Yamaha Summer Camp! - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yamaha Summer Camp!

This weekend I have been in Mie-ken (三重県) working at Yamaha English School's summer camp teaching Japanese children English!  Most of the adults participating in the camp were already Yamaha staff members except for me, April and Jimmy. (And actually, my friend Ericka was supposed to do this job originally, but since she eventually found out she couldn't participate after all she recommended me instead. So a big thanks to you, Ericka!)
Some of the kids who are waiting for the camp to start
We started of Friday morning at Kyoto Station, where we welcomed around 230 kids ready to practice their English. At first they were quite shy, of course, but they seemed eager to learn at the same time. The kids were around 8-11 years old, and some of them had even been to the summer camp a couple of times before.
Some of the boys
On the train to Mie-ken we spent the time talking to the kids, asking them about their names, their favorite colors/animals/food and so on. And the kids were trying to collect "power-power cards", which they got from us after the conversations were finished. This made the kids even more eager to talk to us, and got rid of their shyness as well.
 After the train ride, which lasted about 3 hours, we arrived in Mie-ken where there was 5 buses waiting for us. Our destination was the hotel Nemu no Sato (合歓の郷), which is not only a hotel but more like a tiny village (sato means village actually..) where they have different kind of activity areas such as a water-park, onsen, golf +++. It is actually quite cool! And not to mention its like heaven for the kids, haha:)
April and Jimmy in the back of the golf-cart taking us from the main hotel building to the building we were staying at..
 Shortly after arrival it was time for the weekends first camp-activity: The water park! Check out the water slides! You bet both we and the kids had a great time. Me and April went water-sliding with a couple of the kids, and the time flew faster than I would have though.

One of the lifeguards are taking a break. I guess he needed one, since the bunch of kids was about to arrive..! 
Aaand here we are! Probably more than 90% of the guests  using the water park at this time was kids from the Yamaha summer camp..!
 In the evening it was time for dinner and entertainment, and the Yamaha teachers did the acting (I played a dog, haha).! The play was roughly based on Toy Story (at least the characters), and the point was to teach the kids about the environment at the same time as they got to practice their English. I think it was a great success; the kids seemed to enjoy it a lot!

Group picture! All the staff members did a great job..!
We ended the play outside after dinner was over; and to make it even more exiting for the kids there was both a fireplace and not to mention fireworks! I'm pretty sure the kids slept well this night.. And the staff got the chance to relax a bit and to check out the onsen too.

 But the camp was not over yet; we still had Saturday to go! For this day my group started out with outdoor activities where we first taught the kids about the principles of reuse, refuse and recycle! The kids had already practiced vocabulary such as can, pet bottle, plastic bag and so on, so it seemed like they did not have much problems following the simplified explanations.

 The second post of the program was crab fishing. To be honest I was a bit skeptical when I first heard of this, but there was actually quite a lot of crabs hiding in the small rivers so it was a great success as well. Though none of the kids actually caught the crabs they did manage to lure them out from behind rocks etc., and it was fun watching the crabs eating the bait as well.

The kids being entertained by Johnny the Cowboy. Yeeha..! The kids really loved him!
 For the second day the kids had been divided into 6 groups since they were so many, and since my groups started outside we ended the day with the indoor activities.

"Barbie" and "Duzz" talking about clean energy
 And at the end of the indoor activities the kids got to see the end of the play we had started on the day before.! With the help of the kids hard work through the different activities we managed to bring the robot Bokumo back to life ;p..

The kids lining up for autographs on the train back home.. They were so cute;)
And so, after lunch, the end of the day and the camp was there. We left Nemu no Sato heading for the train station, and from the train station we travelled back to Kyoto. It was a very nice weekend, and if I'm lucky I'll be able to participate next year as well.
Now it is only a couple of days (and 4 exams) left till the summer holiday starts! 頑張らなくちゃ!
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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