Thursday, 23 August 2012

Thank you note from Hadai Bhang Champa 2012

Words from the bottom of heart!!!
July 26, 2012

Salam People of Champa Community,

Thank you for participating in “The 7th Annual Cham Youth Camp” at San Lorenzo Regional Park, California! Thank you for your support and encouragement throughout the event. It was such a meaningful and full-of-fun event. We hope that you had a fond time at the camp and will be able to stay in touch with old and new friends.

The main day of the event fell onto Saturday, July 7, 2012, as the campground was occupied by countless number of tents creating the Little Champa Village. That Saturday morning was like our traditional Champa festival day in the village back in homeland—Panduranga/Phan Rang, Vietnam. The morning sun rays poured through the village bringing along the breeze and the flow of sweet Champa melodies echoing from little boombox. The sound of Champa drum is produced nonstop inviting all the Champa to gather at the center of the Little Champa Village, headquarter camp. Little kids were running around, giggling innocently while some elders were enjoying the festivity scene. Almost every Champa men and women, young girls and boys showed up in new, colorful and beautiful traditional Champa dresses, getting ready for the opening ceremony. We gathered altogether in front of headquarter camp where the flags of United of America and Cham Youth Camp blowing along the breeze, to meet and greet old faces, new faces. Some elders were in tears as seeing everyone especially young girls and boys holding and waving the flags of Cham Youth Camp highly and shouted proudly and continuously, “Champa! Champa! Champa!”.

A joyful yet sentimental morning! And the chain of happiness was carried throughout the programs until the last goodbye moment and all 3 or 4 generations intermingled nicely. From traditional fashion show by little Cham Angels to traditional fan dances by the Cham girls, men and women were in a friendly circle. From endless Kodak moments to having lunch and enjoying the Champa food together. From learning basic Champa language, learning the fan dance and how to play the drum, to singing a group song “Khik Bhum Pasai”-a song that was sung through out the day randomly. From hiking, crossing, swimming in the river to deer racing, tug of war, soccer and volleyball. From the first ignition to the last light of bonfire under starry night with trivia games and talent show. From the moment observing Sunday morning dews to sipping cup of coffee to the last goodbye moment. We all stood close to each other, be proud of who we are, and our heritage. This therefore has made “The 7th Annual champ Youth Camp” so unforgettable!

For the event to be so successful, we’d like to give big thanks to all the guests, from the states and abroad, for attending the event. Thanks to individuals who provided financial support, made general contributions or gifts, for Cham Youth Camp 2012 or purchasing Cham Youth Camp t-shirts for fundraiser. Thanks also to individuals who couldn’t come but sent warm regards and wishes plus general contributions, especially the elders who could not join us due to health conditions. We would also like to thank the 3 young Champa men--Magul, Tuan and Loc--who represent Champa in the U.S. Army. They are currently in the territories of war but kept sending us warm messages while following up on the camp events. The camp was so much fun and we wished they were there to enjoy it with us. But duty is duty, be safe.

We would like to extend our thanks again to all our advisors and staff for their hard work in leading us at Cham Youth Camp 2012. Much appreciation and respect to my dad-wa Tho, to cei An and ai Kevin, thanks for lending us the houses when needed for meetings or dance practices, and cei Loc for not only lending us the generator, and spending the whole Friday night to fix and get it to work, so it could shine the whole Champa Village at campground. Thanks to ai Can, a Champa historical researcher, who flew all the way from Hawaii and gave a brief yet great lecture, with enthusiasm, about the history of Champa language and how we should keep the language alive and flowing. Thanks to Thomas for his diligent work from the initial preparation and campsite reservation, to later fun and great sporting activities, and the last light of the bonfire. Thanks also to ai Cang, Nguyen, Nuh, Tinh, and Tue for their helpful, well done work behind the scenes in transportation and campsite set up and organization, plus other important tasks. Thanks Tuan for this year’s unique T-Shirt design, ai choa Vinh, ai Phu, ai Mal, ai Qasem, ai Sang, Duc, Yasmeen and Kimvui for keeping the programs flowing smoothly. Thanks to all my little Cham Angels for your charm and enthusiasm when were asked and come for dance performance. Also, for the most important task with much efforts of all, cooking and providing delicious, traditional Champa food-goat soup and eggplant curry all day long, thanks to nai Nah, ai Trang, ai Du, and Katie, my mom-wa O and all the Champa mothers and sisters.

Finally, thanks to our parents and family for the continuous support and encouragement through the whole experience. And thanks to all of individuals who helped us prior to the event and to you campers who helped with many areas of service through out the three days, doing many tasks we may not have even known about!

To continue the tradition of Cham Youth Camp, we are glad to announce that the next camp might take place at either Sacramento or Seattle area and will be in charge by the Cham Youth in the area chosen. We wish them the best and we are more than happy to provide support when needed. A detail of future camping event will be announced via email and online. Any feedback or suggestions to improve the event is welcomed and appreciated. Please email to reginakieu@yahoo.com with your observations and ideas.


We hope that the tradition of having Cham Youth Camp during July 4th weekend will continue, so that our Champa communities around the world can meet to create a closer and stronger connection as well as to exchange and carry on the beliefs and values of our Champa heritage. We hope that the elders keep supporting and guiding us to a brighter Champa future. We hope that our young upcoming generations be blessed and not take for granted these opportunities provided to them. In order to be tolerant of different backgrounds and religions, we hope to reach out and hold hands tightly among the Champa around the world to build a stronger and brighter future for the Champa. We come together and look forward with love and respect. We continue on, we grow, and we prosper!

Again, thank YOU for making “The 7th Annual Cham Youth Camp” a success. This Cham Youth Camp is Made Possible by Supporters Like You.

With much love, respect and appreciation,

Regina Kieu
Lead Organiser of Cham Youth Camp 2012
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