Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
Our busy summer was over, but activities go on at Academy Camp for the communities of Fukushima.
We held a workshop on October 4 in Yokohama at Hiyoshi Campus, Keio University, for families with children who have taken refuge from Fukushima after the nuclear accident. The workshop was held in collaboration with Mamoritai Kodomo Mirai (wanting to save children and future) Project. We learned together the mechanism of earthquakes and how to reduce the risk of severe injuries from them, and made a 100 millionth model of the Earth each to understand the scale of the planet and its surroundings. We were also consulted by parents for their children's proceeding to the next stage of education as they are settling in Kanagawa prefecture where Yokohama is. We may want to continue building supportive and friendly relationships with those families from Fukushima now living in Tokyo metropolitan area.
On every weekend until the end of October, we are exercising paddling dragon boats at Lake Inawashiro, Fukushima prefecture, with our camp-member children and their parents. The exercises come with frequent barbecue opportunities with families that we also enjoy very much. The weekly exercise is part of what we now call "Fukushima Dragon Boat Academy", the first registered dragon boat team in Fukushima founded by Academy Camp, whose main members are children in Fukushima. We see paddling boats as opportunities for both physical and mental exercises, and we are building a scientific methodology together for improving our skills for this relatively new sport.
We will participate in dragon boat races to show the strength of children in Fukushima, beginning with Japan Dragon Canoe Championship to be held in Saitama prefecture in November. We would like to raise funds for the purpose, and we would like to ask for your help.
BONUS DAY WITH 30% MATCHING
GlobalGiving is offering a chance on October 15 in which all your donations will be matched 30%, up to $1,000 per donor per project. Matching begins at 9:00 am EDT and lasts until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT.
On this day, your support will make a bigger impact. We would really appreciate if you could spread the word about this opportunity!
In August, we held three camps for children living in Fukushima. The last one was held from August 17 to 21, 2014, in Tokyo, largely funded by GlobalGiving donors and Fukushima Kodomo Ryoku Project. Elementary and junior-high school students from Fukushima participated in the camp. We also had some high school students from Fukushima as supporting staff members.
The following is a report by a high school student in Fukushima who had participated in our past camps. She participated in this camp as a public relations staff.
"The term 2 was educational five days. A large number of children participated in the camp for the first time, and it reminded me of my own experience of being nervous, worried and excited at the same time upon participating in Academy Camp for the first time. We studied joyfully with Game De Education (Note: a project by Future University Hakodate) where studying and gaming were mixed, sweated by dancing with W+I&S (Note: a students' circle at Keio University), made many bubbles with special liquid by Mr. Yazaki, and discussed with young government officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) about our closest society: schools. In "Us and the Earth" by Prof. Shinichi Takemura, we touched "Tangible Earth" to experience the environment of the Earth and big and small aspects of the world, which made me realize how small I am.
Many of us must agree that we enjoyed the workshop by 6-dim+, an improvisation group, the most. Through games in the workshop, we learned how and why we trust others. The live performance by 6-dim+ made even the one who were quiet and did not smile much open her mouth wide laughing. I thought how wonderful it was to laugh.
Both the terms 1 and 2 provided us with successive discoveries and surprises. Thank you very much indeed for letting me experience the wonderful things, brilliant smiles of children from my Fukushima, and kindness and warmness of university student leaders."
In August, we held three camps for children living in Fukushima. The second one was held from August 10 to 14, 2014, in Tokyo, largely funded by GlobalGiving donors and Fukushima Kodomo Ryoku Project. Elementary and junior-high school students from Fukushima, plus students from Vietnam participated in the camp.
"Academy Camp 2014 Summer Term 1 for me was stimulating five days, not only with children from Fukushima but also with junior-high school students from Vietnam doing activities together. Vietnam and Japan are different in many ways. We use different languages, and more over, we are culturally different. That may have made both of us nervous at first, and we did not talk with each other much. But on the second day, as we played "sport tag" together, we made plans together, and we got closer in each group. We enjoyed a lot dancing in a Vietnamese way at the workshop hosted by the Vietnamese children. This direct encounter with the Vietnamese culture made such an impact on the Fukushima children's minds that many of them said "I want to go to Vietnam!!"
Other activites included learning about weather forecasting from Ms. Yoriko Kato and actually preparing a "seasonal topic" by ourselves, learning about interviewing and wonders of words from Mr. Jun Hori, and going out where we have wanted to visit in Tokyo to actually interview people on their ideas of cool adults as part of "digital orienteering". All were educational to me, but the one impressed me most was an a cappella workshop by "amoroso", a students' circle at Musashi University. We placed our arms around one another's shoulders and made our own choreography to sing "It's a small world" together. It was a moment in which all our minds became one, regardless of languages or cultures."
Your support will make a bigger impact on the day. We would really appreciate if you could spread the word about this opportunity!
In August, we held three camps for children living in Fukushima. The first one was held from August 3 to 9, in Shizuoka, in conjunction with two other organizations and supportive individuals. This "Active English Class 2014" was a 7-day, intensive English course on the foot of Mt.Fuji, for students (4th-6th graders) from Tominari elementary school, Date City, Fukushima Prefecture.
In this camp, we encouraged the children to speak to the world and to make a difference, through learning English from their role models: university students who can use both Japanese and English.
The following is an essay by one of the participants. She wrote the essay before departing from the camp site (the original essay is in Japanese).
Having Participated in Active English Class 2014
"When I first came here, I was too shy to answer questions in English even when I could understand them. But as I played, talked and had many experiences with the leaders (university students), we developed a good friendship, and we made many memories together.
Especially the BBQ and the camp fire. At the BBQ meal, we had fun having delicious meat, and we were very loud at the camp fire. Many joyful things. Of course, my English got better. I am willing to listen to English CDs at home so that I can be fluent in English.
Thank you for the joyful lectures and taking care of us back in our rooms for 6 nights and 7 days. I will cherish this good memory, leaving it in my mind forever, never forgetting what I have experienced.
I have enjoyed these 6 nights and 7 days. Thank you very much indeed."
We would like to thank her and all other children participated in this camp for the precious feedback.
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.
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