PART I – What is Chinese Family Camp (Midwest)?
What is the mission of Chinese Family Camp?
The Midwest Chinese Family Camp (CFC) unites a multi-generational community of extended Chinese and Chinese-American families for a week of fun and recreation in a modern lakeside retreat setting. We socialize, celebrate our culture and heritage, and learn from each other about being Chinese in America. Since 1958, our annual gatherings continually create and sustain deep and lifelong friendships that are truly priceless.
CFC welcomes all families who would like to mix their interest in Chinese culture with the fun and recreation of a week-long “camp” set in the environment of an Indiana lakeside retreat. From the early years through today, the goal of CFC has been to foster a positive image and understanding of the special circumstances of Chinese families – grandparents, parents, and children, blended families, adoptive families – living in or having connections to the American Midwest.
Who attends CFC? How many?
People of all ages attend CFC, usually with relatives. Their connections to China vary from direct to indirect. There are singles and couples who come without children, although most adults are parents or grandparents. Typically 75-90 people attend the entire week, with more joining us during the week. New families make new friends quickly, especially the children.
This year’s virtual CFC made it possible for anyone with Internet access to join us for a variety of CFC-esqe activities through the convenience of your own computing device!
Why do families return year after year?
We form deep, decades long friendships among all generations and encourage everyone to grow in their own identity. Some people have been attending CFC since the 1960’s. Some attended as children and returned when they became parents. Everyone who attends finds a fun and comforting sense of community. It’s also a pretty good bargain for a vacation with your family. It’s also a chance to spend time with other extended families of varying degrees of Chinese heritage. There’s also lots of food (3 meals plus a late night snack plus whatever else everyone brought back from the grocery store), organized activities led by dedicated volunteers, and plenty of time to talk and play with family and friends.
When will Chinese Family Camp be happening?
CFC 2021 will be held online from July 18-25.
CFC is celebrated annually over a week in mid to late July and goes from a Sunday evening to the following Sunday morning. This year’s schedule of virtual events is available here.
How do I register?
And you can also contact Camp Director/Registrar, Lawrence Wang, at email@example.com if you have any questions and/or concerns.
PART II – What do you do at Chinese Family Camp?
How do I get a 2021 CFC T-shirt, or hoodie or coffee mug?
Please stand by – t-shirt/hoodie/coffee mug negotiations are underway. We prefer cotton (at least for the t-shirts), but there is apparently some controversy. Also, how many sleeves (again for the t-shirts, not so much for the coffee mugs)? So many crucial decisions remain to be made in a short time. It’s like we should know how to do this by now, right?
These are the instructions for last year’s t-shirts. Please stay tuned for an update.
While CFC in the Year of the Rat will be virtual, you can still get shirts or hoodies to wear during camp week. The ordering process is essentially the same, except everyone will have to pay a shipping fee.
Note that even though the deadline countdown makes it appear you have less than 3 days left to order, that’s only because a batch is printed every 3 days. You can order anytime in June or July, but if you want to wear something during CFC week then best to order before June 30.
Prices are $11-14 for shirts depending on the style and $21 for a hoodie. Shipping starts at $5.99 for the first shirt and then $2 for each additional shirt or hoodie. Look under Shipping Info for other shipping fees.
The different styles (Classic, Comfort, Women’s Comfort) for t-shirts are slightly different in cut and sizing. Click on Show More Details under the item icons to see the brands, materials, and dimensions. Women’s Comfort sizes start at XS and they are shorter in length in general. Click on a colored circle (under Select Size) to see what a shirt looks like in a different color.
For those who are interested in tie-dye at some point, all styles come in white.
(For children’s sizes, please contact Lawrence or Elysa or Allen with your contact info and we will put you in touch with our top secret West Virginia T-shirt wrangler, Karen Ward.)
What is the daily schedule?
Please review the VCFC schedule for this year’s event times. We had to figure out how to have Camp sessions spanning 4 US continental time zones (sorry Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa), so the schedule is a bit shifted from the norm.
For a regular (non-COVID19 live/in person group) camp, organized daily activities start at 7:30am-ish and are essentially over by 9:30pm. Usually breakfast starts at 8:00am, lunch is at noon, and dinner is at 5:00pm. The planned activities such as Arts and Crafts (all ages) and a Chinese Heritage program run in the morning, with sports in the afternoon for a couple hours (because we need to do Something until we can eat again!). Group fun is scheduled every evening from 7:00 to 9:00, with evening snacks starting around 9:00pm.
How are meals handled?
You are required to consume three healthy, robust meals a day, plus a late evening snack. Meal delivery is not available for this year’s Virtual CFC.
We take our wisdom from the old Chinese proverb: Family eats together in harmony, gluten free snakes on a plane.
Is alcohol allowed? Is smoking allowed?
Since CFC 2021 remains in a virtual delivery mode, no alcohol or smoking is allowed on the internet.
What kinds of outdoor or sports activities are there?
You are only limited by the sports gear you have available to you and whatever room you can spare in your living room or basement.
We hope to maintain our annual CFC BambooRen Micro-Triathlon in some fashion, and perhaps even making/cooking jiao-tze dumplings from the comfort of your own kitchen!
Where are indoor activities held?
All activities will be indoors, unless you can rig up your mobile device on your scooter or what have you.
Will there be computers set up?
You will need to have a GOOD internet connection (do you really trust your wireless, cell hot spot? really?)
A large monitor helps simulate the live camp experience, or project the whole thing on the wall of your garage.
Make sure you have solid audio connections – your eyes are very forgiving, your ears, not so much.
Can I check my email? What about our constitutionally protected rights to free WiFi?
By all means, check your email frequently to see what events are happening!
Is there a place to swim?
We recommend your own wading pool or bathtub.
What languages are spoken?
The primary language is English. Grandparents and a few others speak Chinese, mostly Mandarin, amongst themselves. Most of the American-born Chinese adults and children do not speak Chinese. Teens rarely talk to anyone other than other teens, and it’s pretty hard to understand what they’re saying, even though they are apparently speaking English.
We have instituted a Chinese language table at mealtimes for those of us who wanted to practice a little Chinese. Some of us had exhausted our meager collection of Chinese words and phrases by 12:15pm on Monday. Ai-yah!
Who is in charge of activities?
CFC is run completely by volunteers. Lawrence Wang is the Camp Director. There are dedicated people in charge of Arts and Crafts, the Chinese Heritage Program, Evening Activities, Group Sports, Snacks, and so on. A number of volunteers have helped out at Camp for many years, following a family tradition started by their parents.
Are group activities required?
No, all activities are optional, even sleep for most of the teens.
PART III – Where, How Much, and Other Questions
How do I connect to Virtual CFC?
We will be using the Zoom webinar/teleconferencing application.
We will have a series of follow on/reunion sessions in upcoming weeks/months after VCFC to allow you to check your equipment, have your questions answered, meet other CFC alumni or new campers, play a game of something, or just talk about whatever.
Send an email to allen@chinesefamilycamp to receive an invite to the Zoom webinar/teleconference. If you don’t know how to use Zoom, ask any teenager – they’re way ahead of you.
Will any parts of VCFC be recorded? Screenshots?
Many of the VCFC 2020 sessions were recorded and the fun parts were published to the CFC Youtube page
Any participant can make a screenshot of whatever is appearing on the VCFC Zoom webinar session at any time. If you do not wish to be visible for recordings or screenshots, you may disable your video-camera or wear a cool mask.
How much does attending Family Camp cost? What is covered?
Free. It’s all free. Really.
Note: You’re paying for your own jiao-tze wrappers and filling.
Where is Family Camp held?
In 2021, CFC will be held anywhere you can connect to the internet, probably from your couch at home.
How is final payment handled? The deposit, made prior to camp, is applied to the final bill, which is given to families during Camp. The balance is paid before the end of Camp to the Treasurer, Director, or President of CFC, Inc. CFC cannot process credit cards, so remember to bring your checkbook or create an account with our online registration system to pay by e-check.
Do I have to stay at Cedar Lake? Traditionally everyone stays at the main lodging location. If you would like to stay elsewhere nearby, please contact the Director/Registrar.
What kinds of rooms are available?
How are special rooms assigned, such as the handicapped rooms? In general, room assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis based on time of online registration or the postmark date for paper registration. The Director/Registrar may ask Campers to help out if someone with a later registration has a greater need for a special type of room.
What is Teen/YA lodging? There is a lodging option specifically for teenager and/or young adults, if they are interested and have their parents’ permission. See the Registration Information Packet for details.
Can a teenager attend without parents? Yes, a teenager may make arrangements with the Director to attend without a parent. An adult sponsor must agree to be responsible for the teen. The teen may stay in teen lodging, if available, or share a lodge room.
Do people bring babies or toddlers? Yes, babies and toddlers are welcome with the rest of their family. Cedar Lake is family friendly. A stroller is recommended. Babies may not attend without their parents.
Is Family Camp for Christians only?
No. Family Camp activities have no specific orientation to any religion. (I don’t think you even need to be Chinese!!)
Is a car required during Camp? Most activities are held on site, so a car may be useful but not required. Most families will either have their own vehicle or a car they rented to get to Cedar Lake, so car-pooling is available for any off-site activity. There is plenty of free parking at the Camp.
What are some of the nerdy fine print details about Chinese Family Camp?
Chinese Family Camp, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Illinois!
Contributions are tax deductible!
You can view our IRS Form 990-PF and other details about CFC, Inc. on our Guidestar profile page by clicking here!
Our mailing address is:
Chinese Family Camp, PO Box 641052, Chicago, IL 60664-1052