By Jrehberg

Meet Our 2018 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

SEAPI Heritage Camp: (L to R)  Mai Miller, Carol Nguyen, Alex Jantzen, Jennifer Devany and Hue Pederson

 

ATG is Proud to Announce our 2018 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

Alex Thanh Jantzen, 11

Overland Park, Kansas

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?

It has several meanings. One of them is standing up for what you believe in – no matters what the others may think. Also, standing up for what is right. When you sand or saw wood, you can go against the grain. It’s OK to be different from others.

 

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

In my family, I stand out because I look different. Some kids who don’t know my family don’t realize that my sister and I are actual siblings – because I’m adopted.  Not following the crowd when they laugh at another kid is another example of going against the grain. Standing for what’s right.

 

 

Mai Miller, 17

Longmont, Colorado

 What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?

To me, ‘Against The Grain’ means not letting others stop you from being yourself. This includes standing up for what you believe in and not being afraid to be different.

 

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?
I go ‘Against The Grain’ by embracing my Vietnamese heritage. I am very proud to have been adopted from Vietnam and am always eager to share Vietnamese culture with others. Additionally,  I go ‘Against The Grain’ by not letting the opinions of others affect what I enjoy doing. I feel comfortable with being myself and will continue to be who I am without worrying about following trends.

 

 

 

Samuel Dieu Schlumpf Butler, 10

Chicago, Illinois

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?

What “against the grain” means to me is feeling and being free to love myself without any urge to follow the crowd ; a feeling of freedom and happiness of who and what I am inside and to express the true “me.” It means that I am the only person that I truly want to be.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

I can be, and am going against the grain by being myself and being happy and proud of what I think of myself instead of what others think of me. I can be who I want to and stick to it by being happy of myself. Then, I will make long lasting friendships with people who respect and appreciate who I am.

For example, a kid who used to think that I was “nerdy” and “weird” ended up actually rethinking and wanting to be my friend after I started dressing goofy because it tends to make me happy and comfortable throughout the day. The next day, he walked up to me and asked if I wanted to play with him and his friends at recess. I was amazed at what being myself could change other’s perspectives and feelings about me and how wonderful it felt to be myself. In conclusion, these long lasting friends over time can help others find themselves as well. So I guess I can say that being against the grain has changed my life and how I view myself.

Apply Today for the 2018 ATG Culture/Heritage Camp Scholarship

The 2018 Against The Grain Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Camp Scholarship application process is officially open! Following our support of orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, Against The Grain also provides scholarships here at home to ten young Asian American adoptees each year to attend culture camps such as Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp and Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families SEAPI (Southeast Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Camp). Last year, we raised $1,000, allowing ten youths to spend a few days in the summer connecting with their heritage, bonding with new friends and participating in enriching activities for this year’s Heritage and Culture Camps.

 

Eligibility: Proof of camp registration with Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp and HCAF SEAPI Heritage Camp. Sorry, past recipients are not eligible for this year’s scholarship.

Due Date: Saturday, July 1, 2018

Application: Simply submit the following in an email to outreach@againstthegrainproductions.com.

  1. Name of Applicant
  2. Age of Applicant
  3. City and State
  4. Photo of Applicant
  5. Question 1: What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?
  6. Question 2: How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

 

 

Meet Our 2017 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

 

The ATG is proud to announce the 2017 Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners.

Check out the winners.

 

Kaitlyn Fisher, 11, Parker, Colorado 

Against The Grain means to me, people asking questions regarding me being adopted, about my birth mom, and being Micronesian.  My life is not the same as my friends and I often times have to explain how it’s normal having an adoptive mom and a birth mom, and explain how despite I am Micronesian by ethic background, I was born in the United States. So many people think I am “from” somewhere else.

I am explain and teach people about my ethnic background and how I am really American because I was born in the United States, and how it’s okay to have both an adoptive mom and a birth mom.  I can love them both.  Attending Heritage Camp has taught me that I am not the only person adopted and have white parents.  I really am not different because there are many others just like me.

 

Madison Fisher, 11, Parker, Colorado 

Going Against The Grain means to me, doing things that other don’t expect me to do.

As a Micronesian American, I do a lot of sports and things that I don’t see other kids of my background participating in.  I have been swimming on a swim team since I was six years old and surprise people how well and how fast I swim.  Also, this year at school I tried out for Wendy in Peter Pan.  Despite I didn’t get the role, I didn’t let it stop me from trying.

 

Christian Nguyen Ebel, 11, Sulphur Bluff, Texas 

“Against The Grain” means to me, pushing it to the limit and going to the top of the mountain where there is a pot of gold, or falling to the bottom, where there is lava. It means trying your best and not giving up. It is also how you try. You have to put in a lot of effort, otherwise, it doesn’t work. If you fall in the lava, you FAIL, but in failing you learn succeeding. You learn to rethink it, to try again and to do it right. It’s like when you are progressing in life, you are becoming rich, not only in money, but rich in love and connecting with people. When you are not progressing, you are feeling depressed and sad. But you have to try, to keep going, keep moving forward. It’s like try, fail, try, fail, SUCCEED! Don’t be like everyone else, being you is right.

I went “Against The Grain” by taking an educational trip to India last year. I wanted to help the kids in the slums by raising money for them. It took a lot of trying – 3 whole months to make the campaign video. I fixed my mind on it and raised $6,000 for the trip and donated money to Manav Sadhna at the Gandhi Ashram. They serve underprivileged kids in Ahmedabad. I changed India by a small portion. I just wrote a book about my experience in India and will donate proceeds from my book to my friends’ film http://stoppingtrafficfilm.com/ to stop human trafficking.

 

Maeve Doubleday-Bush, 11, Glenwood Springs, Colorado 

Going Against The Grain means to me, that you don’t always have to fit in. You can be different from the others and you don’t have to listen to the mean things that other people are saying about you or your friends. This is not easy, but you need to trust and follow your instincts even if it is tough. You can work it out. Find a way to have fun even if others don’t want to hang out with you. You know you are doing the right thing. It really is their issue not yours.

Do the right thing and follow my instincts even when it is truly difficult. I don’t break the rules. I like to follow the rules. If the rules make no sense or seem overly strict, then rather than break the rules I will figure out a way to get them changed or make them work. Sometimes my friends and the other kids will break the rules, it doesn’t mean that I will, even if my friends are upset with me. I won’t bend to peer pressure. I don’t let my friends talk me into doing something I know is not right. Sometimes it means I have to be alone or go play with different people but I know I am doing the right thing.

 

Ian Gahagan, 10, Wales, Wisconsin

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To me, against the grain means people should not care what heritage other people are from. It’s what’s inside that counts. If you see someone being racist, ignore them. They don’t know who you really are like the famous saying you can’t judge a book by its cover. That means you don’t know someone ’til you know them as a person, in person.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? How I go against the grain, is if I see someone being racist, I would say “How would you feel if someone did that to you and are you really making the right choice?” If it gets physical, use the self-defense we learned at Culture Camp. In all, go against the grain, don’t go with the crowd, but stand up for what is right.

 

Aran Balzer, 11, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? It means being different than other people.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can live my life according to what I think and know is right instead of worrying about what others think of me.

 

Maekhala Balzer, 9, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To make a difference in the world.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can be myself.

 

Tassanee Balzer, 9, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To be different in a good way

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can make a difference in the world by helping people.

 

Keira Gahagan, 7, Wales, Wisconsin 

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? If people are doing something that’s not right, don’t do it and tell them they are making the wrong choice and why. If they don’t listen, I would get the adult that’s in charge and tell them that those kids are making the wrong choice.

If kids are doing something unsafe, I would tell them they should stop doing that because they could hurt themselves or trip and fall. If they don’t stop after I ask them twice, I would report it to a teacher because it was the wrong choice and it was unsafe.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? If someone is making fun of someone I would say “Hey, I think you’re hurting that person’s feelings. I think you should stop.” One day at school, my friend L. was having trouble pronouncing the words thirty-five. Six people were making fun of her pronouncing those words. I said “I think you are hurting her feelings. I think you should stop. I don’t think she likes it”. They didn’t stop. They kept making fun of how she was pronouncing it. My friend acted like she didn’t care and kept working. I told the teacher a few minutes later that I told them to stop, but they did not. Whenever I was around my friend L., and other kids were around her, I never heard or saw kids make fun of her for the rest of the year.

 

Apply Today for the 2017 ATG Culture/Heritage Camp Scholarship

Heritage Camp
 XX
The 2017 Against The Grain Vietnamese and Thai Heritage Camp Scholarship application process is officially open! Following our support of orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, Against The Grain also provides scholarships here at home to ten young Asian American adoptees each year to attend culture camps such as Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp and Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families SEAPI (Southeast Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Camp). Last year, we raised $1,000, allowing ten youths to spend a few days in the summer connecting with their heritage, bonding with new friends and participating in enriching activities for this year’s Heritage and Culture Camps.
Eligibility: Proof of camp registration with Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp and HCAF SEAPI Heritage Camp. Sorry, past recipients are not eligible for this year’s scholarship.
Due Date: Saturday, July 1, 2017
Application: Simply submit the following in an email to outreach@againstthegrainproductions.com.
– Name of Applicant
– Age of Applicant
– City and State
– Photo of Applicant
– Question 1: What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?
– Question 2: How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

We Are Family, You Mean the World to Me

August 11, 2014
2014 Vietnamese Heritage Camp | Estes Park, Colorado
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On July 31st I returned to Colorado for my 9th Vietnamese Heritage Camp and my third camp as a director. We spent the past 3 weeks making final adjustments and planning prepared to execute another exciting camp. I rehearsed my new song every night leading up to camp leaving it up to the energy of the room to carry my tune from beginning to end. This year’s song was once again named after our camp theme We Are Family. Family has been a personal theme for me in 2014. My first child was born in March and I found out that I have a second cousin in Long Xuyen,  Vietnam.  In this song, I sang about the different types of family in my life. Watch the video
I was so happy and proud to have my ATG family join us at camp this year to share a workshop with our kids. Thank so much Tammy, George,  Gabby, Austen, Kate, Carol, Nikki and Hue. Your voices meant so much to our kids. You are all an inspiration to them and an important piece of their identity and growth.
After a few days of down pour and flash floods the sun burst through at Estes Park. I was back with our special community of families. It’s amazing to see the kids growing up each year. Many of these teenagers for 5-7 years old when I first began volunteering. There are few a campers I had the honor a privilege to get to know very well over the past 5 years. It’s not easy hearing that you’re a role model. Hearing stories from their lives and everything they have accomplished makes me feel so proud. A few of them were ATG camp scholarship winners from 2011-2014. Check out our 2014 winners
This was a milestone year for me as I was directing for the last time and turning 40 on the last day of camp. Looking back I remember the joy of discovering this community and feeling so much joy for the younger generation of Vietnamese adoptees. They have a place to come together to bond and share stories. Adoptive parents can meet up and be part of a small support group for a long weekend in the mountains.
I always leave camp on Sunday with new information about my culture and heritage. I discover new pieces of my identity. Camp made me the person I am today and I will be forever grateful for having been part of it. This Sunday I was surprised with a birthday video created by my wife and 5 month old daughter. A new chapter has begun. With excitement and fears I know I will be ok with the love and support from all my families.
My Best,
Jared Rehberg
ATG Board Advisor
P.S.
Thank you ATG for the birthday carrot cake and sweet gifts for Mali Anh. I hear 40 is the new 30.

Congratulations to 2014 ATG Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners

ATG is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 ATG Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Contest. Many thanks to all of our campers who submitted this year. Check out how our winners go Against The Grain’ and what going ‘Against The Grain’ means to them. Congratulations to our winners!

 

Avery Popelka

Avery

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to you?
You pick something different than the other kids want to do.

How do you go ‘Against The Grain?’
I go against the grain by picking different foods to eat than others.  I like to listen to different songs than my friends.  I like to wear mismatched clothes.

Burk Popelka

photo

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to you?
It means going opposite.

How do you go ‘Against The Grain?’ 
At school, I play with the girls instead of the boys.

 

Teresa Kremer

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What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to you?
Being different, having fun, being happy

How do you go ‘Against The Grain?’
I have blonde hair and there are not many kids at Vietnam Camp who have blond hair.  I like to be silly and use a squeaky voice.

Elizabeth Thompson

danniel_DSC_0448

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to you?

To me it means being different and not doing things the same as otherpeople. It sometimes makes me feel good. It also makes me feel unique and special in different ways.

How do you go ‘Against The Grain?’
Unlike other girls I actually play with boys and learn from them a teeny bit. I also have fun with them sometimes. I also am the only one who likes around the world, it’s a game about math. This is how I go against the grain.

Lia Kelly

lia and jackWhat does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to you?
Going against the grain means you are not afraid to come out with who you are and you’re brave enough to stand against society.

 

 

 

 

Paige Nappi

Vietnamese_Culture_Camp_2013_075What does ‘Against The Grain’  mean to you?
Going against the grain means being independent.

How do you go Against The Grain?’ 
I go against the grain by doing my own thing when friends want me to do something I don’t want to.

 

 

Minh LaBarge

DSC_3909What does ‘Against The Grain’  mean to you?
Going against some other person in a good way.

How do you go ‘Against The Grain?’ 
Be friendly, play fair.

Jolie LaBarge

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What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to you?
Doing something out of the blue or doing something someone told you not to do but you do anyway.

How do you go ‘Against The Grain’ ?
Standing up for people. When someone is getting bullied or hurt you’re able to help them and be a friend.

 

(girl in the blue dress)

 

 

 

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2014 HCAF Vietnamese Heritage Camp Scholarship Winners –  Estes Park, CO

Check out previous winners:

2013

2012

2011

 

2014 ATG Vietnamese Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Contest

Win $100 for Vietnamese Heritage/Culture Camp! Enter today!

Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the 2014 ATG Vietnamese Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Contest! ATG is giving away camp scholarships to 10 lucky campers to help pay for the camp of their choice. Past winners are not eligible.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Register for Heritage/Culture Camp: 

Step 2: Email us:

Email us with your child’s picture and your child’s answers to the following questions…
1. What does ‘Against The Grain?’ mean to you?
2. How do you go ‘Against The Grain’?
Email: outreach@againstthegrainproductions.com Attach a picture from camp to share on the contest page. 🙂
Rules: Kids must be registered for a Heritage or Culture camp. Please send in your proof of registration. Only one entry per child. Past winners will not be entered into the final drawing.
Prize: 10 $100 stipends will be given away at random. The national drawing will be held July 1, 2014. Winners will be notified via email. Winners photo and answers will be posted on the ATG website in the beginning of August.

Good luck!

Check out our past Vietnamese Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Winners!

2013 Winners! Click here for details

Here are some of our winners from the 2013 Vietnamese Heritage Camp in Colorado.

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2012 Winners! Click here for details

 

 

Chasing Dragonflies, Vietnamese Heritage Camp in Estes Park, CO

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I can’t believe it almost a month since Heritage Camp ended. It was another memorable weekend filled with storytelling, music, family, friendship and sunny weather. Many thanks to all the Coordinators and Staff. Without you there would be no camp. I always look forward to returning to the mountains to learn about my birth culture, visit with old friends and make new ones.

This year’s camp theme was “Chasing Dragonflies.” We explored the Vietnamese creation story and other Vietnamese fairytales. The kids made dragonfly kites and Vietnamese spring rolls. It was so nice to have ATG’s very own Hue Dao Miner join us again. Hue worked with the kids to teach them a traditional Vietnamese dance. All the age groups performed with Hue at our Saturday night show.

“I went as a presenter and taught Vietnamese dance lessons and games to the middle school and high school children,” said Hue Dao Miner. “The kids are so bright! They learned their routines in an hour and performed it in a show for their parents. I choreographed and taught the middle schoolers a “múa nón” (hat dance), and the high schoolers a “vũ phiến” (fan dance). As you can tell in the following videos, they had a lot of fun performing them.”

Many thanks to Co-Director, Kristi Kremer, who put together a great camp with me this year. I will be returning as Co-Director for one more year. I’m happy to announce two new camp Co-Directors joining me, Veronica Thompson and Ethan.

Camp was extra special for me this year. My parents, Rick and Rita Rehberg, attended camp as guest presenters. It was so exciting to see my parents give a workshop on raising a multicultural adoptive family. Their 30 plus years of experience offered a new perspective to the family of campers just beginning their journey. Thank,s Mom and Dad.

Saturday night’s carnival and gala was so much fun. I had the honor to share the stage with fellow camper and adoptee Noelle Hemphill. ATG’s Hue Dao Miner joined me on stage again to announce the winners of our 2013 ATG Heritage Camp Scholarship Contest Winners. Our amazing counselors surprised us with a gorgeous candlelight dance. Our evening ended with a surprise dance party. This event will be official next year. Sometimes, you just need to dance!

See you next year!

Jared Rehberg and Noelle Hemphill perform Chasing Dragonflies

http://youtu.be/0t3uFjXna9Q?t=54s

2013 VHC High School Fan Dance:
http://youtu.be/wii43av4CIo

2013 VHC Middle School Hat Dance:
http://youtu.be/P4OlmZiOaCg

Congratulations to 2013 ATG Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners

ATG is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 ATG Heritage/Culture Camp Scholarship Contest. Many thanks to all of our campers who submitted this year. Check out how our winners go Against The Grain and what going Against The Grain’ means to them. Congratulations to our winners!

ZoeDesserichZoe Desserich

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

Zoe is six-years-old and will be in first grade this fall. She was born in Phu Tho, Vietnam. She is very proud to be from Vietnam, and her kindergarten teacher told us that she talks about Vietnam all the time. She took in her baby book and showed the Vietnam photos to her entire class. When the class wrote a book together at the end of the year, choosing the setting, characters, etc, they decided the story should be set in Vietnam!

What does against the grain mean to you?

In our family, going “Against The Grain” means being yourself. It means that you are not afraid to be different. It means not doing or liking things just things just because someone else likes them.

 

ColinDesserichColin Desserich

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

Colin is five-years-old and will be in kindergarten this fall. He lives his life against the grain. He was adopted at birth in the U.S, and his family is a little different than most. While he loves with his mom, dad, brother and sister, he also loves to see his “Mama Amy” (his biological mom) and his biological brother and sister, too. He proudly says, “Mommy, I have two mommies!” He is a daredevil, and he is very competitive. He likes to run the hardest, ride his bike the fastest and jump from the highest heights. He loves to be silly and will do anything to make people laugh.

What does against the grain mean to you?

In our family, going “Against The Grain” means being yourself. It means that you are not afraid to be different. It means not doing or liking things just things just because someone else likes them.

 

CatoTranBrownCato Tran Brown

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

Unlike most five year olds, there are few mainstream cartoons that Cato is willing to watch.  Instead, he often prefers science and nature documentaries (“if they aren’t too scary”) or cooking shows.  It is not uncommon to find him hypnotized by Chef Jaques Pepin or asking us, “What’s a worm hole?”  He has an exceptional aptitude for this.  He could name most of the flowers and vegetables in our garden and tell you all about the solar system.

What does against the grain mean to you?

Doing things differently than others.

 

ReubenBrownReuben Brown

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

Reuben always looks for new ways to make his brother and parents laugh.  He likes to experiment with silly walks like sideways galloping or twisting struts.  He likes to make new sounds or use familiar words in new settings to get a laugh.

What does against the grain mean to you?

Doing what I like.

 

MayaVogelsonMaya Vogelson

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

I would ask for help or directions – like from the police or a crossing guard.

What does against the grain mean to you?

It means cutting through the grain when the grain is so strong.

 

KaliHauckKali Hauck

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

I am against the grain because I believe that being yourself and being truthful about who you are is very important. That being someone else just to fit in is not as good as just being you. Just be yourself and you will go a lot farther than those that pretend. For example I am different because, I am adopted, I am small, I am Asian, I like to do different things, I act different, I listen to different music. I may not be as outgoing as the other people at my school, but that’s okay. I do not change these qualities of myself, because that’s what makes me different and special. I just go with what feels right to me and what I feel is important in my life. I try and not focus on what others think of me. This can be hard, and everyone has their own struggles, but being different is cool. That’s how I go against the grain. I stay true to who I really am.

What does against the grain mean to you?

“Against The Grain” to me means that you are different than other people, but you are okay with that. That you aren’t exactly like the others. You do things in your own way and you don’t try and be someone you are not. You are strong and don’t let others get under your skin about who you are or how you don’t fit in. You are just you.

 

Gabriel EverettGabriel Everett

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

Well, like, I like to play batman even though Eliott doesn’t like to.

What does against the grain mean to you?

I guess not do do what someone else does, especially mean guys.

 

Eliott EverettEliott Everett

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

I don’t fight somebody…or I don’t know…I just don’t do things just cuz my friends do.

What does against the grain mean to you?

To not do what everyone else does…or something.

 

 SarahFoustSarah Foust

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

Some of the things that I do that are against the grain are that I don’t wear the same clothes that other kids wear.  I don’t talk in class when other kids are and I put my best in every project. I can spend hours doing origami and crafts and when I see something that I like, I research on-line and learn how to make it myself.

What does against the grain mean to you?

“Against The Grain” means not doing what everyone else is doing.

 

IMG_20130129_184856Grace Dickinson

How do you go ‘against the grain?’

I go against the grain when my friend Ryan wants me to sit with him at lunch, but he does not save a seat for my best friend Shefali.  I have to go against Ryan and say I would like to but only if you save a spot for Shefali, too. Also, when I’m at school and want to play 4 square, people are always making teams and being mean to each other. When people ask me, I say no, it’s not right to gang up on people.

What does against the grain mean to you?

Going “Against The Grain” means going against the crowd. Going “Against The Grain” means you should be independent and bold.

 

 

Here are some of our winners from the 2013 Vietnamese Heritage Camp in Colorado.

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