For the ninth year in a row, OC will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014. The camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus from July 23-27.
The camp is for children aged 13 and older who are known as Third Culture Kids, though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.
“TCKs have both the culture of their parents, the culture of the country they have grown up in, and they develop from these a third culture which is uniquely their own,” Nancy Hartman said. “TCKs have American parents, look and sound like Americans and are expected to know and understand an American culture that is foreign to them.”
At Global Reunion, campers learn to deal with the grief, hidden losses, identity confusion and divided loyalties that can accompany cross-cultural moves. The camp is also filled with fun activities that will help the campers embrace their situation and thrive in it.
In addition to OC, Global Reunion is co-hosted by InterMission, a group of former missionaries committed to supporting missionaries. InterMission was co-founded by the Hartmans and Memorial Road church of Christ in Oklahoma City. There are also many volunteers from local churches who provide meals for the campers.
According to Kent Hartman, Global Reunion is the only camp of its kind in the world that combines classes for college-age and teen TCKs that also has classes for parents. It is also the only camp of its kind among churches of Christ.
“Global Reunion has put OC on the map in missionary and military circles around the world,” he said. “We are often referred to in those circles as ‘the university that cares about missionary and military families’ and the place to send TCKs when they reach university age.”
In recent years, OC has had an increase in the number of TCKs who call OC home. More than 60 students meet during the year, often with the Hartmans. They enjoy activities and relationships for successful living in their world of changing cultures and transitions. More information about the camp and program can be found at www.oc.edu/tck.