All About SPICE Camp


Who we are: SPICE was formed 29 years ago by three American families who were adopting children from India. Although SPICE stands for Supportive Parents and Indian Children Everywhere, the group has also included families with children from other south Asian countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Although SPICE started out as an East Coast group, attendees at recent reunions have come from as far as away California and Switzerland, as well as from many eastern and mid-western states. All families with an interest in south Asian adoption are welcome to attend the reunion.

What we do: Each year, SPICE families come together for a family reunion and heritage camp, held at a family-oriented conference or retreat center. The group has met in Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania in past years.

In 2011, SPICE was held at the Living Learning Center of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA from June 19 - 23. About 40 families and 80 adoptees and siblings were in attendance, with the adoptees ranging in age from toddlers to young adults.

In addition to adoptees from south Asia, siblings by birth or adoption from other countries are an integral part of the SPICE community. The conference center is fully handicapped accessible and our group frequently includes children or adults with special needs.

Heritage classes: Each child is assigned to an age-appropriate class to pursue a curriculum centering on life on the Indian subcontinent. The heritage camp themes rotate from year to year, focusing on "Everyday Life in South Asia", "A Trip to the City", "Celebrations", "The Arts of South Asia" and "Expedition: South Asia".

The children attend heritage classes run by parents from 9:00 to noon during the first three days of the reunion. Care is provided for infants and toddlers so that parents can be free for teaching and supervision of older children. Children with special needs are always assigned a one-on-one helper to ensure that they participate fully in all activities.

Older teens and young adult adoptees provide hands-on assistance with heritage camp activities. The classes culminate in a very special program presented to parents and guests on the third afternoon.

Other activities: Afternoon and evening activities often include yoga classes, storytelling for younger children, outdoor sports, a talent show put on by SPICE children, group discussions for adults, Bollywood movies, and cultural programs presented by members of the local Indian community. Meals are cafeteria-style American food with the addition of a special Indian dish at each lunch and dinner.

One afternoon, adoptees, siblings and parents dress in ethnic costumes and group pictures are taken. A favorite activity is shopping at the SPICE store, where all kinds of items are available for sale including books, bindis, bangles, stationery, incense, dolls, clothing, and much more. The proceeds from the store are directed to several charities in India.

The essence of SPICE: Adoptees of all ages and their family members will attest that the fellowship they enjoy at each reunion is indescribably special. There is a very real sense that we are all part of one big family, bound together by our love for our children of south Asia.

In 2012, the 29th annual SPICE Camp will be held at our Johnstown location from Sunday July 8 - Thursday July 12. Please join us!

What to do next: There are several actions you can take after reading about SPICE on this blog.

(1) If you are just browsing, you may wish to do nothing at this point.

(2) If you have questions that are not answered by the FAQ or other documents, please email them to us using the form provided.

(3) If you think that you might like to attend SPICE in the future but are not certain, please wait until you are reasonably sure that you will be attending next summer and then email us with a request to join the SPICE community.

(4) If you are already certain that you will be attending in 2011 and would like to join the SPICE community right away, just follow the instructions above whenever you like

Joining the SPICE Community: All SPICE communications (registration packets, attendee lists, schedules of events, welcome packets, newsletters) are now distributed electronically. To obtain a registration packet when they are available early next spring, you must be a member of (our SPICE community discussion board).

Once you email us to let us know that you are quite certain you will be attending, we will ask you to subscribe to SPICE_Camp. (The instructions for subscribing to the listserv are included in the "Important Links" on the menu bar at right). Our discussion board manager will then approve your membership and ... voila! you will be part of SPICE.

When you join the discussion board, please introduce yourselves to our very friendly group and tell us a little bit about you and your family. The listserv isn't terribly busy during the fall and winter months, but we do keep on top of major events within our community as they occur. Before and just after SPICE, the listserv is very busy indeed!

There will be an announcement on SPICE_Camp when this year's registration packets are available (typically in early spring). The registration documents can be found in the listserv's "Files" section.

Come! Join us! Many of us have seen our children grow from infants to young adults at SPICE, but we absolutely love new members, and we welcome many new families every year. We hope your family will join us to experience the SPICE magic in the future!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks for SPICE!

I don't think that I have written to thank all of you for the wonderful time we had this year at our first Spice Camp. So I would like to take this time to thank you. It was a wonderful experience for us and our daughter from India. She reviews her photo album that was made there on a regular basis. She will say which kids were in her class and which ones were not--it is very cute. She even remembers most of the names. She really had a wonderful time-- maybe a bit too much even---she was soooo very tired---sometimes it brought out the worst in her. But she loved it!!

I very much enjoyed being a family just like everyone else. It was great. The planning and coordination that must go into this event is amazing to us. WOW!!We really enjoyed meeting all of you. What a great bunch of people you are. Thanks for making us feel so welcome.

Kind regards, Elaine K. on behalf of our whole family

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

SPICE Memories

I haven't been able to make it to Spice in many years, but I'll tell you about one of my favorite Spice memories. My daughter K. was still pretty small but just old enough to really want to be social.

I had been feeling the sting of rejections due to her deafness at other places, such as our church and sometimes, even our family.

When we went to Spice that year I heard that her group was singing a song at the performance. My thought was, "Oh great, just one more chance for her not to be able to participate"

Imagine how I felt on the night of the performance, when her entire group "signed" the song. And K. was at the front of the group, leading the others! That just sums up Spice for me.

ALL our kids are included, made to feel special and wanted.

JP, adoptive parent

Friday, August 29, 2008

SPICE is great!

Spice is a great place to go! I love getting to see kids that are from the India! I make new friends every year and I still get to see my old friends! I really feel comfortable there. I also like getting to learn about India! We get to do different Indian activities, crafts, listen to Indian stories and more! We also get to do Indian dances and make an Indian chapati (a Indian bread) that tastes delicious! We always put on a show that has something to do with India! That is always fun to get ready for! I hope you come because it will be lots of fun!

RR, 7th grade