KAMBARA QUEST FLIES ACROSS CULTURES
hen Quest Aircraft was purchased by Japanese firm Setouchi Holdings in 2015, company officials expected Sandpoint to get a little more international. As it turns out, local kids could be the primary beneficiaries of that cultural connection. In August 2016, company officials announced the formation of the Kambara Quest Foundation, a philanthropic program dedicated to providing cross-cultural experiences for students from both Sandpoint and Japan. The program kicked off the same month with 10 Japanese students visiting Sandpoint for one week. Then, the next week, Sandpoint youth had their turn, flying to Hiroshima for a weeklong experience of Japanese activities and culture. “Mr. Kambara, [Setouchi Holdings principal owner], talks about wanting to educate future generations,” said Susan Jordan, Quest Aircraft chief financial officer and vice president of administration. “The exchange program is something that he wanted to start, so that kids who wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to travel could do this.” They want some of the company’s profits to fund education and intercultural learning. “It’s a very nice thing for the community,” Jordan said. “[They] believe in doing good things.” The first group of 10 Sandpoint kids was selected from Quest families, although in future years the opportunity will broaden to all local students. “They had to submit a written essay and letters of recommendation as part of the selection process for the trip,” said Julie Stone, Quest’s public relations spokesperson. “It
Words by Cameron Rasmusson was a great success!” Their journey started Aug. 28 when the group flew out of Spokane, arriving the next day in Hiroshima. Their whirlwind immersion into Japanese culture began with students trying on and getting photographed in traditional Japanese summer kimonos. They later explored the downtown Onomichi shopping district before taking part in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony and learning about furoshiki, the art of wrapping with ornamental cloth. The next day brought more exposure to Japanese arts, including seated meditation and sutra copying. Students also toured a temple in Shiso, enjoyed a traditional Zen monk meal and later dropped by Setouchi facilities to check out its seaplanes. More exposure to Japanese industry followed with a tour of the Tsuneishi shipbuilding factory. The Sandpoint students also had a chance to meet their Japanese peers at Eishin High School. The rest of the trip was largely devoted to cultural experiences like an encounter with Oshima Noh Theater. After hopping on a bullet
train to Osaka, the group spent a day checking out the second largest metropolitan area in the country. And the final day in Japan wrapped up in spectacular fashion with a visit to Fukuyama Castle, a 17th century structure constructed in the Edo period. The Japanese students who visited Sandpoint the week prior enjoyed a similarly comprehensive Idaho experience. They took a crash course in horse care and riding at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, and learned about flight and innovation at Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center. Later, they enjoyed the expansive vistas from Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Like their Sandpoint counterparts, they got a sense of regional manufacturing with a visit to Quest Aircraft. Their summertime trip to Sandpoint was made complete with a stop at City Beach.
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Sandpoint students, children of Quest employees, tour Japan on a cultural exchange. PHOTO COURTESY KAMBARA QUEST FOUNDATION.
(Inset) Japanese students visit Western Pleasure Guest Ranch and get a grooming lesson from Danielle Otis. PHOTO BY LANDON OTIS.
10/25/16 8:33 AM
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