Sophie, 22, a radio presenter from the seaside city of Blackpool, England, returns to CHI Camp Leaders this summer at URJ Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi. She loved spending last summer in the U.S., and her fondest memory was the International Staff Showcase. “[It’s] an honored camp tradition”, explains Sophie. “A fun festival of culture that helps integrate the whole staff and [lets us] share our cultures with the American staff members. It’s actually one of the nights that I really couldn’t wait for when returning.”
The International Staff Showcase brings together everything that makes cultural exchange great. “Everyone is encouraged to showcase their favorite traditions, foods, music and popular culture from their homelands”, Sophie says. “We make signs, dress up, adorn tables with flags, cook traditional foods and dance in the style of all the different cultures. It’s a safe space and a great ice-breaker.”
CHI is all about bringing people together, and Sophie knows that this night does just that. “[It] allows staff to let loose … and to ask questions freely. It brings us all closer as a team and helps us find connections and share stories.” And at the end of the day, Sophie tells us, it does one more thing: “it reminds me of home and the people I love and why I come to camp – for the sheer joy and love of it all.”
Thank you, Sophie, for sharing your story, and for spending another summer with CHI!
More photos from the International Staff Showcase: