Please find a Japanese version of this report here.
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:
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