Ben Fernald, a 17 year-old Camden Hills Regional High School junior, intends to travel through parts of China this summer, but first he has to raise funds for his airfare and other expenses.

Fernald’s plans include traveling to Western China with the organization Where There Be Dragons, which introduces high school and college students to the developing world through overseas experiential education including community service, home-stays, language learning, and studies of religion and philosophy.

“I have always been interested in China, its people and its culture,” said Fernald. “I hope to be seen as a good will ambassador, representing my hometown and community here in Maine. China and its people are important to our country’s future, and helping and lending support to many of China’s ethnic minority groups will show they are cared about and are important to us.”

He has always wanted to travel to China, a journey of more than 12,000 miles. He is working now at the Camden Harbour Inn and Natalie’s Restaurant in Camden to raise the money. In the spirit of the journey, Natalie’s will offer a specially-created “Asian Week” menu June 15-17. The a la carte Asian Week menu will replace Natalie’s standard a la carte menu for the three-day period.

“When Ben told us about his wish to make this trip to China we jumped in to help raise some money,” said Raymond Brunyanszki co-owner Camden Harbour Inn. “Not only because of our passion for Asia, its culture and the wonderful people, but also because we admire Ben’s wish to help communities in Western China.”

The menu is drawn from culinary traditions across all parts of Asia, from sushi of Japan in the east to the flavors of Indian and even Persian cuisine in the southwest and west. A portion of the proceeds as well as any tips made by Fernald will help fund the trip. The menu features Asian- and locally-inspired appetizers, fish and meat dishes, and desserts, such as red curry lobster, Korean grilled short ribs, and lychee candy.

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