CRS Times: CRS ‘18 Week 4

Blog Editors: Jessica (New York) & Machi (Greece)

The first session of Camp Rising Sun 2018 has quickly come to an end. As many campers described, the days felt long, but the weeks went by so fast. Families arrived to Camp this morning for Visitor Day activities, which were planned by the campers. After lunch, campers departed with their host families until their departure flights home. As the campers said their heartfelt goodbyes, they were reminded that this is a “see-you-later,” and that they are now “Campers for Life” as members of our worldwide alumni community.

In the last camper blog of the first camp session, our blog editors feature several counselor interviews and camper reflections on cultural meals, vigils, and the general camp experience.

Interviews with Staff

Person 1- Justin, Camp Office Manager

Justin Shin works as an office manager at CRS. This involves overseeing purchases and budget tracking. Justin first came to camp in 2010, where he represented New Jersey. He has worked as a CRS counselor every summer since 2014. Just last year, Justin graduated from Bard college, where he majored in Math and Philosophy. After camp, he is heading south to University of Texas, Austin, for graduate school, and will work as a Teacher’s Assistant.

How has CRS remained an important aspect of your life?

  • “Camp helped me secure a full ride to my college. It gave me my first job, which was a journalism counselor here. CRS connected me to people in the area that I wanted to work in.”

Many of the Instructions and Evening Programs you lead challenge campers as critical thinkers. How else do you want campers to grow as intellectuals?

  • “Doing Instructions and Evening Programs is not my main responsibility at camp. When I do Evening Programs, they need no prior warning. When I’ve been called upon them, they are designed to bring out interactions that resolve conflicts. Most of my Evening Programs involve games where campers can learn about consequences.”

Did CRS influence the career you wanted to pursue in the future? If so, how?

  • “Camp Rising Sun didn’t influence my job. However, it did influence how I went about going to college and graduate school. In fact, camp connected me to people in my field of interest and provided financial support.”

What is the most challenging part of your job?

  • “The most challenging part is designing Evening Programs (EPs). Campers are able to plan EPs in advance. Counselors are called upon to do them because they are needed. I led an EP yesterday, but had only created it that morning.”

What do you enjoy the most?

  • “I enjoy planning Instructions and teaching them. I try my best to introduce topics that are rarely taught. I like teaching campers, who are generally good students.”

Justin is infamous at camp for the complexity of the daily quizzes he writes. Here is a sample of his daily trivia:

  1. Split an obtuse triangle into seven acute triangles

  2. Add punctuation to these strings of words to form complete meaningful sentences.

    1. Alice while Bob had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

    2. If police police police police police who police police police police police police police police police.

    3. *Have someone who knows German help you with this one.* Wenn hinter fliegen fliegen fliegen fliegen fliegen fliegen nach.

    4. *Have someone who knows Latin form two sentences with opposite meanings out of this.* Edwardum occidere nolite timere bonumest

Person 2- Luisa, Assistant Chef

Luisa Rivera was born in the U.S., and grew up in Ecuador. In Ecuador, she got her Bachelor’s degree in General Psychology at Universidad Internacional del Ecuador.  She moved to Spain to obtain her Master’s degree in Professional Psychology at Universidad Camilo José Cela. Luisa has moved back to the U.S. and is working on her psychology license. This is Luisa’s second year at CRS as Assistant Chef. She is notorious for her delicious baking creations that the entire camp loves.

How did you find out about Camp Rising Sun?

  • “One of my best friends from high school was both a camper and counselor at CRS. She introduced me to camp, and I immediately loved the philosophy of it.

Outside of camp, what do you study and what are your interests?”

  • “I just graduated from a Master’s degree in neuropsychology, and online I’m studying for my Master’s in professional psychology. My interests vary from neuroscience to dance. I used to be on a team for salsa and bachata, and now enjoy doing the dances for fun.”

How did you first learn how to bake and why has baking maintained a significant role in your life?

  • “My mom taught me how to bake. I realized that it was therapeutic for me, so I continued to practice it. Not only is baking soothing, but it allows me to channel my crafty side. In Ecuador, I sold fondants, which are elaborate candies used for cake decorations.”

What does your typical day at CRS look like?

  • “I wake up at 5:45 am to get ready for the day. By 6:30 am, I’m in the kitchen preparing breakfast. While campers are eating breakfast, I work with the kitchen staff to prepare lunch and dinner. I work until 1:30 pm, which is when my break starts; and I’ll get an extra half hour break on occasion. At 3:30pm, I return to the kitchen to work on dinner. While campers eat dinner, we prepare breakfast for the following day. By 7:30, I return to my cabin and work on homework. Our days in the kitchen are very busy!”

Does helping campers make their cultural meals renew your appreciation of cooking?

  • “I have gotten familiarized with other cultures aside from bias. Many people think that all meals from a certain country have the same ingredients or look very similar; but here, I have seen the diversity of foods in each culture. I love getting to know the campers, and why their dish is meaningful to them.”

How has being a member of CRS lead you to grow as an individual?

  • “I have gained an appreciation for many different cultures because campers and counselors here are from such diverse backgrounds. I have made nice friendships, and am happy to be a member of the CRS community. Also, I have learned about microaggressions in my country that need to be addressed.”

On Camp Experience

We are in the 4th week of camp, which is also the last one. I don’t feel like we’ve been here for 25 days, everything went by so fast.

First week was awesome, everything was new and I was so excited to try everything, even though the weather was rather cold.

Second week wasn’t as good. I didn’t want to do anything, I was tired all the time. Adding on to that, the humidity was really high, something I’m not used to. It exhausted me.

The third week was amazing. We did canoeing, we threw a pool party, we went on the camping trips. I had so much fun!

This week is going good so far. I can’t wait to give my instruction on Kurdistan’s culture. Most of the campers don’t know about Kurds and Kurdistan. I’m proud that I’m CRS’ first Kurd camper.

We only have 3 days left. I’m excited to see my friends and family and eat my cultural food. However, I love being here, away from the outside world, in nature.

  • Laly (Iraq)

After four weeks of intense discussions and forming a strong community nothing felt more liberating than singing “Lean on Me” on tent hill as our sticky arms were wrapped around each other in a circle. Feeling good in your own skin and safe sharing yourself in a community of 60 people is an amazing way to find your voice.
— - Reflections on the last week of camp from blog editors, Jessica & Machi

A Song About the Camp

  It’s amazing

you can see the sky

Camp Rising Sun

yeah that’s right

 It’s amazing

you can see the sky

Camp Rising Sun

yeah that’s right

 You meet new people from around the world

here you can never be bored

there are so many things to do

yeah by the way I’m sure

 If you like music

there’s a place for you

 If you enjoy sports

there’s a place for you

 If you want silence

there’s a place for you

and by the way...

 It’s amazing

you can see the sky

Camp Rising Sun

yeah that’s right

 It’s amazing

you can see the sky

Camp Rising Sun

Yeah that’s right

  • Jamiah (California)

Spicing Up the Kitchen

Camp Rising Sun offers each member the chance to prepare a cultural meal of their choice to be enjoyed by the community. Creating a cultural meal involves working in the kitchen (with the help of the lovely staff) and combining ingredients to make a dish that represents an aspect of a camper’s life such as their religion, country or background. The final product of a cultural meal is indescribably delicious. Most campers would say that making it is just as satisfying as the taste. First, a camper must submit a recipe to the kitchen. After being accepted, the kitchen will determine which day is ideal for cooking. It can be difficult to schedule cultural meals, because both dietary restrictions and the unique ingredients that must be ordered in advance may pose challenges. Despite this, the kitchen ensures that each camper is able to cook if desired. Creating a cultural meal can take two to three hours. During this time, the camper will gather their materials, create a plan and channel their inner Gordon Ramsay as classic rock plays on the speakers. Once the cultural meal is finished, the camper will present it to the rest of the camp. The meals are so delicious that, more often than not, the Dining Hall transforms into a hostile battleground in which campers fight each other for seconds.

While half of the camp has indulged in rich cultural meals, many CRS members have participated in a week-long vegan challenge. Since last Wednesday, thirty counselors and campers have refrained from eating or consuming animal products.

This Week’s Instructions:


Badminton: Linda (Mississippi ) + Katinka ( Denmark)

Accordion: Machi ( Greece)

Guitars: Tina (MN)



United Nations and Sustainable Development: Dominikai (Poland)

Stage Combat: Remy (New Jersey) and Wero (Poland)

Basic of Participatory Budgeting: Jessica (New York)

Cheerleading: Ashley (New York)

Kurdistan Cultural Presentation: Laly: (Iraq)