Our second full 3-day camp went really well. This camp was at our base- Global Arena, so that was really nice. Secondly, we didn’t have to bathe or sleep with campers–an added bonus because I am definitely someone who needs my alone time at the end of the night. The first camp we did was Traditional Style, and this one was American Village (meaning that we give them passports and American money, as well as serve American food). This school was an all girls school of Junior High School (JHS) and High School (HS) students aged 12-17. I worked predominately with the JHS group; I am finding that I actually really enjoy working with the students aged 13-14. The entirety of the group was 35 girls, so on top of that we had one A.D. (Annie) and 7 AC’s. The first day the girls came in their school uniforms. We helped them go through “Immigration” and then check into their rooms and put away their luggage. Then we played some games and sang some songs (Baby, I love you; and Tarzan), which was soon followed by lunch. After lunch we did introductions and orientation, and then did English Activities the rest of the day.
Though this is from a different camp, here is a picture of Team 2A during introductions.
During American Village, we got to do My Town, which is sort of like American Carnival but a bit different. Basically we set up stations resembling an American town, with things such as a restaurant, post office, jail, hair salon, beauty parlor, Doctor’s office, Optometrist, and dance studio. I got to work the restaurant. Basically students come and I seat them, serve them water, give them a menu, and then they must order in English. Then I bring them play food, they “eat,” and then pay/tip. Finally, I stamp their passport saying they completed the task.
That night we had an epic dance party with the 2 other camps going on, so all 35 AC’s were together, which is always so much fun. The second day, though always long, is also always very fun. We start with the campers having an All-American breakfast, for which they pay for their meals with their American play money, and have to leave a tip at the end (we do not tip in Japan, so this is teaching of American customs). For breakfast they can have cereal, pancakes, muffins, bananas, and omelettes, with juice. Also, they must use FORKS, and not chopsticks. We also did some English building activities that day, which included being given a stack of cards with nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, and articles, and then the students had to make English sentences. With my group I let them play around for 5 minutes, and then I looked at their cards, created a sentence in my head, grabbed the necessary cards, and then shuffled them face down; then the students overturned them and tried to create the sentence. I made them gradually harder and harder; it was so cool to watch their progress. The biggest problems were forgetting articles and putting adverbs after the adjectives (He has big really bird instead of He has a really big bird). During lunch we did American Barbecue, where we serve hot dogs, brats, and burgers, along with chips and cookies, and juice. (I love this meal!) This time for American Carnival I was the Tattoo Lady; basically I was the one that students got to draw on. It was nice to just sit and relax and be tickled with paint brushes and pencils. Other stations include 3 card monty, tattoos, balloon animals, darts, dice throw, cake walk, ball toss, and random clowns that walk around. Camp fire that night went fabulously; I led a lot of songs so that was a really fun time.
Our last day is always really sad because it’s so depressing knowing I will not see these campers again (we are not allowed to make outside contact). A lot of the girls get really emotional, which makes me get emotional. But it makes me realize I am creating a positive impact and leaving a strong lasting impression about the United States and its citizens, which really warms my heart. As I do more and more camps I realize how much I am enjoying myself, even if some days I still ask myself, “What am I doing here?” I am developing a lot of strong bonds with our Japanese Counselors (JCs) here in Japan and it’s so heartwarming to know that I have many friends living in Japan now, as well as France and other European countries.