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Okinawa Youth Cultural Exchange Program January 11-14, 2013


i i i m ari ne exp edi ti onary force and m ari ne corp s i nstallati ons p aci fi c

www.m cip ac.m arines.m il

january 11-14, 2013

Marines welcome Oshima children

Yoshihito Sakurada watches and smiles while Columbus Wilson III scores a basket Jan. 11 at the Camp Foster Youth Center. Sakurada along with 23 other students from Oshima elementary and middle schools are visiting Okinawa as part of a four-day youth cultural exchange and homestay program. Throughout the children’s stay, they will participate in various events such as arts and crafts, playing games, a Sunday brunch, and visiting an American school before leaving on Jan. 14. Sakurada is an 11-year-old fifth-grade student from Oshima, and Wilson is a program assistant at the Camp Foster Youth Center. Photo by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle

Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle okinawa marine staff

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IN THIS ISSUE

wenty-four children and six chaperones from Oshima District, Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, arrived Jan. 11 at the Camp Foster Youth Center to take part in the second annual youth cultural exchange and homestay program. The program was created following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March 2011 and was designed to allow the children of Oshima to enjoy their summer holiday in a stress-free environment. “Today is the first of a four-day homestay youth cultural exchange

O sh i m a ch i ld r e n enjoy activities during Homestay program Page 2

program,” said Robert D. Eldridge, the deputy assistant chief of staff, G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “It’s the second annual homestay that we have conducted for the children of the island of Oshima to spend a few days with the Marines and their families in Okinawa.” The children are fourth through eighthgrade students at Oshima elementary and middle schools. “We were invited by the Marine Corps to come to Okinawa the year after the disaster,” said Hironobu Sugawara, homestay program manager and Oshima City Assembly member. “Last time, we had 25 children visit, and we want to keep the ties between us and the Marines

Oshima children join classes at E. C. Killin Elementary Page 3

strong. This year, the children will have the opportunity to attend school with the American children to learn from each other.” The children of Oshima are excited to be on Okinawa and look forward to their stay, according to Daisuke Chiba, a 13-yearold seventh-grader participating in the exchange program. “This is my first time coming to Okinawa,” said Chiba. “I look forward to seeing Okinawa and spending time with the (Marine) family I will be staying with.” Throughout the children’s stay, they will participate in various events such as arts and crafts, playing games, a Sunday brunch, and visiting an American school before leaving Jan. 14.

Oshima children enjoy Okinawa Pages 4-5

Marines on Okinawa farewell children from Homestay program Page 6


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| NEWS | january 12, 2013

Oshima children enjoy activities during Homestay program Story and photos by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle okinawa marine staff

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he Camp Foster Youth Center hosted a “fun day” of arts and crafts, basketball, ping pong and various interactive video games for children from Oshima Island Jan. 12 as part of the second annual youth cultural exchange program. The program was created following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in mainland Japan March 2011 to give children from Oshima a stress-free environment to relax in during the summer, while their home communities recovered from the aftermath. This year’s visit focused on the Japanese and American children sharing their diverse cultures and learning from each other. “I hope this experience will broaden their horizons and show them that we care about them,” said Robert D. Eldridge, the deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “Both Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri and Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr. are extremely supportive of this program, and I am happy to work with leaders that are so open to ideas such as this.” Talleri is the commanding general of MCIPAC, and Glueck is the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force. Events like this demonstrate the core values of Marines and show they care, according to Eldridge. “The Marine Corps community embraces this relationship,” said Eldridge. “This really shows how the Marines demonstrate honor, courage and commitment in all that they do. Many people are familiar with the saying ‘no greater friend, no worst enemy’ and this really shows that there is‘no greater friend’ – it shows what the Marines do best.” All aspects of the Marine community participated in the program, with Marines and family members hosting the children in their homes. "I think this is a great opportunity for us to show our host nation that we appreciate being guests here," said Master Sgt. Ricardo Clayton, the air traffic control staff

Children participating in the second annual youth cultural exchange and homestay program watch as a volunteer service member and his son demonstrate how to play a video game Jan. 12 at the Camp Foster Youth Center. Family members hosting the children of Oshima hope the children leave with lifelong memories, according to Maria Clayton, a volunteer host family member.

noncommissioned officer-in-charge with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. "I think this is a great program and shows that we care about the community." The host families hope the children leave with lifelong memories, according to Maria Clayton, a volunteer host family member. “I hope that (the child staying with us) has fun and takes away good memories from his time with our family,” said Clayton. “We appreciate the opportunity to share our culture with the children. I’m happy to take part in this program and to learn from them as much as they learn from us.” The volunteer host families showed the children a good time during their stay, according to Mizuki Oyama, a 12-year-old 6th-grade student from Oshima. “It is fun being here,” said Oyama. “The

families we are staying with are kind to us. The part of the trip I enjoyed the most was visiting the aquarium.” The children of the host families are also enjoying learning about Japanese culture. “It is difficult sometimes to communicate, but it isn’t hard to find things to do that we both like,” said Elonzo Higginson, a 12-year-old volunteer host family member. “Yesterday, we played basketball and video games and today we are spending more time together.” During the program, the children of Oshima participated in more group activities such as a Sunday brunch and a half-day of school together with their American hosts. Individual activities for the Japanese children have been coordinated by their host families, including visiting the circus and Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Japanese children participating in the second annual youth cultural exchange and homestay program attend a cooking class Jan. 12 at the Camp Foster Youth Center alongside children from their U.S. military volunteer host families. “I hope this experience will broaden (the children’s) horizons and show them that we care about them,” said Robert D. Eldridge, the deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. Photo by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle


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| NEWS | january 11-14, 2013

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Wataru Kikuta, a 10-year-old fourth-grader from Oshima, works on coloring while Melanie Horton, a fifth-grade teacher at Edward C. Killin elementary school, looks on with encouragement during art class, Jan. 14. Kikuta is participating in the Marine Corps Community Services’ sponsored, four-day, youth cultural exchange and homestay program. During the program, 24 students from Oshima came to Camp Foster to stay with volunteer families who showed them around Okinawa and introduced them to some Marine Corps culture.

Oshima children join classes at E. C. Killin Elementary Story and photos by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle okinawa marine staff

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tudents from Oshima visited Edward C. Killin elementary school Jan. 14 as part of the second annual cultural exchange/ homestay program. The program was created following the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred in March 2011, and it was created to give the children of Oshima a chance to enjoy their summer holiday in a stress free environment after the disaster. During the visit, the children of Oshima attended various classes such as art, physical education and Japanese culture class. “I really liked the drawing part of the class,” said Mizuki Oyama, a 12-year-old fifth-grader. “I had a lot of fun in the school today and I would like to come back next time to visit again.” Not only did the Oshima children enjoy attending the American school, but the American children enjoyed hosting them as well, according to Ryuma Patrick Murphy, a 12-year-old fifth-grader. “It was good to have them in the class,” said Murphy. “The language barrier is tough for most of the students, but I speak Japanese so I am able to translate for them.” “I enjoyed having them participate in my class,” said Kaoru Uza, the host nation culture teacher at Edward C. Killin

elementary school. “They were a little shy at first, but they introduced themselves in English at the beginning of class and began to feel a little more comfortable.” “I want them to feel welcome while they

stay in Okinawa,” said Uza. Hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, more students from Oshima will be given the chance to come visit Okinawa again next August.

Children from Oshima Island, Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture and American students worked on art projects together as part of the youth cultural exchange and homestay program. The program was created following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March 2011, and was originally designed to allow the children of Oshima to enjoy their holiday in a stress-free environment.


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| PHOTOS | january 14, 2013

Foraging Friendships

Columbus Wilson III serves a ping pong ball to Yujiro Murakami Jan. 11 at the Camp Foster Youth Center. Murakami, along with 23 other students from Oshima Island’s elementary and middle schools, are visiting Okinawa as part of a four-day youth cultural exchange and homestay program. Murakami is an 11-year-old fifth-grade student from Oshima, and Wilson is a program assistant at the Camp Foster Youth Center.

Staff Sgt. Cheryl L. King and her daughter, Ava, receive a gift from Naoya Murakami and Saya Onodera Jan. 11 at the Camp Foster Youth Center. Twenty-four children and six chaperones from Oshima Island are participating in the youth cultural exchange and homestay program. King is the training chief with S-3, training and operations, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Murakami and Onodera are both students on Oshima Island, which was affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011.

Children from Oshim Officer’s Club. The p

Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri and Hironobu Sugawara sit together before partaking in Sunday brunch Jan. 13 at the Butler Officer’s Club. During this time, both Talleri and Sugawara had a discussion about the cultural exchange/ homestay program. Talleri is the commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Butler and Marine Corps Installations Pacific and Sugawara is a homestay program chaperone and Kesennuma City Assembly member. Yoshihito Sakurada watches and smiles while Columbus Wilson III scores a basket Jan. 11 at the Camp Foster Youth Center. Sakurada along with 23 other students from Oshima elementary and middle schools are visiting Okinawa as part of a fourday youth cultural exchange and homestay program. Sakurada is an 11-year-old fifth-grade student from Oshima, and Wilson is a program assistant at the Camp Foster Youth Center.

Students from Oshima Island, Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, play a baske Youth Cultural Exchange Program. The program was created following the de give the children of Oshima Island an opportunity to enjoy their summer holid


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| PHOTOS | january 11-14, 2013

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ma participating in the youth cultural exchange and homestay program preform a dance routine called “Soran Bushi� for those attending Sunday brunch Jan. 13 at the Butler program is designed to allow the children of Oshima to enjoy their summer holiday in a stress free environment. Photos by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle

etball game Jan. 14 at the Camp Foster Youth Center as part of the second annual evastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred March 11,2011, to day in a stress-free environment after the disaster.

Robert D. Eldridge and Cullen Ohashi welcome students from Oshima Island, Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, to Okinawa Jan. 11 to kick off the Youth Cultural Exchange Program. The program was created following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in March 2011, and was originally designed to allow the children of Oshima to enjoy their summer holiday in a stress-free environment. Eldridge is the deputy assistant chief of staff, G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. Ohashi is the chief for the Family Care Branch Marine Corps Community Services.

Sharing Cultures


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| NEWS | january 14, 2013

Marines on Okinawa farewell children from Homestay program Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller Okinawa Marine Staff

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wenty-four children from Oshima Island said goodbye to their Marine host families today. For the second time since 2011, school-aged children and chaperones from Oshima District, Kesennuma City were able to spend fourdays with Marines and their families on Okinawa. The Youth Cultural Exchange Program was conceived shortly after the East Japan Great Earthquake in March 2011 to

give children affected by the disaster an opportunity to enjoy their summer holiday in a stress free environment. “The Youth Cultural Exchange Program represents our continued commitment to maintain that special friendship. The exchange began in 2011 with the homestay program that brought 25 students from the Oshima elementary and middle schools to visit their host families here on Okinawa,” said Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. During this year’s visit, the homestay

Hironobu Sugawara, left, and Stephen Pauli, right, exchange mementos before they say goodbye after a four-day visit by Oshima youth homestay exchange students and their chaperones Jan. 14 at the Camp Foster youth center. Sugawara is a homestay program chaperone and Kesennuma city Assembly member and Pauli is the assistant chief of staff for Marine Corps Community Services. Pauli gave Sugawara an MCCS challenge coin. Photos by Lance Cpl. Daniel E. Valle

program provided children ranging from 4th to 8th grade an opportunity to share their diverse cultures and build new friendships. “I hope this experience will broaden their horizons and show them that we care about them,” said Robert D. Eldridge, the deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. The children also spent time with their host families doing individual activities around Okinawa, such as going to the aquarium and the circus. “It is fun being here,” said Mizuki Oyama, a 12-year-old 6th-grade student from Oshima. “The families we are staying with are kind to us and I really enjoyed visiting the aquarium.” In association with the Youth Cultural Exchange Program, Hironobu Sugawara, an advisor to the Oshima District Disaster Response Center, led a discussion about Oshima Island and the March 11 disaster at the Butler Officer Club on Saturday, Jan. 12. The discussion included key leaders from the Marine Corps to include Talleri. According to Talleri, “The Marine Corps supported the Japanese people following the tsunami and nuclear incident that devastated Japan March 11, 2011. Since that day the Marine Corps has maintained a very special friendship with the community and families of Oshima.” Chaperones accompanying the students also visited the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Hansen today. They received briefings on the capabilities of the 31st MEU and about its response following the March 11 disaster.

American and Oshima school-aged children gather around Mr. Cullen Ohashi and Dr. Robert D. Eldridge as they say their farewells Jan. 14 at Camp Foster’s youth center. Ohashi is the chief for for the Family Care Branch Marine Corps Community Services and Dr. Eldridge is the deputy assistant chief of staff for G-7, government and external affairs, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.


Okinawa Youth Cultural Exchange Program January 11-14, 2013

Okinawa Youth Cultural Exchange Program  

Twenty-four children and six chaperones from Oshima District, Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, arrived Jan. 11 at the Camp Foster Youth Ce...

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