Filipino Friends and Families of North Edison, or FFFNE, holds an annual week-long summer camp for children from Pre-K to 10th Grade where they learn about the Filipino culture through music, dance, cultural wear, storytelling, cooking, and arts and crafts. For five days, campers learn about the Philippine history through song and dance and at the end of the week they put on a cultural performance showcasing to their family & friends the traditional Filipino dances and songs that they learned throughout the week, complete with cultural attire.
Every year the organization chooses a theme for camp. This year the theme is “The Resilience of the Filipino People,” a tribute to the Filipinos who were able to rise above the destruction Typhoon Haiyan had caused in their lives.
Cassandra Beltran, former camper turned Youth Volunteer Coordinator, describes her experience with camp:
“I have been a part of the FFFNE's Filipino Camp for many years. I am almost sure that I was in second grade when I first started camp and here I am now, 21 years old and going to be a senior in college the upcoming fall. This year, I am grateful that I was given the opportunity of being a Youth Volunteer Coordinator. Throughout my years of experience from the camp, it has truly helped me become very more appreciative of my Filipino culture. It has encouraged me to put what I've learned from the camp into my life.”
Filipino Camp is run by a team of youth and adult volunteers dedicated to educating the campers about Filipino culture. Many volunteers even take off from work just to lend their services to camp. For many volunteers like Cassandra, people often ask her why she volunteers. She responds, “It's for kids; this camp is all about the kids. These children need to experience what I did as a camper because I know it will enrich their Filipino pride to its greatest level.”
Learning about the Filipino culture at a young age enables Cassandra to also appreciate her roots and encourages parents to send their kids to camp saying, “Being born in America, sometimes we forget our ethnic roots, but for me, the camp has always reminded me how proud I am to be Filipino. I am sure I'm not the only one who has let their own culture slip out of their daily lives since it's hard to avoid that when you are let alone so invested in the American culture. So I am thankful for this camp to remind the true meaning of being Filipino.”
To learn more about Filipino Friends and Families of North Edison, please visit their website.
Filipino Families & Friends of North Edison (FFFNE) aims to promote Philippine arts and culture and to foster a stronger Filipino community in Edison and neighboring towns.FFFNE is a non-profit organization under IRS section 501(c)(3). Contributions to FFFNE may be tax-deductible. Please consult your tax advisor.