CRS Times: CRS ‘19 Week 3

Blog editors: Katie (New York) and Lucía (Spain)

Hello everyone! Welcome to week three’s Camp blog written by Katie and Lucía. We are really excited about all the amazing things that happened this week. First of all, we are going to introduce ourselves. 


I am Lucía from Spain and I am 15 years old. I really like sports and probably my favourite one is swimming. I also like art; painting, drawing or writing are some of my favourite things to do in my free time. I am so excited to be in charge of the blog with Katie this week. Hope you enjoy it!

My name is Katie, and I am a 16 year old from New York City. Some of my hobbies include swimming, running, and writing poetry. I am so excited and grateful to work with my amazing co-leader, Lucía. I look forward to writing and editing the blog for this week!

Below is a deep dive into Week 3 at CRS as told by our campers and edited by Lucia and Katie.

Camp Traditions

By Maya (Pennsylvania)

Some things cannot be expressed by words. The way that we interact with one another at CRS, a sanctuary, builds upon our ability to grow as individuals and uncover our true identities. Traditions help build that environment and unite us. As odd as they may seem, CRS traditions make this camp special and safe. Here are just some of our many traditions:

  1. Peace Sign- a hand signal used to quiet the community

  1. Knock Knock- a hand signal used to show agreement

  2. Assembly Bell- bells rung, sounding throughout the campus, to signal a meeting or the start of a new period of the day

  3. Birthday throne- after singing Happy Birthday in multiple languages, we lift the birthday girl in her birthday chair the number of years she has lived

  4. Welcome Song- the song we sing to welcome visitors to a place they love or will love

  5. Feedback- the essential process of responding to camper or counselor work of any kind in a constructive manner

  6. Goodnight Song- a song sung to campers by counselors and leaders of the day to truly make us snug

This is a place of traditions—old and new—that build this amazing community.


By Sama (Palestine)

At Camp Rising Sun, you are granted so many unique opportunities to discover yourself and learn new skills. One of the very hands-on ways you can accomplish this is through projects—a period of the day in which campers can give back to the community by building or fixing constructive projects.

Habibi Bridge

One of the projects I have been working on is the Habibi bridge. We took down the structure of one of the older tents, and reused the materials to rebuild the bridge that connects one side of the lake to the other. With our new bridge almost finished, campers can more easily and safely cross the lake to explore what is on the other side.


The trailblazing team goes into the woods to make sure our trails are cleared of hanging branches or other debris. Armed with hammers and nails, they also put up vigil signs to mark each vigil spot for Vigil Night.

Last Cabin

Once an empty cabin, campers are now renovating the space to create a library/quiet zone. They moved out the gym equipment to the gazebo and are now cleaning and repainting the walls. 

Shelves & Signs

Down in the Art Cabin, campers have been transforming shelves for the tents and lean-tos by repainting them with vibrant colors. They are also making and painting new signs to show where certain places, like the volleyball court, basketball court, and pool, are. 

With the girls’ camp season coming to an end, we look forward to making the most of the rest of our Projects Time.


By Meeri (FInland)

Now in our third week of Camp Rising Sun, we’ve had many amazing Instructions once again. For those who don’t know what Instructions are, they are camper or counselor led discussions, workshops, cultural or sport classes, each lasting 90 minutes. Subjects for Instructions vary depending on what the camper or counselor wants to share with the community, and each attending camper can choose one to go to. This weeks instructions are listed below, and further down is a deeper description of two of the instructions that I attended:

This Week’s Instructions


  • Yeonsoo--Korean Language

  • Mika--Jewelry

  • Sama/Catherine--Animal rights

  • Priya--Child Marriage

  • Milyza--Weight Lifting


  • Louisa--Dreams

  • Jenna-Photography

  • Olivia--Flower Crowns

  • Emilia--Human Relations with Nature

  • Elinor/Michele/Ming--Chinese Culture and Language




Elizabeth--One-Child Policy



  • Panna--Manipulation in Media

  • Jenna/Sara--Volleyball

  • April--Tutting


  • Leo--Boxing

  • Madina--Tajikistan

  • Alara--Yoga


  • Mabel--Figure drawing

  • Grecia--Impact of Society on Identity

  • Madina/Grace--Piano

Grecia-Impact of Society on Identity

This amazing instruction, held on Monday, started off with talking about how we define society and identity, as well as what they mean to us. We then shifted to discussing how society has affected us and the people around us. I loved how even though Grecia held the instruction and led it, she still let the campers shape the conversation through our own experiences. 

Elinor, Michele, Ming--Chinese Culture and Language

Elinor, Michele, and Ming started this stimulating instruction with Chinese history. They continued to talk about different holidays in Chinese culture. We learned about the Dragon Boat Festival and the Spring festival, to list a few. After hearing about these different cultural celebrations, we played several games to familiarize ourselves with Chinese geography and characters. Then, we segued into discussing the Chinese language, Mandarin. We learned how to greet each other and practiced with Elinor, Michele, and Ming. This instruction was very well organized, and allowed us to have a glimpse of Chinese culture. One of my favorite parts was when Elinor shared Chinese music with us by playing the Hulusi, a Chinese wind instrument.

Evening Programs

By Katie (New York)

As Week 3 steadily rolled along, campers’ sleepy nights were energized with exciting and challenging Evening Programs, led by both counselors and first-year campers. 

Speak Up, Speak Out!

To some, standing on chairs and shouting at the top of your lungs in the dining hall does not fall under their list of table manners. However, when declaring their strong morals, campers eagerly participated during the season’s first first-year led Evening Program on making your voices heard. From voicing opinions to defending others, first-year campers Kaitlin, Mawada, Luta, Camila, Ankita, and Ida guided campers through a social experiment to observe the campers’ responses in aggressive situations, as well as their personal experiences on the matter.

Our goal accompanied the goal of the day, which was to speak out and say something if you see something. Also, we wanted to help each of the campers recognize their own worth, and that they are worthy of respect from others… I think a lot of the girls are motivated after it, and inspired to speak up for one another in situations that are necessary
— Kaitlin (New Jersey)

Cultural Appropriation

With Camp Rising Sun being an international camp, cultures from all over the world are shared daily through food, music, clothing, and much more. While the cultural exchange can expand one’s horizons, it also begs the question: what separates disrespectfully appropriating one’s culture from appreciating it? Campers addressed these boundaries during Sunday’s evening program—defining cultural appropriation, assimilation, and appreciation—through examples provided by counselors Olivia and Elyem. 

Camp Rising Sun itself has run into issues regarding cultural appropriation, which were addressed during the program. Up until this year, “sachem,” an Algonquin term for leader, was a part of Camp terminology. However, this year’s second-year campers were determined to stop what they believed was cultural appropriation: “Part of the reason why I decided to come back as a second-year was to change this terminology,” explained Elizabeth Hudak (Pennsylvania). “I think it’s really important that we recognize this part of Camp history and do something to effectively change it.”

Self-Care & Self-Love

The Camp’s gym was filled with stretching campers, the Camper’s Lounge with avid journalers, and the Dining Hall self-lovers covered in oatmeal face masks. On Monday evening, a handful campers led the season’s second first-year led evening program, centered on self-care and self-love. With various stations set up throughout the main building—yoga, thank you notes, and face masks—campers were able to interactively explore a different aspect of self-care. 

I really liked the program because self-love is something that we don’t really think about. But, once you get to participate in an evening program focused on putting yourself before others and caring about yourself, you really get the opportunity to give yourself the love that you should be giving every single day. Thought the face masks were a little messy, I had a lot of fun
— Woohyun (New Jersey)


The word “identity” in and of itself encompasses a multitude of ideas. Gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and socioeconomic class are just a few of the ideas associated with the term. With a series of questions, counselors challenged campers to evaluate and categorize the most important or difficult aspects of their identity. Followed by a cozy group discussion around candles and cups of tea, campers elaborated on their reasoning behind each decision, drawing from their personal experiences.

Wilderness Trip

By Lucía (Spain)

As Solveig and Pema said in the Week 2 blog, all of the campers have been having a wonderful and helpful experience during the past few days. The first Wilderness trip started on July 1 and ended on July 3, and the second camping trip started on July 6 and ended on July 9. The campers began their adventure in the old property of Camp Rising Sun, Red Hook, that was used up until 2014. Both camping trips included 3 groups of 12-14 people, each one with two leaders and two counselors.

First camping trip:

Some of the activities were:

  • Capture the flag, where all the campers were enjoying the beautiful area where Red Hook is located while playing this fun game and laughing with their friends.

  • Compass with Cameron, we learnt how to properly use a compass by playing some games so that we will not ever get lost in the forest.

  • First Aid with Amit, he taught us some things that we must know to save someone’s life or our own life.

  • Survival skills with Seamus, we built tipis with wood and leaves from the forest. It was so much fun!

  • Fishing, we had a really good time catching and releasing fish in the river. 

“This was my first camping trip and at the beginning I felt uneasy and nervous, but the second day I felt really comfortable. I had a lot of fun cooking with the other campers and playing games and telling stories around the campfire.”

- Grecia (New York)

Wilderness Leader experience:

“It was an eye-opening experience for me to try new things. I normally would not do back at home.”

- Jenna (New Jersey)

Second camping trip:

People from this camping trip had some problems with the rain and storm, but it was just the first day and that did not stop them from having a lot of fun. At the beginning they put up the tents at their camp sites, and then they spent a couple of hours in the international theatre of Red Hook to be safe from the storm. They played many games and talked a lot.

Some activities:

  • Compass Game with Cameron.

  • First Aid with Collin.

  • Wilderness with Seamus, they learnt how to build a good fire.

  • Fishing in the river.

  • They also read books and play a lot of games around the campfire.

“My favourite parts were feeling the history of the Red Hook campus, collaborating on making campfire meals and getting used to bugs.”

- Sarah (California)

Leader experience:

“It was hard but I enjoyed every moment. I am glad that I had the opportunity to be a leader of the camping trip.”

- Mika (Israel)

Interview with the Wilderness Counselors, Seamus and Jonas:

Question: Which goals did you have? And did you achieve them?

Seamus: My two principal goals were for all the campers to be happy, safe and healthy. Also to try to connect campers with nature and expand their minds to let them know that nature it is not something that they should be afraid of. I think I achieved them with most of the campers.

Jonas: I wanted to give the campers the experience of being self-reliant and to feel comfortable in nature.

Q: How was your experience?

S: I had a great time and it was a lot of fun. And I am happy that campers connected with nature.

J: I was very positive about the experience and I think it was even better than I expected.

Q: Did you have any challenging situations you had not anticipated? How did you deal with it?

S: We already knew about the storm but it was still challenging. And it was a little bit worse than we expected.
J: The storm on the second camping trip was challenging but we found a solution by calling Laura and Una, who were at Camp and advised taking shelter in the International Theatre.

News from Camp

By Panna (Hungary)

The Saturday of the second wilderness trip started off very busily. Everybody was packing, taking a last minute shower, or saying goodbye to their friends. Even though the morning first seemed a little chaotic, thanks to the trip’s leaders and counselors, the girls were able to promptly leave the camp and head for Red Hook.

During half of the camp’s time away, we welcomed two new legacy campers—Ester from the Netherlands and Alarra from Turkey. I hope they enjoyed their first day just as much as I did!

While the three days were very quiet compared to previous days with sixty campers, we still had a packed schedule. Instead of projects, our leaders of the day (Grace and Marisya) made it possible for us to watch the Women’s World Cup final. Even though I’m not a huge soccer fan, I enjoyed watching the game with the other girls. We had campers from both the Netherlands and the United States, so it was fun to watch them cheering for opposing teams.

“It was really fun to observe everyone cheering for the other team.”


Later that day, while our fellow campers were camping in a thunderstorm, we danced in the pouring rain, which was just as much fun as it sounds. 

The Evening Program on Sunday was organized by our second-year campers. We got to participate in a scavenger hunt, in which different groups had to solve puzzles and find objects located throughout the building. The program involved a lot of shouting and running around the main building, as well as lots of laughs.

After the Wilderness trip, campers returned on Monday, returning the camp to its full bustle, CRS is now filled with eager campers reuniting and swapping stories.

Letters from Camp:

Dear mama,

I miss you so much! Everything is good over here, I am just very sweaty. Thanks so much for the care package, I loved it! Say hello to Dalton for me. I love you, talk to you soon!! 

-Shanlla <3

Hi Mom and Dad!

Camp is going pretty well. I have met a lot of cool people from all over the world. I hope you are having a great time in Chicago. I wish I could have gone too! Miss you tons and tons. Look for my letters in the mail! 

Love, Caroline


Moi kaikki :) <3

Leirillä menee kaikki tosi hyvin ja tultiin just takas retkeltä. Esiinnyn tänään meijän yhteisessä “esiintymistilaisuudessa” ja ootan sitä innolla! Toivottavasti kaikki on siellä hyvin ja mulla on ikävä! <3 

-Meeri :)

سلام عليكم ورحمة الـله وبركاته

Salaam Ahmed family, how are you all? I hope you received all my letters=) كل سنة وانت طيب يا عبد الرحمان I hope my letter reached you, I miss you all so much! I’m doing great alhamdulilah, we will go on the camping trip Saturday InshaAllah. Send more emails! I love them :) Love you all to the moon and back! I got all your emails and a letter is soon to come. . .until then, Salaam! 

Love, Mawada 

Hi mom, dad and Moksh!

I received all your mails and gunghroos too. Just wanted to say that I am doing good here, miss you all so much and I hope all are doing great too. I am fine, fit and happy. Love you all!! Thank you so much for everything. (P. S. - please give the link to my friends so that they can mail me too <3) 

-Mahi Dheri

Hola Ama y Apa!

Los extraño mucho! Todo está bien en el campamento y creo que tengo muchas amigas. Los quiero mucho y los extraño, espero, que todo esté muy bien, dile hola a Fiona porfis! 

-Alexa S. Mendoza <3


Er lige kommet hjem fra en 3 dagers lang campingtur. Skriv når i har fået mit brev. Jeg har det godt, og glæder mig til at se jer. Hav det godt, glæder mig til at snakke med jer alle snart! <3


Hola familia, no saben la falta que me hacen solo quiero que sepan que estoy pasando super bien y cada dia aprendo cosas nuevas. Porfa comentele a mis amigos de esto para poderme comunicar con ellos. Mandenle un abrazo a todos de mi parte. 


Дорогие мои мамочка и папочка! 

У меня тут всё отлично. С каждым днём всё больше новых друзей, впечатлений и уроков для меня. Осталась всего неделя и думаю она очень быстро пройдёт. Как и вы сказали, стараюсь пропитываться каждой минутой. Спасибо вам за всё! Надеюсь у всех вас всё хорошо. Бувачон, шумоба Рохи Сафед! Скоро увидимся, я тоже жду с нетерпением этой минуты))) Скучаю, Люблю, Целую!

                                                                                                         С любовью, ваша дочка 


亲爱的爸爸妈妈, 最后一周了, 我也将成为leader, 十分期待。非常喜欢这里的生活,除了无尽的狂欢,深沉的思考,丰富的生活,还有那无忧无虑的感觉, 我想离开时重新获得网络时一定会很不习惯吧。但依旧很想你们,想家的味道和食物。