The Spirit of Cambodia Cultural Alliance was started in 2008 by co-founders Sophiny Lee and Sreylak Bin-Hemingway. It was comprised of what was once two separate groups: The Spirit of Cambodia Dragon Boat Team and The Cambodian Dance Troupe. The Spirit of Cambodia Dragon Boat team has been a household name with the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival since we took Gold in our very first regatta in 2004. Sreylak formed and lead The Cambodian Dance Troupe starting in 1997 and is still active as an adviser for the current generation of dancers today. With many of the same participating members of the two groups, a natural coalition was created and thus branded us The Spirit of Cambodia Cultural Alliance (SOCCA).
It was our mission to ensure that the next generation of the Cambodian community in Colorado would be able to learn from and to continue the traditions of the generations before us. The big question was, "Who was going to take over Khmer New Year temple and party celebrations in years to come?" The answer was, "Us." As the news spread of our endeavors and with immediate responses from our family, friends, and community, the start of up of SOCCA was officially formed. Our first board comprised of Dina Kor (former President), Monica Em-McLoughlin (former President, former Dragon Boat Capt.),Sreylak Bin-Hemingway (former VP, former Dragon Boat Capt.), and Anthony Te (former treasurer). Without the leadership and positive impact from our first board, we would not have the success we have today.
Yet our biggest accomplishment, thus far, has been gaining the acknowledgement and respect from our elders and members of our community. We held our first ever fundraiser on September 13, 2008. It would not have been a success without the support from The Colorado Cambodian Community and Watt Chass. We are unceasing in our efforts to raise funds and promote cultural awareness. We practice diligently in both traditional dances and rowing dragon boats, so that we may continue to express the love of our culture on the stage and the pride of our homeland on the water.
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