Open Letter from Maurice and Audrey Chen
Dear Former TACEC 2G,
In 2013, for the first time in over twenty years, we decided to attend TACEC. Why, you ask? Because we had been hearing a lot of great things about the TANG (3G) program. Godwin Chen and his predecessor Tom Yu have been working hard for the past 8+ years to keep TANG alive for the 3G of Taiwanese Americans. 3 years ago they made the program available for kids as young as 6 years old. There were over 100 kids in the TANG program.
Our son was 7 at the time and our twin girls were 5 at the time. Not knowing what to expect we had them stay with us. We dropped them off at breakfast in the cafeteria and they were on their way with their counselors. We spied on them at first as over-protective parents are wont to do. But they settled right in. They played games, cooked, crafted and practiced their routines for the all-important Taiwan night. It was great to watch them having fun with our friends’ kids and start the bonds of friendship that have tied our generation together after all these years. By the end they wanted to stay in the youth dorms with their friends and counselors. And just like when we were kids, they can’t wait to go back next year. We might even let them stay in the youth dorms.
What did we do? The 2G has become the absent generation from TACEC. So there wasn’t a formal program for us. But once we dropped the kids off we were CHILD FREE! We got to reconnect with old friends and basically designed our own program. Since we were in Lancaster in 2013, we spent a day in the Amish Country and went to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. At the end of the day, we came back and had dinner with our parents and our kids who barely knew we existed anymore. They ate with their friends an basically ignored us. Sound familiar?
Our parents loved having the grandkids attending TACEC. It’s not often that they have the opportunity to “show” off their grandkids to their friends. Plus, I think all the 1G enjoy watching the new generation. TACEC is an extremely unique venue where we have the opportunity to bring together 3 generations of friends that is more than a single-family vacation.
For those 2G who were in attendance last year, we kept thinking that we have a small window to capture our kids interest in TACEC and ensure the viability of TACEC. Without the continued success of the TANG program, TAC will surely not exist within 10 years. So we are appealing to our 2G to bring your kids to TACEC as a way for them to make the same kinds of friendships we had and for you to reconnect with some old friends. Viewing your friends pics on stories on social media is not the same as bringing everyone together in a multi-generational conference.
But, the real reason for the 2G to get together is to see each other and bring our kids. I don’t want to call it a reunion because that implies it’s a rare event. For many of us, this is a part of our lives and has shaped who we are.
We know everyone is busy and that your vacation time is limited especially around holiday weekends. If you can’t attend, at least spread the word. If you can attend, then recruit your friends and your parents. We would like to see TACEC and TANG thrive into the future.
Maurice and Audrey