After six months of training and preparation, JASH sent delegates to Fukuoka, Japan to take part in the 27th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC). Six Junior Ambassadors: Luke Cisneros, Landon Hung, Landon Kimura, Chloe Kwok, Gia Ma and Tierra Nakamura, along with Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum and volunteer chaperone Kevin Matsuda took part in the APCC, which was held from July 8 – 21, 2015.
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 27th 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 Indonesia 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 attended a Welcome Party hosted by all of their Japanese host families, and then went home with their individual host families where they stayed for the next week. While with their host families, among other things, the children had a chance to attend school with their host siblings, visit a Japanese onsen, go camping, visit the Dazaifu Temple, attend the Yamakasa festival, venture into a natural cave, take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, visit Kokura Castle, and eat lots of Japanese food. While the APCC delegates were busy with their activities, Hawaii’s Peace Ambassador Wesley Lum enjoyed reconnecting with the host family he had when he was a Junior Ambassador in 2009. Wesley also spent time sharing about Bridge Club Hawaii community service projects and experiences with the other Peace Ambassadors in attendance at the APCC.
On July 18, the 230 delegates again reunited for the APCC “We Are the Bridge” cultural exchange festival held at the Fukuoka City Hall FUREAI PARK. There, the Hawaii delegates performed two oli (chants) and danced a hula to the song Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai which they had learned from Makua Dori Kim, a Hawaiian studies teacher at Aina Haina Elementary School.
The students returned to Honolulu on July 21, excited to share what they had done on their trip. Delegates, parents and JASH staff met one last time at the JASH office on August 1 to discuss 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 the APCC since 2003, 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.
If you know of anyone interested in taking part in the Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention in 2016, the application will be available online here in mid-November. Please contact Liz Stanton-Barrera, JASH Educational Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The deadline to submit the application to the JASH office will be December 21, 2015. Applicants for the 2016 APCC will need to be born between September 1, 2004 and August 31, 2005 in order to apply. Read more about the APCC program and JASH by taking a look at our website. Further information on Bridge Club Hawaii can be found on its Facebook website at https://www.facebook.com/BridgeClubHI.