Camp 2007

10th Youth Leadership Development Camp
Happy 10th year anniversary to Lên Đường
Leadership Impact Success

Location: Collin County Adventure Camp, Anna, Texas, USA
Date: May 25 - 28, 2007

Camp Master: Bảo Nhung Lê, Dallas TX
Number of Camper: 260

Keynote Speaker

Ms Janet Nguyen was elected to the Garden Grove City Council on November 2, 2004, coming in first out of nine candidates. She is the first woman to serve on the City Council in nearly 35 years and the youngest member ever to be elected. 

Janet has served on the Garden Grove Planning Commission, the Garden Grove Traffic Commission, and was a former board member for the Orange County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board. She has worked for two former Chairmen of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and former Orange County Assemblyman as the District Director. 

Janet dedicates countless hours to different organizations throughout Garden Grove. She is currently a Board Member for the Garden Grove Hospital and Center for a Brand New Day. She is also a member of Soroptimist International of Garden Grove and former Associate Member of the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Association, former Board Member of the Grove Theatre Center and Senior Meals on Wheels. In addition, she owns a consulting business for public and community relations and the former Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. 

Janet has been recognized by the Asian Pacific American Legislative Staff Association as the first Vietnamese American in California to hold the District Director position for a state or federal legislator's office.  She has been awarded the We Give Thanks' 2004 Women of Vision Award, which recognizes outstanding women who have provided exceptional services to the community.  In addition, the Orange County Register Newspaper has listed her as one of the "30 Vietnamese Americans To Watch" and was named as the OC Metro Magazine 2006's "25 Hottest" People in Orange County .

Janet is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. A strong supporter of education, Janet taught the Law Student Admission Test's (LSAT) preparation course to potential law students for Princeton Review

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Janet and her family escaped their homeland on a small wooden 10-foot boat sailing across the South China Sea in search of freedom and democracy.   Janet and her family arrived in California in 1981.  Janet has lived in Garden Grove, Orange County for more than fifteen years with her family and three siblings.

Janet resides in Garden Grove with her husband Tom Bonikowski and their three dogs

Mr Dat Nguyen: past Dallas-Cowboy Football Player - currently in the Coach Team of Dallas Cowboy NFL Born in September 1975 in Arkansas, Dat Nguyen came into this world just to show that hard work, motivation, and tremendous discipline can pave quiet a sterling path for one.

Like many Vietnamese families, Dat's clan of seven, which includes his parents and five siblings, left their war-torn native country to settle in the promising land of America. Only four months in his mother's womb, Dat could not possibly fathom or witness the turmoil and despair of what his family members and 2 million other Vietnamese refugees went through. With gunfire exploding from their enemy and the bombing of their own people, Dat's parents frantically round their children together to make their escape. They drifted for days on the choppy sea with little food and water and finally reached Thailand. Two months later they were flown to the United States where Dat was born in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. They moved to Michigan shortly after to live with their sponsored family. Not used to the bitter cold weather from the north, Dat's father transferred his family down to Texas where he established his business in the shrimping industry. Currently, Dat resides in the Dallas area while his family still lives in Rockport, Texas, where they own the now famous Hu-Dat Restaurant, which was named after Dat and his brother Hung.

As one of the most decorated collegiate football players, Nguyen was a consensus Texas Top 100 linebacker following his prep career at Rockport-Fulton High School in Rockport, Texas. He earned district 30-3A Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior after tallying 188 tackles. He also earned Class 3A second-team all-state honors as a punter. Nguyen graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in agricultural development in August 1998 and took post-graduate classes during his senior football season. He has taken an active role in the Dallas community. During the 2002 season, Nguyen and his wife, Becky, served as guest participants at the Cowboys annual NFL 201 Football Workshop for Women benefiting The Salvation Army. The couple talked about life in the NFL from the player's and the wife's perspective with the female attendees. He annually participates as a celebrity football coach for the club's annual Dallas Cowboys Let Us Play! Sports Camp for Girls. Coach Nguyen led his group to the mock "Super Bowl" victories in 2001 and 2002. In 2001, he took part in the Linebacker's Blitz Hunger at The Salvation Army as part of the Hams for the Holiday program, where players distributed hams to needy families. The Dallas Cowboys Salvation Army Angel Tree program, which provides clothing and toys to underprivileged children, the Children's Cancer Fund Fashion Show and Luncheon annually co-chaired by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and the Dallas Race for the Cure benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research are charity events that the Nguyen's continue to support year after year. Dat and wife Becky added a daughter, Aubrey Mai (6/26/03), to their family in the off-season of 2005.

VCSA is grateful for Dat Nguyen's contribution as the Keynote Speaker for the National Youth Leadership Camp Len Duong 2000 in Fort Worth, Texas and for his and Becky's presence at our Spring Gala in 2005 as our Guests of Honor for our 15th Anniversary Celebration. Now when we celebrate our 10th anniversary of camp Len Duong, we are delighted to welcome Dat Nguyen as our Speical Honor Guest.

Mr Dat Duc Nguyen: artist - musician and guitarist - California

Dat Nguyen was born in 1971 in Viet Nam, blind from birth and orphaned at age five. He began his music studies at age eleven, playing drums, and became interested in classical music two years later. In 1988, a friend introduced him to the recordings of Andres Segovia, and an immediate enchantment with the guitar and its music led him to decide to devote his life to studying and performing on the classical guitar.

Dat and his younger sister came to the United States in 1991 under the auspices of the ODP, since Dat's father had been an American serviceman. For the next two and a half years, Dat had little opportunity for formal study of the guitar. In 1993, still in high school, he was a prize-winning guitarist in the Disney Creativity Challenge. Later that year, he enrolled as a guitar performance major at California State University, Fullerton, under the direction of David Grimes.

In 1994, Dat won the Southern California ASTA Solo Guitar Competition, and went on to win first prize at the Califonia state finals. An extensive1995 article in the Orange County Register on his life and achievements led to many performance invitations, including a showcase at the Westminster Mall's Asian New Year's Festival in 1996. The same article also inspired a feature article subsequently published in the March, 1997 issue of the Reader's Digest.

While working to complete his college studies, Dat performs regularly for audiences throughout southern California. In November, 1996 he was presented on the Multi-Cultural Arts Series in San Juan Capistrano, where he was the first Vietnamese artist to be so recognized. He was one of the artists presented on the Guest Artist Series at Pacific Union College in November, 1997.

Dat was a California representative and a national finalist in the 1996-1997 Very Special Arts Program, sponsored by Panasonic. In April of 1997 he was the feature performer at the "Imagine This" Festival at Main Place in Santa Ana.

In June, 1997 Dat was the "headliner" for the "Informally Yetits" program at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, offering ten performances over two weeks to a variety of audiences ranging from young children to the Arts Center Founders. In July 1997, he performed in a spedal "Young Soloists Showcase" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. He has been selected for the "From the Center" outreach program that takes artists and their music to many southland schools.

Dat has performed with the Philharmonic Society Youth Orchestra at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and at Los Angeles' Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. He has completed a Bachelor's degree in Classical Guitar Performance at Califontia State University, Fullerton (May, 1999). He performs frequently with "Inner Vision," a guitar quartet that specializes in original music with a flamenco and Latin flavor.

Dat's goal is to continue building a career as a concert guitarist, composer and teacher. He has been very active in the Southern California Vietnamese community, raising substantial funds for the Vietnamese Refugee Fund in 1996. Dat was selected by the Orange County Register as one of fifteen people representing the varied aspects of Orange County culture at the close of the millennium.

Camp Report