Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
For the past three summers and three winters, Academy Camp has brought wide opportunities for playing and learning in an extreme fashion to children living in Fukushima, thanks to all your support. To express our appreciations, this report introduces some of the changes our participants found in themselves through our camps.
DEVELOPED POSITIVE ATTITUDES
"Now I want to give everything a try," says a junior-high school girl from Koriyama City, after participating in our camps in Taiwan, Tokyo and Inawashiro. She is not the only one who feels that they have developed positive attitudes through a variety of activities in our camps. Another girl from Koriyama, an elementary school student, says "I don't hesitate to challenge anything anymore." Indeed, in the camp to "create cool Fukushima" held in Tokyo, although she was the youngest participant, she did not hesitate to express her wonderful ideas against university students or adults.
BECAME BETTER COMMUNICATORS
"I'm getting better at finding the good in others," says another junior-high school girl from Koriyama, who has learned to view her friends and family from different angles. Communication and collaboration with others are just fun part of our activities, through which we all develop communication and team-building skills. A junior-high school girl from Iwaki City may have thought that she had a difficulty working with others, but now says "I'm getting better at communicating with people." A boy from Koriyama, a junior-high school student, tells us that he has come to appreciate all the things he had taken for granted in the past. He says "I've grown up to thank everything," because every encounter in the camps has been unique and precious.
GETTING READY TO CHANGE THE WORLD
We have been doing all these because we would like to bring the power to change the world to children who must inherit this world where difficulties have been left. A high school girl from Koriyama tells that she has changed her viewpoints for thinking. She now wants to learn how to determine and publish correct information not only in Japan but in the whole world. She says "My new goal is to teach the world about today's Fukushima."
We need your help so that she can reach her goal. We need your help so that all children like her can reach their goals.
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 EST / 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.
Academy Camp 2014 Winter - for mental and physical strength - was held from January 5 to 7 at National Bandai Youth Interchange House in Inawashiro, Fukushima prefecture, where the radiation level is much lower (below the level in Tokyo). 49 children, from first graders to a tenth grader (first year of high school), participated in the camp to have fun strengthening their mental and physical abilities and making new friends. This was our second camp on medicine, partially funded by Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and donations from Asahi One-Beer Club and donors at GlobalGiving.
The program started with learning an effective way for hand washing, by visualizing the effects of hand washing with black light, before taking the first lunch. Then we played snowball fight according to an international rule (Koide-type), learnt RICE first-aid treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) for soft tissue injuries, learnt about calories and nutritious balance, performed basic core training and learnt how to strengthen various muscles and to stretch them. All but the snowball fight were taught by university-student staff members of the camp specialized in medical care, dietetics and sports. The snowball fight was supervised by Shonandai Fuyu-shogun club team members.
On the final day, we gave the children and the university students an opportunity to get trained to change the world; each participant could choose one topic they experienced in this camp to learn more about it, and explore ways to communicate what they learnt with friends and family members when they return. This ended with some beautiful results. One example is an alternative to RICE first-aid treatment mnemonic. Because it is in English, no one in the camp could actually remember what it meant. But a group of children came up with 4 A's (Ansei, Aishingu, Appaku, Ageru) in Japanese with the exact same meaning as RICE, which is probably new, and could potentially be used throughout Japanese schools and households, changing a small but an important part of the world around us.
We do not know what they did with the mnemonic yet (hopefully they will promote it), but we receive e-mail messages from the parents telling that the children have already begun applying the new knowledge they obtained during the camp to their daily lives, performing gymnastics balances, stretching their muscles in new ways and so on.
IMPORTANT DONATION OPPORTUNITIES
The latter starts at 0:00am on March 11th in Japan, and is the final Japan Matching offered by GlobalGiving for the projects on relief or recovery efforts in the Tohoku region of Japan. That will be the best opportunity for you to make donations to any of our friend projects in Japan, not only Academy Camp, to support the future of Tohoku, as it will double the effects of your action.
On November 23 and 24, 2013, 10 children from Fukushima participated in our ideathon camp in Tokyo for designing smartphone applications to make their home towns in Fukushima better places to live in. Those children were high school, junior high school and elementary school students who have participated in our past camps, except one elementary school student who was new to Academy Camp.
On the first day, after bullet/express train ride from Fukushima to Tokyo, they started their discussion at the office of Mozilla Japan, a world-renowned open source software organization, and then visited Keio University's SFC (Shonan Fujisawa Campus) Open Research Forum to see research exhibition and to participate in the discussion session dedicated for them. They stayed in National Olympics Memorial Youth Center for the night. On the next day, they organized their ideas at co-working space CERO in Akihabara, with professional programmers and designers.
Through this camp, the children have come up with about 10 different proposals on smartphone applications that help making their home towns better places to live in: a virtual discussion space to bring together people's ideas on cool Fukushima, a map that accumulates quizzes on people's discoveries about their towns, local currency based on bringing up virtual characters, etc. We have been coordinating volunteer forces so that these applications will be realized, and the children will be involved in the implementation process.
One core idea that lies under those proposed software is that to make Fukushima cool, the children as the leaders of the next generations themselves need to be cool first. The concept was born on a discussion table at Keio SFC Open Research Forum, and was put forth by a junior high school girl at the end of the session. She said "Academy Camp is there so that we can make ourselves cooler. We should better continue to participate in the camps."
PLEASE HELP THEM CONTINUE TO JOIN OUR CAMPS!
Please support our activities so that the junior high school girl and many others like her can continue to participate in our camps to explore their potentials to change the world arount them.
Academy Camp is participating in GlobalGiving's 2013 Year-end Bonus Challenge. GlobalGiving is offering nine bonus awards to the top projects that raise the most money from their supporters throughout this month. To qualify for a bonus award, we must raise at least US $3,000 from 30 unique donors by the end of December 2013.
We would really appreciate your continuing support!
On November 2 and 3, 2013, we had a camp in Koriyama City, Fukushima, hosted by some of past participants of our camps and their families. A guest from Taiwan who had wanted to visit Fukushima (a YMCA volunteer who helped us in the Taiwan camp in August) and 14 staff members of Academy Camp, including 9 university students, went there to get welcomed by about 40 people including the children and their families, so that we could "spend wonderful two days" as we found written by the children on the blackboard when we entered the Japanese-style room in Koriyama Regional Job Training Center.
In this camp, our usual roles were reversed for two reasons: 1) we would like the juvenile participants of our camps to be the leaders of the next generation ("next leaders"), and wanted them to experience being on the operating side of a camp, and 2) we would like the parents of the children to participate in our activities. The children led us through the orientation session with self-introduction, ice-breaking and team-building activities, as our staff members would usually do in our camps. Then parents helped the children and us making udon noodle with tofu and vegetable chowder, a Japanese cuisine that differs in every region. The parents brought many kinds of local foods, too.
As a result, the banquet felt like a big family gathering, of which we have been very glad and very grateful.
At the same time, it was an occasion for us to witness part of difficult lives in Fukushima today, as we were told that vegetables and rice used in the cooking were sent from a kind farmer in Ishikawa prefecture to make sure that they were free of extra radioactivity from the ongoing nuclear accident.
On the second day, we conducted "Koriyama Digital Orienteering", an urban adventure using wireless devices, to explore Koriyama City, guided by the children. For many of them, Koriyama is their home town, but it turned out that they made many new discoveries about their old town through visitors' eyes. This was a practice for the children for their next challenge explained below.
At a closing session of the camp, a junior-high school girl expressed her feeling about the radiation monitoring posts installed by the government we saw at parks. By looking at the displayed values on the posts, she often feels safe to play in the parks when the values are relatively low (which are relatively high compared with the rest of Japan). It is part of the unordinary lives that have been made ordinary to the children.
NEXT CHALLENGE FOR THE NEXT LEADERS
This weekend, about 10 junior high and high school students who have participated in our camps before will be invited to a series of sessions in Tokyo to discuss how they can make their home towns in Fukushima more first-rate places to live in by developing smartphone applications. We hope that this "ideathon" will result in real developments involving the children.
Beside the participation fee, we need about 10,000 yen per person to invite. We would really appreciate your continuing support.
We have concluded our fiscal year 2013 at the end of October 2013. I am writing this report to thank you once again for all you have done to support children in Fukushima. We have made a short video to express our gratitude. Please follow the link below, and share with us the smiles of children that are large part of the rewards for our activities.
We are all in this together. Let those children come back to our camps, and let us keep going.
HELP US KEEP GOING!
Our activities this month (November 2013) will focus on junior high and high school students in Fukushima as the next-generation leaders. We have already made a trip to Koriyama City, the biggest town in Fukushima, to "be hosted by" the past participants of our camps and their families (there will be a report on this event shortly). Later this month, the students will be invited to a series of sessions in Tokyo to discuss how they can make their home towns in Fukushima more first-rate places to live in by developing smartphone applications. We would really appreciate your continuing support.
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