Camp Naru provides a fun, safe, and immersive learning experience for Korean American youth to:
- Strengthen understanding and appreciation of their cultural identity
- Build lifelong friendships in community
- Grow in confidence and self-esteem
Our mission is to equip our youth and future generations with an ability to navigate life as individuals and members of the Korean American community with a sense of belonging and rich cultural heritage.
We envision a world where kids and youth feel safe and celebrated for who they are with their distinct cultural and personal identity as they integrate and engage with other cultures.
As children and youth from Korean-American, Korean adoptive, and multiethnic families grow up in the United States, they may not be fully aware or accepting of their Korean identity and cultural background. Camp Naru fosters a fun environment for such kids and young adults to embrace their Korean identity and heritage as they become friends and build community together.
We are committed to providing financial assistance to aid campers in need so they can attend Camp Naru.
In Korean 나루 “Naru” means “ferry boat crossing”. Camp Naru in essence is our metaphor for a “crossing”, where Korean and American culture, identity, and understanding of oneself intersect, is shared and flourishes.
Asian Americans are often minorities in their home neighborhoods. Korean Americans (KAs) are often not recognized for their distinct cultural identity. These realities can contribute to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in KA children. Moreover, as generations of Korean immigrants age, valuable ties to Korean culture, language and traditions are lost. As these vital links disappear, it can be difficult to gain accurate and positive information about our shared background, leaving future generations insufficiently prepared to understand and take pride in our rich, vibrant heritage. This challenge can apply to KAs from all walks of life including children of immigrants, mixed-race KAs and KA adoptees. For many, feeling good about being KA has become increasingly difficult in the current climate of anti-Asian hate.
Camp Naru provides a rare opportunity for young Korean Americans, including all kids and youth of Korean descent, in three critically important ways.
- Community: We create a week-long community of 100+ people of Korean descent, including grade-schoolers, middle-schoolers and college-aged counselors. For these seven days, the majority population shares a common cultural identity. Immersion is center in this extended community, where people feel like they are part of a family, as well as, the majority. This allows for participants to address unresolved questions and validate everyone involved in profound, meaningful and lasting ways.
- Mentorship and Role Modeling: Our staff are carefully selected in large part for their deep appreciation and understanding of Korean identity, culture, personal experience and willingness to share this with others. Interacting with youth and adult mentors of Korean descent with high self-esteem or those who deeply value Korean culture can empower campers in a number of ways, like inspiration, direction and confidence in who they can become. Sending your children to Camp Naru fosters transformative experiences that are hard to come by otherwise.
- Korean Cultural Awareness: We provide factual, relevant and accessible information about what it means to be Korean American or of Korean descent. This understanding can be crucial to viewing shared Korean heritage as a source of pride and strength. Internalizing a positive self-image with cultural identity can go a long way in offsetting overt acts of prejudice, microaggressions and negative stereotyping.
Camp Naru is a place of learning, accomplished through hands-on activities & shared experiences. We are nurturing skills and sharing ideas and information with our campers. We do not exist just to provide entertainment or social opportunities, nor is our goal to have campers master a given cultural endeavor such as language or a Korean craft. Rather, our primary purpose, at its heart, is educational: to help campers learn about and better understand themselves and their shared Korean heritage and culture. We aim to spark curiosity, interest and appreciation in a wide variety of things relevant to being Korean American in meaningful and memorable ways. By sharing these personal experiences with other friends who share a common cultural heritage and identity, the more understanding and pride our campers gain about who they are – raising the ability to thrive as adults.