After six months of attending workshops to prepare for their trip, Hawaii’s six Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) Junior Ambassadors, (Kala Handa, Diesel Kawelo, Andrew-Lee Smith, Chelley Endo, Sunny Monaco and Misa Muranaka) along with Peace Ambassador Jae-Sun Brown and chaperone Dori Nishijo-Kim departed for Fukuoka on July 9, 2014. They spent two weeks there taking part in the 26th APCC, which was held from July 10 – 23, 2014.
Hosted by the Fukuoka government, the APCC promotes international relationships between children so that they will become adults with a strong social responsibility for the world. In its 26th year, the APCC has hosted over 10,000 Junior Ambassadors with nearly 6,340 host families in Fukuoka. This year, the Hawaii delegates spent the first five days at an exchange camp with 230 children from 40 countries and cities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. They were fortunate to have roommates from New Caledonia, Dalian (China) and Japan, so communicating through hand gestures and games were a fun way to get to know each other.
Following the exchange camp at Marine House Camp, the delegates all went home with their Japanese host families in the city of Asakura where they stayed for the next eight nights. While with their host families, among other things, the children had a chance to attend school with their host siblings, visit a Japanese onsen, visit the Dazaifu Temple, take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, eat lots of Japanese food, meet the Mayor of Asakura, and perform at the Asakura city festival. While the APCC delegates were busy with their activities, Hawaii’s Peace Ambassador Jae Sun Brown shared community service stories and experiences of the Bridge Club Hawaii, an alumni organization of former APCC delegates with the 29 other Peace Ambassadors in attendance at the APCC.
On July 21, the 230 delegates again reunited for the APCC “We Are the Bridge” cultural exchange festival held at the JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka City. There, the Hawaii delegates performed two oli (chants) and danced a hula to the song Waikiki Hula, which they had learned from their chaperone, Makua Dori Kim, a Hawaiian studies teacher at Aina Haina Elementary.
The students returned to Honolulu on July 23, excited to share what they had done on their trip. Delegates and parents met again at the JASH office on August 2 to discuss with each other their experiences. JASH would like to thank all of the families and friends who helped to prepare the delegation for their trip.
JASH has been associated with APCC for 11 years, sending Hawaii’s 11-year olds to this global youth camp to expand their view of the world, create new friendships, and inspire them to better themselves and their community. JASH continues to promote this relationship by involving APCC alumni in programs and activities through the Bridge Club Hawaii.
On the morning of August 20, 2014, JASH President Ed Hawkins and Peace Ambassador Jae-Sun Brown shared their experiences about the 2014 APCC on KITV 4.