Counselor uses Red Cloud kids’ camp to see homeland
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — For University of Iowa student Nathan Joyce, working as a Camp Adventure counselor here is a chance to get in touch with his roots.
Joyce, one of two counselors supervising soldiers’ children at Camp Red Cloud this summer, was born to a South Korean mother in Pusan but grew up in Iowa after American parents adopted him, he said.
The 21-year-old does not speak Korean and had never visited the land of his birth until last month. Other South Koreans are surprised when they try to talk to him in their own language.
Joyce is trying local food such as “bulgogi,” a beef stew, and a rice and vegetable dish called “bi bim bap,” as well as exploring Seoul for the first time, he said.
“I didn’t know what to expect. It is a little dirtier than I thought it would be,” said Joyce, who hopes to visit the Demilitarized Zone and travel to Pusan while he’s here.
Joyce stays busy interacting with the children at Camp Adventure. Tuesday afternoon he gave them swimming lessons.
He appears to be popular with the children, who happily gave him a dunking in his T-shirt and shorts after their lesson.
One of the best swimmers among the Camp Adventure kids, Kenny Lablanc, 9, of Louisiana, was keen to show off his dive-bombing skills at the pool.
Lablanc said the swimming sessions were his favorite part of the holiday program.
Another Camp Adventure kid, Jameisha Copeland, 13, said she particularly enjoyed a field trip to Caribbean Bay Water Park in Seoul last week.
Copeland, who recently arrived in Area I from Germany with her parents, who both serve with the U.S. Army in South Korea, said the water park impressed her.
“The wave pools in the States are not as wavy,” she added.
The University of Northern Iowa-run Camp Adventure is available at U.S. military bases worldwide and served up to 10,000 children per day in 2003, officials said.
In addition to swimming lessons, Camp Adventure will involve field trips to Lotte World amusement park, Seoul Land zoo and a Korean herb farm, officials said.
The Camp Red Cloud program is for children from non-command-sponsored families living within the 2nd Infantry Division area north of Seoul. Army Community Services estimates 800 non-command-sponsored spouses and children live in the area.