Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
We held a one-night camp in Aizu, a western area of Fukushima prefecture, from March 28 to 29, 2015 with about 50 children from across Fukushima. This time, we let children experience local traditional craftsmanship of Aizu, such as painting self-righting dharma dolls or red cow toys, and also experience "failures" and "incremental approach towards success" through out-of-season watermelon splitting.
(A watermelon splitting is a game played in summer in which a blindfolded player tries to hit a watermelon with a stick by listening to verbal guidances from friends. This time we did not use a real watermelon.)
Let us quote comments from two student volunteers who participated in the camp:
"I feel that it was more joyful and fulfilling camp than its duration of one-night implied. Our group members looked nervous at the first time we met, but gradually made friends with one another, and looked back the whole camp closely together in the end. Everyone made a wonderful work of art in the traditional craftsmanship experience. It has been a long time since I participated in the camp last time, which made me half anticipating and half anxious, but I am glad that I came here again, looking at the members of my group getting along and having fun. Though, members always betray our anticipations, both in good and bad ways ;) ... which must have been a good experience for the members themselves, too."
"I laughed a lot hearing talks among the members of my group, and felt peace of mind looking at higher graders taking care of small children. One-night is too short. I regret a little having not been able to make friends with members in other groups. Looking back the camp, I think the camp is also a "place that allows failures" for myself, not just for the members. It was an opportunity I could utilize more, thinking, failing and trying more actively. I shouldn't forget this feeling and will try to be better the next time. Thank you for many follow-ups and advices. When there is another opportunity, let me participate again!"
Here is a comment from a mother who sent her two children to the camp:
"Both of them are motivated for joining the next camp too :) . I always feel that there are different efforts and discoveries they get in touch with every time I hear reports from them after Academy Camp."
We have been hearing from many parents that their children want to join our camps again.
Japan Matching Continues at GlobalGiving UK
Japan Matching, where all eligible donations to Tohoku projects, including Academy Camp, are matched 100%, is still ongoing at GlobalGiving UK. Your support will double its impact, and greatly enhance what we can do for children in Fukushima this year. So please spread the word about this great giving opportunity.
Academy Camp at GlobalGiving UK:
The sign above "donate" button says "Japan Matching" while the funds still remain.
Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
First of all, thank you always for your support.
Since the beginning of our first camp in 2011, our hearts are with children in Fukushima. It means that our hearts are with young and brave minds that always await physical and intellectual adventures, just as children in any other countries or regions would do. Then, what's so special about them? Everything. They are our children. Your children. Whatever social difficulties they may have to face, we have built them in our society, and we are responsible. We are responsible to provide an environment where those minds can be set free to enjoy the adventures they deserve. Let them explore the world, and give them power to change it as they want, because it will be their generation's world after all.
That is why we continue Academy Camp. Later this month, we will start our 5th year of activities with a short, one-night camp in Aizu, the western region of Fukushima prefecture, where children will experience and explore the regional craftsmanship, and discuss ways to promote the vigor and beauty of Fukushima to reach the rest of the world. It will be a small practice and an instance of what they can do to change the world around them, by changing people's perceptions.
We will be continuing this school of fun with children in Fukushima, where they can try anything, fail as they do so, learn, and keep going forward.
Japan Matching 2015 to double the impact of your support!
GlobalGiving (this time both their US and UK-based services) provides a matching opportunity that commemorates the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Start times by location :
Donations will be matched 100% until funds run out (so please be quick in order to double the impact of your contributions).
Please join this wonderful giving opportunity not only for Academy Camp but for all Tohoku-related projects registered at GlobalGiving in US and/or UK sites. We are all in this together. Our future depends on your support.
We have just held "Academy Camp 2014 in Iwaki", in which elementary and junior-high school students from Fukushima participated, together with university students from Tokyo metropolitan area. The two-night camp was held from December 25 to 27, 2014 in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. We stayed at the Iwaki Seaside Nature Center.
During the three-day period, we had a variety of activities focusing on the culture of Iwaki area.
In the first session, we experienced the hula. The hula is known as part of culture in Iwaki, out of which a famous film was made. But a few children have experienced it. After we learnt how to dance the hula, we discussed how to attract the audience with our hula in the second session. In the morning the next day, we held a contest of the hula and asked for support messages on Facebook with team videos. (The video of the team who won the competition is here.)
On the second day, the participants studied the relationship between physical beauty and the nutrition. After that, they learnt the local dishes in Fukushima and chose the menu of the lunch for the following day that they would make. They bought the foodstuff for the menu by themselves. During the shopping, they interviewed people at the fish market and agricultural cooperatives to find out how to distinguish delicious foodstuffs from others and how to cook them, as well as food culture in Iwaki.
On the last day, they made lunch themselves. After that, they made presentations about the selling points of their dishes and why they made them.
This camp was an opportunity for all participants to obtain new points of view, including how they are seen as they dance and how to use the knowledge of nutrition in the daily life, which they would almost never come across in their daily school lives. I hope this opportunity will change their daily “study attitude” towards everything.
We started Fukushima Dragon Boat Academy (FDBA) since July at Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima, and the first season of FDBA was just over.
As conclusion of 2014 season, we participated in Saitama Dragon Cup in November 2nd. We won our first match as “Bandaisan Dragon “and “Inawashiro Dragon”. Both names are from our hometown, Inawashiro. Both boats are paddled by adult from Tokyo and children from Fukushima. We all were nervous, but both did really good job and finally “Bandaisan Dragon “ won to Semi-final.
After we finished our match, it was time to study Dragon Boat. There were strong boat team from all over Japan. The most amazing moment was category of 2000m. Our cheer was getting big, while match was coming to the end. At the end of the day, many people welcomed us to Dragon Boat. When I saw children were talking with people from other team with team card. We can not help to held with big hope.
2 weeks later, We did the last practice at Lake Inawashiro in this season. Winter in Fukushima was already begun, but we could spend really good time with many families and friends of children.We ended our 2014 season with bow.
Our journey to show Cheerful and Beautiful Fukushima is to be continued. We would like to ask for your help.
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!
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