Red Cross Smile Camp

Concerns about effects from the Fukushima Daiichi accident caused psychological stress on school children living in Fukushima Prefecture. The purpose of the program was to provide students of elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture with opportunities to touch nature and spend a few days at accommodation facilities with different-aged children from different schools of Fukushima Prefecture, which would refresh themselves physically and mentally. At the camp, they were also provided with a program “to acquire wider perspectives for the future" and opportunities “to act by helping and cooperating with each other". The camp aimed to help the children who will be leaders in Fukushima in the future to develop their foundations through these programs and opportunities.
(In FY 2012 and FY 2013, the JRCS organized and provided “Summer Camp in Hokkaido” in Rusutsu, Hokkaido for school children in the three affected prefectures: Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.)

Program


Date: August 5 - 7, 2014 (three days and two nights)
Venue: Grandeco Resort, Fukushima Prefecture
Activities:

Day 1: Opening ceremony; first-aid course; and parkgolf.

Day 2: Trekking; barbeque; canoeing; making candles; and candlelight ceremony.

Day 3: Making a souvenir commemorative item of the camp; making bags as gifts for Junior Red Cross friends in the Philippines; and closing ceremony.

Target participants: Children in the 5th and 6th grades of elementary schools and the 1st and 2nd grades of junior high schools in Futaba County and Tamura City.
No. of children who participated in the program: 29 (19 elementary school students; 10 junior high school students).

Report


The Fukushima Chapter prepared a report for the Red Cross Smile Camp. The report includes the overview, schedule and program.

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Recovery Program for People Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
JRCS Fukushima Chapter

Red Cross Smile Camp

Lets' have fun together in the great outdoors of Urabandai. Lets' feel nature, do sports and make some home-made crafts.
(This is a program developed for children in Fukushima who live with stress caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident to help them to refresh and relax by feeling nature and interacting with children from other schools.)

Report on FY 2014 Red Cross Smile Camp [PDF]

Comment by Fukushima Chapter staff


The Fukushima Chapter organized and held this kind of program for the first time. Therefore, we started the preparation one year before the program year, including the explanations to the elementary and junior high schools and request for cooperation from them. The chapter staff prepared the program and the involved materials by themselves as much as possible. Since the time was limited, the work on the program was hard. However, it seemed to us that our hope to please the children just supported our efforts and encouraged us. Until the day of the camp, we checked the site and confirmed the progress many times, and had many meetings. We had mixed feelings of expectation and anxiety until the children arrived at the site.

Most of the children looked tense when they arrived. The camp was different from their daily school lives. They spent some nights away from their homes. Probably for these reasons, some children were too excited and stayed up late every night. Others ate only small portions of their meals or did not look so happy. However, high school and college students who were assigned as the support staff helped the children very much. It was a pleasant surprise to us. They were always paying attention to the physical conditions and changes in the mood of their group’s children. They also cared for the children so that they could do the activities smoothly. We could personally feel the effects of Junior Red Cross activities from their support during the camp.

It was sunny over the three days and the camp went on as scheduled. We had fewer participants than expected, but it was good for both the participating children and the staff because that allowed us to care for each participant.

The children spent the three days with students from other schools and with high school and college students. It was a fresh experience for them and they enjoyed the camp very much. At the closing ceremony, many children shed tears. Some children who looked timid during the camp raised his/her hand willingly to make comments about the camp and expressed their thanks to the staff. The three days passed quickly but we believe that the time made unforgettable and precious memories.

When they left the site, all the participants got on the bus with smiles. The staff members also felt happy with this program.