By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsApril 30, 2014
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 30, 2014) -- April is recognized annually as the "Month of the Military Child" throughout the Army, and all month long, Camp Zama's youth had the opportunity to attend various events to recognize all that they do to support their community.
One such event, the "Volunteer Recognition Ceremony" highlighted a few youth who volunteered their time and participated in various activities throughout the community, was held on April 2 at the Camp Zama Community Club.
Paris Hingel, a youth volunteer awardee, said she participates in many volunteering opportunities such volunteering at church, babysitting, fundraisers and special events on Camp Zama.
"I love to do different things plus it keeps me busy," Hingel said.
Another event called "Kodomo no Matsuri" or the "Children's Festival" was held on April 26 at Dewey Park on Camp Zama.
Germaine Baldwin, director for Camp Zama's Child, Youth and School Services, said every year Camp Zama host one large event to support MMC.
The festival's activities included face painting, bouncy castles, a petting zoo, live musical entertainment from Zama American High School students, dance performances, Taiko drum beating (Japanese drumming), canoeing on the Camp Zama pond and free food and snacks.
Baldwin said the goal of the festival was to show military and civilian children, alike, that they are appreciated.
"We understand how much they sacrifice on a daily basis."
Cheryl Rendon, a former military child and coordinator of Camp Zama's Exceptional Family Member Program, said being a military child (can be) somewhat challenging and stressful at times.
"I was given the opportunity to (travel) the world," said Rendon, "and there was good and bad, but the good always outweighed the bad."
"It made me resilient."
"I can use the experiences of travelling the globe and experiencing different cultures to help me fit into any situation," said Hingel.
Other events, such as a community-wide "egg hunt" and several events at the childcare centers were held in support of MMC. The events concluded with a character parade held on April 30 at the Sagamihara Family Housing Area Child Development Center.