CRS Times: CRS ‘18 Week 2

Blog editors: Gloria (U.K) and Gorgeous (Utah)

This week at CRS the theme was Social Awareness. Each day focussed on a specific aspect of the theme, the first being Pride day – a day acknowledging and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. Campers were encouraged to wear colourful clothing and attend a group discussion in the afternoon facilitated by Shanlla and Briana, the Leaders of the Day, and also by Jewell, a fellow camper. In the discussion, we spoke about what we can do to help make the LGBTQIA+ community feel welcome and safe in our society, as well as our hopes for the future.

Shanlla (Colorado) and Briana (Peru), Co-leaders for Pride day.

Shanlla (Colorado) and Briana (Peru), Co-leaders for Pride day.

We’ve had many crucial discussions in evening programs this week and even in Self-Structured Times (SST). The atmosphere at CRS is positive, accepting and friendly. Pride Day made LGBTQIA+ campers feel safe and welcome, and sparked intelligent, mature conversations. My favourite thing about this week was how everyone could get together and discuss extensive topics in a safe environment, share their stories and learn from others. The diversity here is truly beautiful.
— Noora (Finland)

Cultural Night

Monday night saw campers partake in cultural night – an evening in which we were given the opportunity to dress in traditional clothing customary to our countries and celebrate our differences.

Campers were also invited to take part in the weekly talent show. This week performances ranged from acapella vocalists to gymnastics and even a group rendition of “Man’s Not Hot,” all of which received a warm applause from the audience.

After the talent show, a brief interlude was followed by a catwalk allowing campers to showcase their traditional garb or an outfit of their choice, accompanied by a chosen song representing their country. Not only was this night a cultural success, it also served as a great distraction from the overwhelming heat!

  • Gloria (U.K)

CRS Visits local radio program

7.15 AM we left the camp to go to Cameron’s radio show. In the car we were 6, Samu, Mariama (both are counselors), Priya, Iris, Anamika and me. The feeling of going out of camp and having the radio and AC on felt strange after being here for ten days. When we arrived Cameron - LAJF Facility Manager and co-host of the show - was waiting for us, and we were very excited. He told us how everything was going to work, and then the program started. We introduced ourselves, our names and where we come from. They asked us questions about the camp, a typical day, the schedule, what being a leader of the day means, what it’s like not having an electronic device, where we sleep, etc. I believe that these questions are similar to those that parents or friends would ask, so it was great that we were given a platform on which we could share the answers with locals, family and friends alike. We all had a lot of fun and I would definitely go back.

  • Melina (Argentina)

Cultural Awareness Evening Program

Tuesday’s evening program was very eye opening. Counselors opened up the discussion with some sample problems about culture, appreciation, and appropriation to be analysed before moving on to the main topic: how the cultural traditions at camp came to be. We discussed how CRS has borrowed elements of Native American culture since it began in 1930.  For example, at camp we hold “Council” where we meet up around a campfire and speakers come forward to share their wisdom. Being Native American myself, I found it fascinating that they use this traditional term for meeting up and having a good time.

It was interesting to learn that earlier in the camp’s history, feathers were used as a reward for doing a great job during the week. These were handed out at the original camp Councils. In my culture, feathers are very sacred and shouldn’t be handed out so casually.  Although they have eliminated many traditions such as the feathers, the words ‘Sachem’ and ‘How how’ are still used everyday. According to the History of Camp document written by Maurice Richter (‘50, 51’, ‘52, ‘53), these words are also rooted in Native American languages: "Sachem," an Algonquin word meaning chief, and "how, how," a custom adapted from the Dakota Sioux to indicate approval.  

I learned that the founder of camp, Freddie Jonas, had gotten the original terms and traditions from a summer camp guidebook in 1930’s. I found it very intriguing how this book knew about these ancient Native American terms. In my culture we use certain dialects and particular wording of choice. Every year camp tries to have Native American representatives. I felt as if I had a need in adding to the history of Native American traditions at CRS.  

We discussed during the evening about our feelings on cultural appropriation.  For me I’ve experienced cultural appropriation, but I don’t take offense to the comments I have received in the past. I love getting to share my culture with people who don’t know about my native people and where we come from.  

By the end of the discussion it was clear to see that campers and counselors alike were keen to help the camp move forward and evolve, whether that means creating new traditions or shedding a new, sharper light on the old.

  • Gorgeous (Utah)

This evening program took place while half of the camp was gone on the wilderness camping trip. The other half of camp will participated in a similar discussion this week while the other overnight trips are out. We hope next week’s editors will share more thoughts on this important topic related to camp’s history and future.

4th of July Pool Party

One hurdle that all campers had to overcome this week was the heat. With temperatures exceeding 40 degrees celsius (100 degrees fahrenheit) even the simplest of tasks felt like an uphill battle and campers were grateful for the onsite pool which was frequented daily after instructions. Taking this into account, Wednesday’s leaders of the day, Madelon and Gabriela, organised a pool party for campers and counselors. After a morning of teamworks and project time, and an afternoon discussion inviting campers to explore the idea of independence in their own countries, we all made our way to the pool for dinner. Refreshing watermelon was followed by burgers and ice cream and accompanied by a playlist chosen by campers. When dinner was finished we were able to take a dip in the pool and after the sunset, a firework display was held by the lake- a perfect way to finish the 4th of July celebrations!

Project Coordinator Reflection

Projects are a fundamental part of camp. Over the course of the camp season, campers come up with ideas to better certain aspects of camp. After their proposal is accepted, campers begin to implement their ideas and create in groups. Under the mentorship of Katri, Samu, and other counselors, campers use industrial-level tools to build their projects. Previous projects have included the Peace Garden, a seesaw and swing seats. As project coordinator, I am responsible for arranging campers into all of the project teams. During assemblies I group certain campers for our projects. In the past week at camp, projects have been assembling picnic tables, building a treehouse, painting a mural in the dining hall and many others. As project coordinator, I also must check in with all of the projects to keep track of progress and make sure that everybody has a role. I work closely with Samu and Katri, the Projects Counselors, in order to coordinate and facilitate new projects and other aspects (budget, supplies, deadlines)... etc. -

  • Anamika (New Jersey)

This Week’s Instructions:


  • Salsa Dance, Briana (Peru), Daniela (Ecuador)


  • Haadia: Applying Henna Design

  • Linda: Political Discussion

  • Ella: Self Defense


  • Hockey (Elizabeth, Pennsylvania)

  • Agriculture, Jaleah (Barbados)

  • Hungarian Song & Sign Language, Bibi (Hungary)


  • Hair braiding, Gorgeous (Utah)

  • Dance, Counselor Phelan (Kenya)

  • Sustainability, Counselor Emilia (Finland)

  • 20th Century art, Paige (California)

  • Model UN, Gabriela (Ecuador)


  • Ballet, Jessica (U.S), Noora (Finland), Madelon (The Netherlands)

  • Palestinian culture, Rand (Palestine)

  • Cryptography, Counselor Jessica (New Jersey)


  • Discussion about independence and liberty

Leaders of the week:


-Briana (Peru) and Shanlla (Colorado)


-Priya (Texas) and Lavi (Iraq)


-Jessica (New York) and Melina (Argentina)


-Mia (New York) and Jewell (Colorado)


-Gabriela (Ecuador) and Madelon (The Netherlands)


-Katie (New York) and Mariama (New York)


-Elisa (New York) and Noora (The Netherlands)


Instruction Coordinator: Katinka (Denmark)

Project Coordinator: Anamika (New Jersey)


Notes home from Campers: The following are a small selection of notes collected from various campers to share messages to those back home.


“Hola a todos, Como están?  Espero que muy bien el campamento es super divertido y cada dia aprendo algo nuevo o conozco otra cultura y a personal de fod del mundo.  Los extraño mucho y ces amo. Los mando un alorzote y Wue Diosito el bendiga.”



Hi Mom and Dad (and Neal),  I just want you to know that I’m getting your emails and I love them. I’m having an amazing time here and I’m meeting even more amazing people. I love you guys and I miss you!



“Hej Mamo, Tato, Bibs!   Mam nadzieje, ze wszystko u was dobne.  Jak Ci idzie remont, Bibs? Ogromnie ucieszyly mnie mejile, ktore w koncu doszly. Czekam ma kolejne! Oboz jest nadal cudowny.  Wszyscy sa dla siebie mili, duzo sie dzieje kazdego dnia. Co do biletow mysle, ze mozecie zarezerwowac. Tesknie za Wami, ale, mimo to, spedzam tu wspanialy czas. Pozdrowcie cala rodzinke ode mnie.  Buziaki :)”



Hola!!! Cómo están todos? Me llegaron algunos e-mails pero imprimen cada unos días, así que a veces llegan tarde (pongan fecha). Acá está haciendo mucho calor, el día que yo fui Sachem/líder del día, hizo +37C pero se sintío +41C. Casi todos los días vamos a la pileta por una hora o nos bañamos varias veces. Trabajamos en proyectos para mejorar el camp, también limpiamos el lugar, los campos, ordenamos y lavamos los platos pero siempre hay un grupo asignado paro cada cosa. El otro día fui a la radio del señor que se encarga de cuidar el lugar cuando no hay nadie. Escribí un artículo sobre eso también, así que lo pueden encontrar en este blog. Además hay un sauna, que construyeron otros campers hace unos años, y la usamos. Hay muchos mosquitos, moccos y bichos raros. Lave la ropa, las toallas y las sabanas , y tengo que admitir que se siente y huele bien. La semana que viene voy al hiking trip pero mi ganas. Los chicos y los counselors son geniales.

Los extraño y amo mucho mucho. El viernes los llamo. <3



“Hi mom, I miss you and I love you!”



“To my dearest family:   Thank you so much for allowing me to grow and experience the phenomenon of ‘getting older’ by way of wonderful experiences like Camp Rising Sun. I miss you and think of you guys everyday and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to let your daughter go for almost half the summer not knowing what to expect. It takes a great family to be able to do this, and the letters I have received have shown me yet again how much you care about me and want me to succeed.  Being here, taking in nature, reading profusely (catching up for this year!), and engaging in conversation with my fellow campers has been truly rewarding. My dreams of travelling the world don’t seem as impossible when I now have friends from across the globe. You have made it possible for me to dream big and I can’t wait to get home and share everything I’ve learned.

Loving you always,




“Dear Mom,  I miss you so much and I hope that your having a good time.  I miss your presence, smile, argumentative attitude, as well as your love.  Please send more emails because you’re the only one I miss. And send my SMURF  and send me some food (enough to share).  Dad, I miss you and Evette. For the rest of my family -TALK TO ME!- Send me letters, MOM!”  Give them the thing!”


“Hey Fam Bam,  I miss you guys so so so much and I can’t wait to tell you all about my adventures here at camp.  Please keep sending emails and mail, I love getting them. Love you lots”