Media Coverage
Creating culture: BlueStar invests in kids
Source: China Daily Date: 2010-07-27

Famed Qiaobo ski resort plays host to 85 children and staff members from BlueStar's Beijing summer camp. Provided to China Daily

 

 

Editor's note: While exploring the overseas market, ChemChina, the biggest chemical producer in the country, has dedicated itself to constructing a multinational company that promotes cultural integration. BlueStar, one of ChemChina's subsidiaries, is pleased to host its 21st summer camp, welcoming some 860 children from its own 16 subsidiaries, China Daily reporters Wang Danna and Amy Mattson report:
It isn't often that a 13-year old volunteers to do the laundry. But for young Meng Qingyang, the chore means more than stuffing clothes into a washer. It means he's taking strides towards self-discipline and independent living. And he's learned it all at camp.
Qingyang is currently attending BlueStar summer camp, sponsored by China National BlueStar (Group) Co Ltd, a subsidiary of ChemChina. The annual 20-day event offers kids ages 8 to 15 an opportunity to "wander outside traditional realms of knowledge," said Robert Lu, the company's acting president.
Founded 21 years ago for children of BlueStar employees, the camp was originally intended to aid corporate staff with childcare. It has since become an important educational venture, giving teens and youngsters a chance to participate in the martial arts, visit historical and cultural sites, and learn pertinent corporate philosophies.
This year, campers will benefit from lessons by renowned skier Ye Qiaobo, learn how to make traditional Chinese food, and travel to Shanghai's World Expo.
"I'm really looking forward to (all the activities)," said 11-year old Pheobe Hogarth, representing Qenos, BlueStar's Australian subsidiary.
"And as is always the case, those activities are not without a purpose. "We want to help kids better understand their parents," said Lu. "Teaching them about China and about BlueStar is a good way to do that."
Qingyang's father, Meng Qi, agrees. He notes his son is always bursting with questions after camp, a fact that pleases him. "It means he wants to know more about the company," said Meng Qi.
"And there is a lot to learn. As a large-scale State-owned enterprise, BlueStar has more than 30 subsidiaries and several global acquisitions. However, Lu stresses that his organization is really just "one big family," making camp a "gigantic reunion" of relatives.
It's no understatement. Some 860 kids from BlueStar's 16 subsidiaries are currently enrolled in the program, which consists of 16 sub-camps across the nation. Camp locales include Beijing, Lanzhou, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuxi, Guangxi and Guangzhou.
Beijing boasts 85 attendees, with 38 hailing from outside China. It's a far cry from the first 11 campers who attended in the summer of 1989, and represents just how popular the venture has become. Though it's only the camp's second-year hosting international students, BlueStar expects it will be a promising one.
Thirteen-year old Ben Wang is practicing English with his French roommate, while 12-year old Daniel Rizk of Australia is brushing up on his Chinese. "I was excited to make friends with people from other countries," said Rizk of coming to camp.
Such language-learning collaborations please Li Bingmei, a mother and ChemChina employee. "Cooperation is a key aspect of life the camp aims to teach children," she said.
Camp curriculum is designed to promote personal growth, social responsibility, corporate awareness, and understand international culture. Each year, leading educators and top university students are recruited to instruct attendees.
Bingmei added that BlueStar camps also provide what China's traditional single-child families cannot - a sense of teamwork. She cited her own daughter as proof, a four-time veteran of Lu's reunions and a Spanish interpreter for the Beijing sub-camp. "She came home and said, 'mom, I'd like to help you with the housework.'"
Of course, it isn't always about the chores. "Kids leave our camp with lasting memories," said Lu.

By Wang Danna and Amy Mattson  (China Daily 07/27/2010 page15)

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