Linh's Belated 40th Birthday Ask :)
Hello Family and Friends,
Okay, my 40th birthday kinda came and went on April 17th. I didn't really advertise it, but if you like to send a little gift for my birthday, please consider donating to an organization which is near and dear to my heart, Camp Odyssey.
Camp Odyssey was the first place that told me that I belong in this world and that I can have a voice. Being an immigrant girl, I felt too Asian in my Beaverton suburban high school and too American at home with my traditional parents. At 16 y.o., it was the people at Odyssey that saw in me more than I could ever see in myself. Four years ago, I revived this program, along with a group of alumni campers, to give the next generation that same opportunity I had. Camp Odyssey is a unique teen leadership and diversity program transforming not only youth, but the communities that which they live in.
Camp Odyssey is about to return for its 4th year! I need your help to get the last 4-5 teens into this amazing program which starts on August 3rd. I know some of you may wonder how much of a gift would be okay. Just an fyi, in the past people have given anywhere from $10-$300 (with a few at $500). What is most important is your support in an amount that is meaningful to you. I know we are at different places in our lives.
What it is: Camp Odyssey is an experiential journey where 14-18 year olds engage openly and honestly to address topics around oppression, and face personal & societal views on issues ranging from race, culture and immigration to orientation, gender, ableism, power and class. For 6 nights & 7 challenging days they'll reflect and interact with people vastly different from themselves, and gain the understanding, skills & resources needed to work against discrimination and create social change and this is just the beginning! Back in their communities, the year-long Odyssey Program works to continue skill development and help youth connect to or create leadership opportunities of their interest.
What our youth say:
“Who knew that after one week we would be as close as family? I did not expect that, for example, at all. I remember sitting on the bus the very first day fighting back tears because I did not know anyone. A week later, I was fighting back tears to leave these new but incredible faces that I have come to love.”
“Camp Odyssey really helped me. It showed me that saying you aren’t a part of the problem gets you nowhere. Instead of looking for ways to fix what was around me, I started with me and how I could change…to become someone better. Someone that my community would benefit from.”
“This week’s activities were harder than most things that I have done in my life. I really had to look at myself and the things that I have ignored.”
“I learned that I can be open to people no matter what. I can relate to them in some way. Whether that be race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or feeling something they have felt before.”
From the Board of Directors of THE PIECE, the home of Camp Odyssey:
Camp Odyssey changed our lives whether as teens in the 90's or in its revival last year. We continue to offer this program as FREE to attend because we believe ALL youth should have equal access to this powerful experience. However, "free" starts to become very expensive as we fundraise--it costs us about $1,500 per camper to provide this year-round experience. During the weeklong camp, Campers participate in a hefty 87 hours of exercises, games & dialogues (NOT counting the un-official hours they'll spend gabbing with roommates), even $11.49 gets a camper 1 hour of cutting edge curriculum designed to ultimately help youth change their world.
Your money goes directly to the youths' experiences!
Thank you so much for joining us in creating a just and equitable society, where individuals are respected as human beings, and where we can all live without fear. Your contribution sends a message of peace & inclusion, and you stand in good company alongside allies such as:
- Oregon Solutions, a project designated by Governor Ted Kulongoski & John Kitzhaber
- Margaret Carter, former Oregon State Senator and OR Dept of Human Services
- American Leadership Forum, Oregon Chapter
- Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution at the University of Oregon
- Equity Foundation
- Gear Up
- Janus Youth Programs
- John and Linda Shelk Foundation
- Latino Network
- Maslow Project
- Medford School District
- Metro Regional Government
- Multicultural Center at Portland State University
- Northwest Health Foundation
- NW Natural Gas
- Oregon Leadership Institute of Rogue Community College
- Oregon Mentors
- Oregon Transformation
- Oregon Youth Authority
- Pacific Power
- Portland General Electric
- The Inn Home for Boys
- The Standard
- United Way, Columbia-Willamette
* If you don't believe that the team that makes Camp Odyssey happen put in 3,892 volunteer hours, just ask our moms, our bosses (just kidding, we never worked on Odyssey while we were at our day-jobs), our significant others (or sometimes our LACK of significant others), and our Internet service providers! Camp Odyssey and THE PIECE is our labor of love, and is entirely run off the blood, sweat and tears of many individuals committed to the bright futures our youth wish to create. And remember ... that week of Camp is run entirely by volunteers.