JASH proudly sent six Junior Ambassadors (JAs) – all 11-year-old Hawaii students — to the 28th Asian-Pacific Children’s Convention (APCC) in Fukuoka, Japan, on July 9, 2016.
Hosted by the Fukuoka City government, the APCC promotes international relationships among children so that they will become adults with a sense of social responsibility for the world.
Now in its 28th year, the APCC has hosted over 10,000 Junior Ambassadors with nearly 6,340 host families in Fukuoka. JASH has been associated with APCC for 14 years, and believes that the global youth camp is an important venue where students create friendships and expand their view of the world — important for creating global citizens who care about their community and beyond.
The Hawaii delegation’s two-week educational journey began at the APCC global youth camp held at the Marine House, where the JAs interacted with 226 students from 44 different countries. At camp, the JAs participated in activities that deepened their understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity, and enabled them to cultivate international friendships.
Peace Ambassador (PA) Jocelyn Bonilla and chaperone Dori Nishijo-Kim accompanied JAs Christian Kauhane, Miya Kanetake, Davina Li, Makoto Murata, Spencer Niemann, and Kourtney Nishimura. In addition to representing, Hawaii and JASH at the convention, the JAs represented their schools: Punahou School, Moanalua Elementary, Aina Haina Elementary, Niu Valley Middle School, Kainalu Elementary, and University Laboratory School.
Following the global camp, the JAs each participated in a week-long home stay with different Japanese families. The JAs experienced many different cultural activities including throwing ninja stars, learning to wear the kimono, riding the shinkansen (bullet train), visiting a Japanese elementary school and Dazaifu Temple, enjoying a summer festival at Saitozaki Elementary School, and experiencing an onsen at the Kumamoto Onsen and Hotel.
On July 18, APCC delegates attended Fukuoka City’s Fureai Park for “We are the Bridge Festival 2016,” where they reunited with Japan counterparts whom they met a week earlier at the APCC global youth camp. The Hawaii JAs performed two oli (chants) and a hula, E Ku’u Tutu, which they learned from Chaperone Dori, a teacher at Aina Haina Elementary.
While the JAs followed their busy itinerary, Peace Ambassador Jocelyn, who represents Bridge Club Hawaii, attended a separate camp for PAs from the different regions that focused on strengthening regional Bridge Clubs (alumni organizations for former APCC Junior Ambassadors) and finding ways to sustain the development of Bridge Club members into global citizens. Jocelyn shared Bridge Club Hawaii’s strong relationship with JASH and the Club’s successful fundraising campaigns.
The Hawaii delegation returned to Honolulu on July 23. The APCC debriefing workshop held at JASH on July 30 allowed delegates to share their stories with particular focus on lessons learned from this life-changing experience. The JAs agreed that the APCC experience impacted them in many ways, with Davina Li stating that she “believe[s] it will help (her) become more independent.”
JASH thanks the families and friends who helped to prepare the Hawaii delegation for the APCC. Through the Bridge Club Hawaii, JASH expects the APCC alumni to stay connected by supporting JASH programs and activities.