Red Cloud English Camp gets high marks from local youngsters
May 31, 2012
CAMP RED CLOUD -- About 30 Korean youngsters got a chance to learn English as guests of the U.S. Army at Camp Red Cloud recently.
The 31 sixth-graders drawn from various elementary schools in Uijeongbu were guests of the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud May 22 to 25.
A first stop on post was the 2nd Infantry Division Museum, where they were given a talk about the history of the U.S. military in Korea, including the role of KATUSAs, South Korean troops assigned to duty with the U.S. Army.
"When they first got here the kids were kind of curious as to why Korean soldiers were wearing the same uniforms as the Americans," said Pvt. Kim Kun-hyui, a KATUSA assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Red Cloud.
"Besides helping the students learn English, the camp also helps to reduce the misjudgment and prejudice that the Korean society has toward U.S. Soldiers," said Kim Eun-young, an education support expert with the Uijeongbu city government. "The students get to see that U.S. Soldiers contribute to their country and how we work together."
The English Camp was started last year as a partnership between Camp Red Cloud and the city. It's held twice a year.
Surveys done after last year's camp showed student satisfaction was "very high," said Kim Eun-young.
But this year, parents called after the very first day to say how happy they and their children were with the program.
"The kids can learn and speak English more normally with the soldiers than they can with their Korean teachers," she said.
During their time at Camp Red Cloud the students teamed up with six of HHC's Soldiers -- three Americans and three KATUSAs, who helped them improve their English.
"After each event we went to the education center and talked with the kids about what they had just seen or done," said Pvt. Kim.
"The kids liked being able to speak English with the American Soldiers, but when they were stuck on trying to get the 'right' English word they would come to me."
Learning English wasn't the only activity. Besides the museum visit, there was also soccer, dodgeball, and a visit to the post fire station where firefighters demonstrated their rescue methods.
"The week with the students was great, and I would definitely volunteer to do it next year," said Sgt. Frank Torralba of HHC. "It was a great experience for me as well as [for] the students."
One of those students was Park Hyeon-tae of Joong-ang Elementary School.
"I feel very good and very thankful to my principal for choosing me to come here," said Park.
"Spending time and talking with the Americans was fun, but the best part was playing soccer with them," he said.
"Although this is English Camp, I think the whole thing is to have fun with the kids," said Pvt. Kim. "The talking is important, but playing sports and just being with them is very valuable to them."