By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsMay 3, 2016
CAMP ZAMA, Japan ( May 3, 2016) - "Camp Zama is special," said Maj. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, commander of U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward), in his remarks at the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony held April 29 at the Camp Zama Community Club.
"I've had a really neat 24 hours," said Pasquarette, speaking of attending the annual Youth Recognition Ceremony, the night before. "It's because our volunteers make a difference to provide top-notch services for those who need it."
Regan Andersen, 15, volunteered over 220 hours at community event within the past year - volunteering at base's Child Development Centers and off-base orphanages- was named the Military Youth of the Year for Camp Zama.
"It was amazing feeling after I got over the shock," said Regan, "it felt like a big accomplishment."
"I enjoy helping others; being there for the community, seeing happy faces.
"I volunteer because I love it," said Regan.
Loretta Contreras, facility director for Camp Zama's Child Youth and School Services, said the Youth Recognition Ceremony is about recognizing youth who contributed so much to their community and peers.
"It is also about recognizing the parents, the staff members and everybody who supports the youth," said Contreras.
Volunteering experiences help youth see that by giving without receiving or expecting anything back is a great life lesson, said Contreras. Youth develop great confidence within themselves and learn skills they might not learn elsewhere.
At the annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, hosted by Camp Zama's Army Community Service, the Regan and other adult volunteers were recognized for their contributions to the community.
Regan was awarded Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year; Kim Davis was awarded the Commander's Choice Award; Melanie Kincaid was awarded the Merited Volunteer of the Year; Mary Jansen was awarded Honored Volunteer of the Year; Janetlee Hurley was awarded Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.
Hurley, who said she volunteers wherever she is needed including church, Girl Scouts, Zama Community Spouses' Association and at the local elementary school, especially enjoys opportunities to have face-to-face conversations with youth to get them away from electronics, computers and TVs.
"I have really a strong feelings about keeping old fashion values and sharing that with the youth," said Hurley.
"The main reason why I volunteer is to keep the youth connected and to help the youth develop the leadership."
Yolanda Hingel, community life officer for ACS, said volunteers make our great community even better, and they are celebrated each year in April because every contribution is so valuable.
"It is crucial that every contribution... big or small, is shown appreciation," she said.