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The Indian/Nepali Heritage Camp

2 min read

by Antara Mason

It’s the time of year that gets my blood running. (No- not Spring, though that does get the mucus flowing, which is another type of bodily fluid.)

No, It’s CAMP REGISTRATION TIME! 😀 This camp represents me and my heritage in its entirety.

Great…why do I care again?

Well it’s the greatest camp in the history of camps! It’s called the Indian/Nepalese Heritage Camp and is run by the Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families. Its run purely by volunteers and 3 paid employees as a non-profit organization. The premise behind the camp is to provide an extended weekend of culture-filled activities to adoptees from India and Nepal and their families. Kids are divided into groups by grade. Parents socialize with each other and other Indians and Nepali community members. For example, while I might attend a workshop on Indian dance, my parents might listen to an adult panel talk about growing up as an international adoptee, while my brother learns about the complexity of Indian cooking from Suzy Singh (yes, she comes to our camp. HOW NEAT IS THAT?!?!)

Heritage Camp (as we call it in our house) really got me interested in my heritage when I was young. I have been a camper for the last 12 years and have created my own family from everyone who attends. It’s not just the other adoptees who inspire me…it’s the entire Indian/Nepali community. They all are so incredibly supportive of us all. Don’t even get me started on the camp councilors! They’re like family. I grew up getting the same pair of sisters (Sonia Chainani and Monica Kumar) and one guy (Sumit Sikka) as councilors and they are AMAZING. None of them are adopted, but they care so much about my life and the other campers. They’ve watched me grow from a chatty little girl into…well, a slightly larger talkative girl! The Mudra Dance Studio shows up in all their awesom-ness, ready to teach us secret white kids how to reconnect with our Indian rhythms.

Indian-Nepalese-camp

This camp makes me stronger. It makes my family stronger. It gave me a network that I cling to until the next year of camp rolls around. I could go on for hours.

Please don’t. Get to the point.

My point is that there are several camps like this around the country, hidden to everyone except the adoptee community. (Which isn’t helpful for all you nice people) I only know of one other besides mine. However, I beg of you, find a camp! It’s tons of fun and it can only broaden yours and the lives of whom you touch. Be the next Sumit Sikka or Kumar sister. You have the capacity to touch someone beyond belief.

Read Antara’s previous adoptee posts here

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