Yokota's Camp Adventure keeping kids active
August 12, 2006
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A summer of TV and video games or of crafts, field trips and sports?
TV, no; the active route, yes, decided about 100 children who joined Yokota’s Camp Adventure, a summer camp with a mission to “create magical moments for children that last a lifetime.”
It’s run by college students and recent graduates from the United States who serve as camp counselors at U.S. military bases and embassies worldwide. The camp offers counselors a summer away from home and an opportunity to earn college credits.
Some return multiple times. Recent college graduate Shavon Borjas, the project coordinator for Yokota’s camp, is about to wrap up her third summer with Camp Adventure. She supervises the counselors at Yokota.
“It was a positive experience for the six college students to work with the children,” Borjas said. “They get work experience and it is a résumé builder. Kids can be very honest and very rewarding to work with.”
Yokota’s Camp Adventure, sponsored by the base’s School Age Program, started June 19. The children, ages 5-12, were separated into activity rooms in three housing towers for full days of activities, five days a week.
They begin at 8 a.m. with songs and a high-activity game, then move to arts and crafts projects, which usually relate to the theme of the week. Among this year’s themes: Western Week, Hawaiian Tiki Week, Safari Week and Dinosaur Week.
In the afternoons, the children go on field trips around the base to places such as pools or the library.
Camp Adventure veteran Jovana Charles, 10, said her favorite part of camp was going to Yokota’s new bowling alley.
“It’s very colorful and it smells good. There are lots of pretty bowling balls and there are two disco balls!” she said.
Every Wednesday, the children take trips off base, usually educational in nature. This summer’s destinations have included the National Science Museum, Shinagawa Aquarium, Safari Park and Maritime Museum.
In 2005, the group went to Tokyo Summerland, a water park near Yokota. Borjas said they weren’t able to go this year because the camp’s staff was smaller, making difficult the safe supervision of the children.
The final day of camp is scheduled Friday. Will the children then spend the week until classes start reaching for that Xbox again?
At least one says she won’t. Jovana, who’s participated in the camp for more than five years, says she plans to start studying for fifth grade.
As she colored a place mat, which children from her tower were making for the camp’s farewell spaghetti dinner, Jovana said she would miss the “Blitz,” a morning activity in which the kids sing songs together.
Camp Adventure, which has taken place at Yokota for more than a decade, is to return next year — and may expand, as additional space is expected to be available in a west side tower apartment, organizers said.