Dutch Alumni Volunteer at Spring Service Event

By Koen Roskamp, Merel van Helten and Gerrianne Pennings

While it was still freezing at Clinton, the first days of spring weather had arrived in the Netherlands. For a couple years, the Dutch alumni enjoy that lovely spring weather together. Not only at the spring gathering to welcome the new campers, but also during the National Day of Community Service, called NL Doet, which can be translated to ‘the Netherlands Acts’. The idea behind this day is to come together as alumni and to apply what we learnt at Camp Rising Sun to our own country. A little bit of project time on a Saturday in March. Our youngest alumni organise this yearly event with support of a board member of the Dutch Alumni Association. This year the task was up to Merel van Helten and Koen Roskamp (CRS ’16). More than 15 alumni that attended camp somewhere between 1971 and 2016, including family and friends participated this year. We had an exciting day of building and digging.

NL Doet started fifteen years ago. The foundation behind the organisation sponsors all kinds of projects in the whole country. This year more than 350.000 volunteers participated in 9.500 projects. This year, the Dutch alumni came together to help in Utrecht at a public garden that grows vegetables and fruits for the neighbourhood, local restaurants, and volunteers.

With help of Gerrianne we contacted the people from “food for good” in Utrecht. Luckily they still had place for us. Last Saturday we planted some apple trees, various kinds of berry bushes and we build a large wooden cage around the bushes to keep the birds and other animals from stealing the fruits in the summer. We also got to know some other people. All in all, we had an amazing day with a lot of fun and some hard work!
— Koen Roskamp
Even though it was challenge to find a project that had space for 15 alumni, I would encourage every alumni association to be active in your local communities. It is a wonderful way to spread the Camp Rising Sun message beyond the borders of our own alumni community. Family members and other volunteers in the project get to know Camp Rising Sun better and for alumni it is a nice way to catch up with each other. Lastly, hammering nails and digging holes brings back a bit of project time spirit in all of us, and who doesn’t love that?
— Gerrianne Pennings