Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
In Academy Camp, we always meet different kinds of people with whom we do not usually spend time together in our daily lives, from elementary school students to high school students and even adults. I feel necessity of eating together because of this diversity.
Recently, I have been hearing these phrases from children in Fukushima: "I stuff my face with food at lunch time at school because I have no time," "I eat alone at home," etc. It looks as if they are busy and lack time in which they can eat in a relaxed environment. In "Curry Project", we would like to provide time in which everyone gather for eating, and share fun space and feelings.
I have conducted programs in Academy Camp in which we cook and eat. One thing those programs have had in common is that children and adults join and eat together. By doing so, I hope that everyone realizes again the fun and good tastes of dining. Especially, I remember the camp in Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture at the end of 2014, where each group of children cooked the local cuisine of their choice, and enjoyed the food they made with confidence.
It is fun to eat among the circle of friends to begin with, but in addition, I hope that people will get interested and have questions in "eating" that has become too normal for them, through encountering ingredients they have not been aware of and talking about dining. In the Curry Project the other day, we ate while trying to guess the ingredients in the curry. That is an example of what I am aiming at: getting people interested in the foods they are eating, not just eating.
In later Academy Camp activities, we will consider focusing on foodstuff from Fukushima, and I hope that we can learn together everything about the local eating culture.
PARTNER REWARDS BONUS DAY : 50% Matching on July 15
GlobalGiving is offering a bonus day on July 15, 2015, starting from 9:00:01 EDT until the funds run out or 23:59:59 the same day. USD 115,000 (US) and GBP 8,500 (UK) matching funds are available, and each donation will be matched 50% for Academy Camp. Please consider giving your support for children in Fukushima and Academy Camp including the Fukushima Dragon Boat Academy on this great opportunity in which you can boost the impact of your contributions!
I am a university student studying nutritional science. From this April, we have started a food education project as part of Fukushima Dragon Boat Academy, named "Improvement of Eating Habit from Dragon Boat Project". We have been continuing our activities in the hope that children in Fukushima will learn the meaning, importance and fun of "eating" through this sport called dragon boat. We talk about working of nutrients, effects of eating and good eating behaviors from the viewpoint of a sport, hoping that the children utilize the knowledge in other parts of their lives as well.
Through the food education, as a student of nutritional science, I have been feeling difficulty of communicating what I have learned in the university. It is not easy to communicate about complex mechanisms in such a way that they can be easily understood and not to be misunderstood at the same time. We always try to plan our education to be fun, so that children can be interested.
Even adults often do not understand what exactly they are eating. I think having a good knowledge on food and eating behaviors will lead to understanding importance and fun of eating. The eating habits in their childhood influence their lives when they become adults. It would be difficult for children to review their life styles considering their future effects, but we hope that food education through sports will improve their eating habits. I hope that eating habits of the children will become better through this project.
Fukushima Dragon Boat Academy, the first children's dragon boat team in Fukushima, recently participated in two races in Tokyo and Yokohama on May 17 and June 7, respectively.
In Tokyo Dragon Boat Race 2015 held in Odaiba Seaside Park, we were the 5th out of 9 boats competed in the same class of mixed male-female short boats. In addition to children from Fukushima, a mother from Fukushima participated in the race in our boat.
In Yokohama Dragon Boat Race 2015 held in Yamashita Park, we couldn't make it to the final, but our regular boat with 18 paddlers from both Fukushima and Kanto recorded 1'40"58 in the first try in 260-meter race, and finished in 1'34"58 in the next try. It was quite an improvement.
Although our team cannot make it to the top quite yet, we keep getting better, and we have been attracting more team members. We are practicing paddling every Sunday at beautiful Lake Inawashiro.
THANK YOU FOR JAPAN MATCHING
Academy Camp participated in this year's "Japan Matching" campaign to commemorate the Great East Japan Earthquale and Tsunami at GlobalGiving US and UK. Thanks to all your contributions and charity at the concert in London on May 5 (children's day in Japan) by violinist Ms. Lisa Ueda and Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, we came number one on GlobalGiving UK's Japan Matching leaderboard, raising £7,493. For our outstanding success, GlobalGiving UK has awarded us an extra bonus prize of £500.
Thank you GlobalGiving, and thank you all for this great achievement!
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.
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