Living the Mission- Sofia from Minnesota

The mission of the Louis August Jonas Foundation is to develop in promising young people from around the world a lifelong commitment to compassionate and responsible leadership for the betterment of their communities and the world.  We do this at Camp by fostering an appreciation of both diversity and our common humanity, expanding intellectual horizons and heightening artistic sensibilities. Our mission is woven into all activities which develop leadership abilities and self-reliance. Camp offers and demonstrates a philosophy of living to serve society through the pursuit of humanitarian goals.  Camp affects the lives of our campers in different ways, but the lesson to give and be in service is a mainstay. Freddy played a consistent role in many CRS camper’s lives, and in carrying his legacy LAJF wants our campers to remain campers-for-life. Sofia is a clear example of this. We are excited to see where Sofia’s passions, work, and life will take her. Below in her own words is how Camp has impacted her life so far.


Camp Rising Sun is the first rung on the ladder of my life. I graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in December 2018 with degrees in Global Studies and History, and a minor in Spanish. As a first year camper in 2011 and as a second year in 2012, I met a range of fascinating personas, from a physicist who doubled as a comedian to a poet-psychologist and an anthropologist conducting research in Greenland. After talking in-depth with counselors and campers about how they weave together diverse interests, those two years taught me that I could carve my own path in the world and be curious about everything. Why not combine environmental justice and international relations with music and dance?

In the summers of 2016 and 2017, being the music and dance counselor gave me the incentive to take an interdisciplinary approach to learning and teaching. My second year on staff, I remember a half-hour-long jam session with three campers (from Barbados, New York, and South Africa), on one piano playing a Barbadian-jazz kind of melody. Seven more campers joined in on percussion and guitar, turning the camper’s lounge into a concert hall.  CRS created a space for me to process my experiences abroad, and learn from campers, reinforcing my love of ethnomusicology - the study of music in different cultures.

In college, my passion for Latin American ethnomusicology developed through my immersive study abroad experiences in Ecuador and Cuba, where I took all my classes in Spanish. In the Spring of 2016, I studied in Ecuador for five months through the Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID) program, which focuses a critical lens on international development and environmental justice in Latin America. During an internship, I conducted research with Unión de Afectados Por Texaco, the law office that is defending the rights of Ecuadorian indigenous peoples in the Amazon in an environmental justice lawsuit against the Chevron oil company. I lived in a Kichwa indigenous community in the Amazon for a week doing research on their effort to use ecotourism as a tool to preserve their culture against encroaching forms of capitalism.

My studies in Latin American ethnomusicology deepened spring semester of 2017

when I studied at the University of Havana and took classes in Cuban music history and

international relations. Outside of the University, I studied Cuban guitar, percussion and

singing, along with Afro-Cuban folkloric dancing with local Cuban dancers and musicians. My professors at the University of Havana emphasized the deep historical ties between Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian music, so I decided to study Portuguese the following fall semester. Over the summer of 2018, a FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) fellowship allowed me to strengthen my Portuguese language skills while studying samba, bossa nova, and Afro-Brazilian music and dance. I stayed in Brazil for a month after the FLAS fellowship ended to do research for my senior thesis on the historical construction of samba as a national symbol in Brazil.

That summer I couldn’t pass up a U of M program to study Tibetan Medicine and Tibetan Buddhism for 20 days in Dharamsala, India, the heart of the Tibetan government in exile. I took classes at the Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute with a small group of University of Minnesota students. In an audience with the current Dalai Lama, His Holiness emphasized the importance of combining Western medicine and Tibetan medicine. I studied how Tibetan medicine can be used as a tool for musicians with performance anxiety in the West, a subject I will integrate into my own practice and teaching.

Following the CRS ethos, the more I study outside of my own cultural context, the more I learn to shape my vision as a musician and a dancer.


Camp Rising Sun leaves an impression on our campers and alumni. We are proud to hear how our mission and activities have developed leadership abilities and self-reliance not just in theory, but in the personal stories of impact like that of Sofia.  We want to hear how Camp has had an impact on our alumni's lives. What does Camp mean to you? How has Camp impacted your life, as well as how do you hope to continuously incorporate Camp values in your life? We would love to hear your testimonial. Contact us to share how Camp has left an impact on your life.

Beings & Doings

The 2019 Sundial is coming out soon! We hope you share an update with the alumni community about recent events in your life. Remember all the friends you made at Camp Rising Sun? They remember you and they would love to hear from you.  Click here to send us your update!

An update for the Sundial is a great way to share your news or just say "hello" to friends.

•Have you changed jobs or addresses?

•Met with CRS friends in your area or around the world?

•Enrolled in a new school?

•Did you welcome an addition to your family?

•Have you launched a new business or organization?

•Started a new hobby?

Don't forget to include a photo too!