After returning from almost three weeks in Hong Kong and China we know one thing for sure, international travel is an educational experience. At the International Camp Congress in Hong Kong, Don and I joined with camp people from all over the world. There are camps in Turkey that serve primarily Saudi Arabians, & Turks. In Greece, just three hours from Athens, a daughter and her mom run a camp on a the Aegean sea, serving kids from Greece. With the debt crisis in Greece, running a financially viable camp is a challenge.
Across the ocean to Asia, camps in Taiwan, Singapore and Mongolia are doing well, as are camps in Russia. In Japan, camp directors are getting trained to work with grieving children. Japan will soon offer grief camps for the thousands of children affected by the earthquake/tsunami. Japanese camp directors came to a grief camp in Texas this past summer to visit and learn. Our neighbors up north in Canada and down south in Mexico and Colombia continue to offer excellent programs for youth as well. Across the world, “camp gives kids a world of good.”
We also had the chance to go to Stanley Market in Hong Kong to visit with Cheley alum Andy Aldeen and his family. We love to reconnect with our wonderful alumni.
As soon as the conference was over, we flew to Beijing where we were able to connect with Andy Schorr, another Cheley alum, who moved there to teach English. Andy has a new business for local hotels to subscribe to for their guests. It specializes in giving tips on where to eat and what to do in Beijing. He treated us to some amazing meals in places most tourists would never know about! And gave us tips about the less visited places in the city that were fabulous.
We saw all the sights in the Beijing area we could in three days, including the Forbidden Palace, The Summer Palace, Tienanmen Square, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Markets, and The Great Wall of China (about 40k from the city). Our next stop was a grand visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors, followed by a cruise on the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam site, then on to Shanghai. We hear that another alum, Thomas Demerath lives there, but we were unable to reach him. Saying goodbye to our fellow travelers on our China tour, we returned to Denver from Shanghai.
Our trip was memorable, we saw and experienced so many wonders, the air was dirty, there were lots of people, and China was a fascinating, quickly developing country with a history that spans 5,000 years.
Don and I loved our tour and are grateful for the opportunity to explore the globe. It is truly a privilege to be broadened and deepened by our exposure to different cultures. We are excited to be working with directors from Colombia, Turkey and Russia to bring kids from those countries to Cheley next summer. Peace through the camp experience is our wish for the future.