YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Children stood poised and ready, staring each other from opposite ends of a shortened soccer field. Waiting anxiously for the whistle to sound off, they aimed to tackle those with soccer balls ready to go.

Young players got the opportunity to run around, laugh, and play soccer at a Kicking4Hunger (K4H) soccer camp held at field #10, July 30 to Aug. 1.

As the title of the camp explains, it was not a normal soccer camp where the campers only learn skills and strategies. The kids also learned the importance of helping others in need by donating canned products.

K4H was established in the state of North Carolina by Gabriel Whaley, and up until now, it ran most of its camps only in the United States.

Sarah Lee, a senior at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, works as a student leader planning the annual food drive. While working for the food drive, she met Jordan Pearson, the director of operations for K4H, and wanted to be part of the group and do something more meaningful with her hobby.

Lee, spending her early years in the Yongsan Garrison, didn't want to keep K4H stateside, but wanted to go worldwide and give opportunities to USAG Yongsan to participate in the meaningful event.

"I've grown up in the Yongsan community, graduated from Seoul American Elementary School, and attended Seoul American Middle School for a year before moving to North Carolina and therefore Yongsan was the hometown that I've always admired even from halfway across the world," Lee said. "Thus, I wanted to give back to the community that has given me so much."

Lee got in touch with the Yongsan Football Club, particularly, Mike Nevearth, recently an employee with U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, but now with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District.

"This was a great opportunity to keep youth active this summer and to bring out a positive community message," Nevearth said. "I was happy to help reserve the field and provide the campers with soccer balls and cones."

USAG Yongsan also provided the necessary garrison support to help the soccer camp succeed, including use of a soccer field and installation access.

The volunteer coaches that served this year had a great time together bonding. Tiffany Mitchell, graduate at Seoul American High School, shared how it to be a coach for such beautiful kids at such a meaningful camp.

"I really love kids and playing soccer with them," Mitchell said. "Seeing them playing soccer loving the sports and willing to interact with people, I was able to have more fun and I think it is a great way to help out local community."

As a result, about 70 kids and their parents participated in the camp and K4H raised over 700 cans in three days. The food was donated to Yongsan Sarang-Nanum, a local food bank, which is run by the city of Yongsan.

Page last updated Tue August 7th, 2012 at 00:00