It ended with a pinch, a squeeze, or even a simple hand on a shoulder. “Touch somebody who has made an impact on your life. Touch somebody who made you laugh. Touch somebody who is now your friend”. Such a simple gesture left 42 youths with a deep connection and impact after attending TACL-Leadership Identity Development (LID) Camp at UC San Diego during the month of August.
It had been 10 years since I last attended LID Camp and it was now my first time serving as a camp counselor. I was a camper from 2001-2003 before LID Camp went on hiatus for a couple of years. Even after the reboot in 2009, I never really had interest in returning.
So, why did I suddenly decide to return to LID Camp after 10 years? It was my first trip back to Taiwan in seven years last April that rejuvenated my pride and interest in being a Taiwanese American. That visit, led to my decision to study Mandarin at the Mandarin Training Center in Taipei for 10 months. Towards the end of my stay, I pondered ways I could stay involved in the culture that I grew to love.
Michael Chen graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and also studied at the Mandarin Training Center in Taipei with an emphasis in reading and writing. He is a part of Taiwanese American Citizens League (TACL) – Leadership Identity Development (LID) Camp, serving as a camp counselor or helping with fundraising events. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys playing basketball, listening to music and buying vinyl records in his spare time.