Who are the teachers at Syrendell Summer Camp 2017? They are people who are kids at heart, never outgrowing their spirit of imagination and wonder.
Meet Rick Tan, our woodworking instructor and camp co-director.
1) Where were you born and where did you live as a kid?
I was born in the Philippines. We (mom, dad, and two younger brothers) emigrated to the United States when I was five, landing in Chicago, Illinois. After three years of chilly winters, we headed to sunny California, where I lived in Sacramento for most of my childhood years, and our family grew by two more brothers!
2) What did you like to do as a kid?
I enjoyed playing outside! In the provinces of the Philippines, I remember being outdoors for most of the day, playing with my brothers under the fruit trees, chasing chickens, digging in the dirt, hunting for spiders, chewing on sugar cane.
3) Who were one of your heroes growing up and why?
Aside from my parents, I would say Lolo Victor (my maternal grandfather). He sparked my love for art when he taught me how to draw a bird when I was only 4 years old. I remember how encouraging he was when I proudly showed him my drawing. Whether it really looked like a bird or not, I just knew I was forever hooked on the creative process.
4) What/who motivated you to become a teacher?
There was no "Aha!" moment. In fact, teaching was not my original path. I had studied to practice medicine, but my heart fell away from it after graduating med school to raise a family. Jennifer was at the time (twenty years ago) working her way up as a school administrator, and I became a substitute teacher in the school district. I discovered that being in service to humanity and being a healer could also be accomplished in the classroom.
5) What inspires you to be creative?
I am inspired by the thrilling notion of bringing an imagined idea or concept into the sense world. It's the Renaissance spirit (Leonardo da Vinci, another hero). Whether it is a piece of furniture, a play, a painting, or a musical composition, the process of making it tangible to see, hear, feel, and touch is exhilarating. It most often starts with, "How can I do it?"
6) Do you have a pet? What is its name?
We have a tuxedo cat named George. He was born the day before my family moved from Fair Oaks, CA, to Davis, from a stray momma cat who adopted us a month or two before that. We also have a bunny named Bun-Bun. The two like to forage in the backyard.
7) What is one of your favorite foods?
There are several traditional Filipino dishes that I love, love, loved as a kid, and still do - comfort foods that my taste buds will always crave - adobo, kare-kare, dinuguan, lumpia! Or fried calamari, when it's on the menu. Sashimi, on special occasions. ONLY ONE?!
8) If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
Possessing a chi-bending skill like the Force.
9) Why do you want to teach at Syrendell Summer Camp?
My wife Jennifer and I wanted to create something special for families who share the same vision for their children of a wholesome, joyful, creative, inspiring hands-on program. It is a way for us to give to our community a unique experience, a top-notch camp experience, with super-talented and super-dedicated people like Trisha and Brian and Karen.