August 2015: 4th SWTJ Summer Camp for Tohoku Kids in Senmaya
Thanks to the generous support of SWTJ supporters from home and abroad, this year again, the SWTJ summer camp for Tohoku kids could take place and was a great success!
Ten volunteer youth leaders from all over the country came together to spend some exciting days in the comfortable Senmaya community center with elementary and junior high school-age kids from the Tohoku region. Some of the kids had already taken part last year, while others joined for the first time. Everybody had a great time, and even the rain couldn’t dampen our good mood.
|SWTJ youth leaders in their last meeting before the camp|
In the photo above, some of the youth leaders make preparations for the camp on the day before the arrival of the children.
This year again, we were able to rent the comfortable Senmaya Community Center (Senmaya Minami Koryu Center), a former elementary school in a village not far from Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture, right next to the border with Miyagi Prefecture.
|Starting point: Kesennuma Station|
Day 1: August 13:
Everybody gathered at Kesennuma Station, and soon it was time to say goodbye to the parents, and to get on the train with the cool volunteer camp leaders! Some of the children had participated last year alreadz, and were excited to reunite, while some others took part for the first time, and, while a little apprehensive, were full of anticipation.
|Learning to play cup and ball.|
|Each child paints his own cup and ball tool！|
|Curry rice, salad and fried chicken enjoyed by all! Everybody helped prepare the delicious dinner!|
At night...the much anticipated ghost walk! After all, we stayed overnight in an abandoned former elementary school...
|Even after seeing some scary things, the kids went ahead courageously. Some kids did start to cry...|
|All the volunteer leaders changed into ghosts and other scary beings. The kids sure screamed! And later beamed in excitement. A night of success.|
Day 1: August 14:
Today, river play was on the schedule, but unfortunately, it was raining. So instead, we stayed inside and made colorful bags with the help of rubber eraser stamps. Look at these nice outcomes!
We made a map with the kids so that they could see from where in Japan all the goodies and camp supplies came from, and where the sponsors lived. Thank you to all the sponsors from all over Japan!
|The blindfolded kid has to try to hit the water melon so that we can all enjoy it. Go go!!|
|Really looks like he's going to hit it in the right place!|
|Some of our kids became really good at making cotton candy themselves!|
|Our last camp evening of course ended with the much loved fireworks.|
Day 1: August 15:On our last day, the sun finally came through!! Off we were to the river!
A local resident lent us this marvelous raft- so much fun！
|The handbell performance.|
|Getting the cup and ball certificate from the licensed teacher！|
|There was one more ritual to be accomplished...every year we would mark the kids’height on a big poster. Some had grown over 10cm in just one year, and others had surpassed the camp leaders！|
|Soon, we had to say good bye... everyone was a bit sad...|
SWTJ would like to say big thanks to everybody who made this camp possible- to our generous sponsors, to the people who sent food or camp utensils, to our great camp leaders who donated their time and skills, to the wonderful people of Senmaya village who already welcomed us for the third time this year, and to the families who entrusted their children to us and allowed us to build strong bonds with these future leaders of northern Japan whose residents are so courageously rebuilding their lives after the tremendous tsunami damage of the year 2011.