deportations,” he says. “Remember, even during the Obama administration millions of people were ordered out of the United States. The big difference now is that there seems to be a greater number of acceptable justifications for these removals, reasons that didn't hold water a year ago.”
Duarte’s TED Talk discusses the importance of looking at the bigger picture and that “rather than focusing on individuals, we should focus on circles around them.” He says in his talk that “this is not only an American issue,” it’s a global one.
Social circles build critical community bonds, and programs such as Camp Rising Sun does this. CRS not only bridges gaps of cultural understanding, but also promote global cooperation are vital to society and strong social circles. More information about the importance of social circles can be found in Duarte’s full TED Talk.