Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
On the weekend of June 28-29, 2014, Academy Camp held our first dragon boat camp at Lake Inawashiro, with 24 elementary school, junior high and high school students in Fukushima.
On the first day, the weather was bad with strong wind and rain. We cancelled our training at Lake Inawashiro that day, and instead, we did many indoor activities such as practicing paddling, dodgebee (dodgeball with soft flying disc), core training, stretching and skipping ropes. Also, we did a little scientific thinking on how boats can be made to move fast using a simple knowledge of fluid mechanics while we wait on a bus.
On the second day, we caught a short period of a fine interval between rains in the morning, and put our two dragon boats on Lake Inawashiro to practice actual paddling. We experienced that the boats can move fast if everyone paddles at the same pace together. We stopped practicing as the rain started again, and we moved to Experiences and Interchange House of Inawashiro Town in the afternoon. There, we had a lecture by a member of Eyes, JAPAN, a venture company based in Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, and a student from University of Aizu, on shooting pitcures using drones. Catching a fine interval again, we had some moving pictures of ourselves taken from above, while we formed human letters "AC" for Academy Camp.
At the closing session, each group of us chose a word that represents the two-day experience and shouted it out: "cooperation!", "vigor!" and "(number) one!". Surely we paddled as one, and it was a team-building experience.
Just when we were finishing our schedule on land, there was a rollover accident of canoes at Lake Inawashiro. Academy Camp takes it very seriously as we want to continue our activities at the lake. On July 6, we reconfirmed the safety of our operation with a help from university students of Terakoya Network from Aizu Wakamatsu, in order to protect the safety and health of children.
BONUS DAY WITH 50% MATCHING!
GlobalGiving's partner reward bonus day, that matches donations to Academy Camp at 50%, starts at 9:00am EDT on July 16, and continues for 15 hours or until the fund runs out. Please consider taking this opportunity to further support children in Fukushima and Academy Camp.
Academy Camp participated in Yokohama Dragon Boat Race using the weekend of July 7th and 8th. Those who participated in the race on the 8th were seven elementary to high school students from Fukushima riding dragon boats for the first time and thirteen adults who have been practicing dragon boats in Tokyo. There were also a mother who came from Fukushima to cheer for the team, some past university student leaders who came by, and Hashimoto-san from Tokyo Dragon Boat team who has always helped us. It was enjoyable with the crowd of people.
On the 7th, the day before the race, children from Fukushima came just to meet the heavy rain continued from the previous day in Tokyo. Their planned first training on the boat on a river was cancelled, and instead we talked about what dragon boats are and practiced paddling in a community center nearby. Paddling a dragon boat is mirror-wise opposite on the right and left sides of the boat. So we separated the team into two, and the right and left parts looked each other's forms and advised how they should match with the tempo. We discovered that singing "Rock My Soul", one of our camp songs, makes it easier for us to move with the tempo. We even tried with different accents on the rhythm. In the end of the day, we learned how to wear life-jackets, took a lecture on safety by our nursing staff, and were ready for the race next day.
On the 8th, the day of the race, we moved to Yokohama in the early morning, and practiced paddling on the boat in the bay for the first time. It was just some tens of minutes, but children could learn how it really feels to paddle in the water, and got motivated in the practice on land afterwards.
Then the race. In Yokohama Dragon Boat Race, each team tries twice, and they compete with the better time with others in order to move to the final round. Academy Camp recorded 1'56''17 and 1'55"05 in the about 250m course, even though it was our first participation in the race and our first challenge as a team. (We could not move to the final round, though.)
The children, after the race, said that they "want to win the next time." It looks as if the race this time set fire to their heart. We adults need to be eager to win as well, through practicing in Tokyo and Lake Inawashiro hereafter.
We wore a uniform this time: a dragon boat T-shirt. The design of the T-shirt features Fukushima Prefecture and a dragon boat. There were people in Yokohama who looked at our T-shirt, felt empathy and cheered for our team. We thank you for always supporting us, and in addition to that, we felt strong support for our ongoing activities.
Through the summer, we will hold the dragon boat trial camp and our regular summer camps, making us busy for the season. We will always remember the words "Power to Change the World, to Children." We are all in this together, and will do our best to make our activities successful ones.
VOTE FOR US AT GLOBALGIVING!
Academy Camp has been selected for participation in "Pillars of Resiliency" campaign at GlobalGiving. If we get many votes in the period between June 26th, 8 AM EDT and July 2nd, 5 PM EDT, we may be able to receive $500 from GlobalGiving. So please vote for us at the following URL:
We would really appreciate your appreciation of our activities.
(On May 24-25, 2014, We held a camp at Lake Inawashiro, Fukushima, where the radiation level is normal, to paddle E-boats instructed by specialists and to learn Basic Life Support from medical and nursing students. This report is about the two-day camp from a viewpoint of a student volunteer.)
It was my first time to participate in Academy Camp, and I feel that I myself learned a lot from it.
The program let us learn how to use an AED and do chest compression through role playing with set situations, and I am certain that everyone will be able to put what we have learned into practice whenever necessary. Also, since we were a group of people of different ages doing the same things together, I feel that I was in touch with different ways of thinking and different views, providing me with new discoveries and findings. I really feel that I learned a lot through these two days.
I have also empathized deeply with people not so far from me having been active in providing younger generations with learning experiences. I would like to work with them from now on, although I am afraid that my contributions may be small.
Well, I think I have said enough about learning. More than anything, I have enjoyed a lot for the whole two days! Especially the E-boats were fun. I was like addicted to paddling. It was quite a refreshment for myself, with vigorous children and powerful adults around me.
I am really grateful for the wonderful experiences! I hope that more people will know about this camp, and share the enjoyment with a large number of people together.
(On April 19, 2014, we moved some of our stuff to a newly-rent apartment in Koriyama City, Fukushima, which we now call "Koriyama House". This report is about the move and the cherry-blossom party the following day from a viewpoint of a student volunteer.)
We departed Tokyo in a car with a lot of stuffs, heading for Koriyama. In a service area we stopped at, it felt chilly, and the beautiful cherry blossoms we could see through the windows of the car made me feel we were really approaching Koriyama.
After we arrived at Koriyama House, on the 8th floor, everyone was excited about the view of the Koriyama City and Shinkansen trains. The first group of people who arrived there cleaned up the apartment, and then the second group came, and we together brought the stuff in, opened up cardboard boxes, and built our Koriyama House little by little. We went shopping, and talked over on which should be put where. This feeling of "moving together" was new, and very enjoyable.
A hot spring after work till the night, and the house-warming party afterward, were my happy moments. We talked until very late, and I was impressed by the passionate thoughts everyone had in their heart.
We made rice balls in Koriyama House, and went to Kaiseizan Partk for a picnic. Children and their mothers also joined, and we had a wonderful time together with the sweets and dumplings they brought. It was a precious opportunity to have a talk with parents of our participating children. They welcomed the fact that now we have an office in Koriyama. We also had some nonsensical small talks, and all was in fact meaningful.
It was an opportunity that we could feel that Academy Camp is being accepted by people in Fukushima, and I could feel how wonderful Academy Camp is myself. Now that we have an office in Koriyama, we will have more opportunities to visit there. I would like to thank people who would welcome us anytime, and I hope Academy Camp can also evolve, answering the warmness of such people there.
We have just held the third instance of a camp series named "Academy Camp on Medicine 2013", in which junior-high and high school students from Fukushima, together with university students from Tokyo metropolitan area, experience different aspects of medical studies. The one-night camp was held from February 22 to 23, 2014 in Ibaraki, partially funded by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) as part of promotion of science and technology communication. We stayed at Seizan Training Center.
During the two-day period, we had a variety of activities focusing on how to save our lives after big earthquakes. In the first session, we studied the mechanism of earthquakes, and discussed the risks in the first 72 hours of the disasters. In the second session, medical and paramedical students helped participants taking the vital signs of one another, and the participants made promises to protect their own bodies after next disasters. In the final session of the first day, the participants composed the choreography of the keywords they learned that day, so that the knowledge would firmly sit in their minds.
On the second day, the participants made graphs of their shifts of psychological states since the Great East Japan Earthquake to learn how to deal with potential psychological problems after next disasters. They understood that people's feelings differ, and so they should respect the feelings of others. Then some of the participants with a variety of backgrounds took roles as lecturers to talk and discuss about their special interests in small groups. In the end, all participants made three promises each on saving lives, and declared those promises to be witnessed by others.
This camp was an opportunity for all participants, including children from Fukushima, medical and paramedical students and people who have supported disaster-recovery, to look back the Great East Japan Earthquake and to be prepared in their daily lives for the next disasters. In addition, communicating with people of different ages and backgrounds seems to have helped the children to set the new goals in their daily lives and for the future.
To me, this was also an opportunity to look back my personal history since March 11, 2011, and to ponder over my specialty as a medical student and my own future. I feel now that my mission is to become like a bridge between ordinary citizens and medicine. I would like to connect what I have gained from this camp to the next occasions.
GlobalGiving UK (globalgiving.co.uk) is offering a bonus week through March 3 - 10, 2014, with 50% matching and bonuses for top two projects that raise most funds and for the top project with most individual donors. If you live in UK, please consider donating from our UK project page during the period.
GlobalGiving (globalgiving.org) is offering a Japan Matching on March 10 (from 11:00am EDT / 0:00 on March 11 JST) with 100% matching until $100,000 matching funds run out. This will be a special occasion, in which you can double the impact of your support! We would really appreciate your considerations.
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