Culture Camp

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Thirty years ago, at the end of the Vietnam War, many refugees settled in the United States. As Reed Galin reports, a Louisiana church is helping children of Vietnamese heritage learn more about the country their parents left behind.

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(Locator: Baton Rouge, LA)

She fled on a boat and settled an ocean away. Tuyet Tran (TWIT TRAN) left war-torn Vietnam 27 years ago for a better life in the United States. But, she hasn’t forgotten her past.

The Rev. Tuyet Tran/United Methodist Pastor: “We love to teach and explain for them some very, very important culture. They need to keep their culture.”

Tran is now a United Methodist pastor heading a ministry for Vietnamese families in Michigan.

(Singing in Vietnamese)

And twice a year, she holds camps for Vietnamese children at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Diana Nguyen/Student: “It makes me feel kind of special. Because not a lot of people know about Vietnam.”

Tram Nguyen/Student: “It is very important, because I did not learn very much about it when I was back in Vietnam.”

At camp, the children learn more about their culture, and study Vietnamese as a second language.

Charlie Nguyen/Student: “One is ‘chao,’ and it means ‘hello.’”

Bichthy Betty Nguyen/Camp Instructor: “We hope that they can communicate with their grandparents and their parents a little bit better, and also love who they are.”

Charlie Nguyen/Student: “Vanilla ice cream, in motion.”

Participants also learn how to cook, and make ice cream the old-fashioned way … an exercise that builds teamwork.

The Rev. Amy Mercer/Broadmoor United Methodist Church: “All of the stresses and strains that come with being newly-immigrated to the United States. Anything that we can do is a help.”

Camp organizers say by learning more about their culture, these children learn more about themselves … and their future.


Volunteers from Broadmoor United Methodist Church also teach classes for Vietnamese adults.  They can learn “English as a Second Language” and study to become U.S. citizens. For more information, log onto or call 225-924-6269.