Autumn is the time of the year where many alumni associations across the globe welcome home new campers. Welcoming home the newest campers is an opportunity for new alumni to meet older alumni, and share what is often very similar experiences, even though there may be decades between their camp years. It is a time to begin new friendships across generations – something quite special to the CRS Alumni community.
Dear fellow CRSers from China,
My name is Lisa Li and I went to camp in 2008. Greetings from Hong Kong!
A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a Café by Victoria Harbor, browsing through my albums from camp, and reminiscing about Tent Hill, the place where all my dreams started. As memories of the old days transported me back in time, it struck me how awful I was at keeping in touch with most campers from Clinton ’08 (some of whose names I no longer recall), let alone getting to know new ones. Even my parents still occasionally mention to me some names they had picked up from my “Weekly CRS Express” nine summers ago and ask how they are doing. Embarrassed at my own laziness in keeping in touch, I almost always eschewed that awkward conversation.
That day at the café shop though, a bold thought crossed my mind:
“I want to revisit old friendships and build new ones.”
The timing worked out perfectly as I had been on gardening leave in between my first and second job and already planned a trip to the States. Excited but also a bit hesitant, it took me some time to reach out to CRSers who went to camp in years other than ’08 and whom I barely “met” over Facebook / WeChat. Yet I was overwhelmed by the immediate “Yes! let’s meet up in [whichever city]” replies and the warmth that everyone showed me (a semi-stranger) by making themselves available. For me, this was very touching. As we become busy adults, making time for one another could be the hardest thing – even for people who live in the same city.
So our meet-ups happened exactly as planned, from the Silicon Valley to Philadelphia to NYC. As I traveled from place to place, the gigantic world in front of me seemed to have dissolved a bit more and become a little smaller, flatter, and friendlier.
Having been an aloof CRS alumna for many years, I felt all the more grateful for re-embracing my identity as a part of this diverse, global community of aspiring leaders and for knowing like-minded sisters and brothers who have become my families, no matter where I travel to…
I used to find it hard to describe this amazing community to an outsider and I still do. I guess the only way for someone to understand camp truly is for him or her to experience it first hand. Camp was where my dreams started and I am sure it was for many of you too. Now my wildest dream is to help sustain Camp Rising Sun so that this utopian community will keep growing and become tighter as well. Will you join me to make this happen?
Special thanks to Bofan Chen ’10, Emily Yu ’10, and Tracy Bai ’10.
Lisa (Qiya) Li ’08