By Pfc. Choi Keun-woo (USAG-Yongsan)July 24, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - The South Post swimming pool was packed with children diving and splashing on a scorching afternoon.
Probably a typical scene here in summer, but most of the children were campers from Yongsan's Camp Adventure, enjoying their favorite summer camp activity.
Camp Adventure, a program run by the University of Northern Iowa, sends American college students to American military bases around the world where they run summer camps, give swimming lessons and work as lifeguards.
"We are all over the world," said Jewel Condon, a junior from University of Northern Iowa. "We offer different programs from day camp and aquatics programs to special programs where campers will go camping for an entire week."
Camp counselors attend a 40-hour training program back at school. They learn the necessary skills to run the camp, along with games, activities and songs to entertain the children.
"This is my second summer in Seoul," said Condon, who manages the aquatics program. "I came here last year and liked it so much so I decided to come back."
Camp Adventure dates to 1985, when it was a pilot project at the University of Oregon. Korea was the first country that hosted Camp Adventure back then, with pilot camps at Yongsan, Daegu and Busan. Now, hundreds of students from more than 80 colleges spend their summers with children at military installations and U.S. embassies.
"This is my third year," said 10-year-old camper Sherrika Howell. "I like swimming and playing with friends."
This year's camp, which averages more than 100 children each week, started in June and will run through mid-August. Children and counselors spend the mornings participating in activities such as sports, games, and arts and crafts. In the afternoon, they usually head to the pool.
"I like going on the field trips; we go to fun places," said 9-year-old Jade Jordan during an afternoon at the pool.
Thursdays are reserved for the field trips. So far, campers have toured the Joint Security Area, visited the COEX Aquarium, spent a day at Everland theme park and the indoor amusement park Lotte World, and splashed it up at Camp Humphreys' Splish and Splash Water Park.
"I love to travel and I love hanging out with kids," said Katie Kuta, a University of Iowa student and director of Yongsan's Camp Adventure. "I'm doing both of those for Camp Adventure. I can't think of a better way to spend the summer."