My main purpose of being here In Japan consists of being an American Counselor and teaching the English language to Japanese children. So far during my two weeks here my Team 2A has had one 3-day traditional camp and two 1-day American Fiesta Camps– five days total. Additionally, on our days off we have assisted with Team 1’s camps during meals and big group activities. We have had five total days of prep work, so we have been making signs, posters, and supplies, as well as learning songs, resting, and doing a little sight-seeing. It’s been fun but I am SO ready to start our next camp (on Sunday!!) We work 5 camps (15 days) straight – but with a home stay in between there at the very end of July, so that will be something to look forward to.
My team has had quite a different and unique introduction to Guy Healy Japan. The day we arrived at Global Arena, we were expecting a 3-day orientation and time adjustment. However, we were greeted with the cheers and enthusiasm of Team 1, along with the news that our first camp was indeed in 40 minutes. So, after a brief tour and a chance to drop our stuff off, we were given our 2 camp shirts and got right to work. The camp was an American Fiesta, an afternoon for school children to have a taste of English fun.
Our staff consists of American Counselors (AC’s), American Director (AD), Japanese Counselors (JC’s) and Japanese Director (JD). The American Counselors are in charge of the campers, and the Japanese Counselors help translate. We listen to our American Director, who listens to our Japanese Counselor. Our youngest AC is 17-years-old, while our oldest are all 29-years-old (there are 3 of them). We all get along quite well. Our AD’s are 25 and 26 years old, and our JC’s are between 18-23 years old; our JD is 22 years old. It’s weird but also cool to work as a team because we are all around the same age but yet are all responsible and ready to do our jobs. It’s cool to just have us, and it makes the environment a lot better. It’s nice to feel trusted.
Basically, when the kids arrive at camp, they check in at “Immigration” where they make name tags, get their pre-made “Passports” stamped, and exchange their “money.”Next, the AC’s (American Counselors) take over, and lead games and songs. Now, for all of my friends that made fun of Jacqui and me for attending Girl Scout Camp all of these years, I cannot even express to you how helpful knowing “Tarzan,” “Fred the Moose,” “Princess Pat,” “Squeegee Hunt,” “Ride that Pony,” and “Gigalo” have been, as well as the “Hand Tap Game,” “Follow the Leader,” “Frogger”, and “Crocodile Morae”, because that is exactly what we have to do (if only I had brought my GS binder full of songs !!) After songs, we do introductions, where the AC’s introduce ourselves, saying our names, where we are from, and one cool thing about ourselves (I do gymnastics-literally a handstand) because it involves an action / gesture so the kids can better comprehend. Next, the kiddos have lunch American BBQ style, equipped with chips, hot dogs, burgers, and cookies. Here we teach about money and our custom of tipping. The kids must pay with their “money.”
After lunch we have an American Carnival, where all of the AC’s run the games- balloon animals, 3-card Monty, tattoos, arm wrestling, cake walk, ball toss, face painting, etc. It’s a lot of fun for the kids. Followed is the water balloon toss, and finally graduation, where all of the AC’s give a little speech, give out badges, and give high fives to all of the campers. Finally, we leave time for autographs and pictures.