By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsJanuary 30, 2017
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Jan. 30 2017) -- The annual Young Americans' three-day workshop hosted by SKIES Unlimited was held from Jan. 23 to 25 for the youth members of Camp Zama in grades third through 12th inside Arnn Elementary School's cafeteria on Sagamihara Family Housing Area.
The fourth day, Jan. 26, it was their performance night to showcase their achievements in front of their families, friends and the community members.
The program included choreographed dances, musical performances and a series of hit songs from a various genres.
Kamanelelehua Clemens, 11th-grader at Zama American High School, said she practiced dance routines, choir, improvisational acting and vocal techniques during the workshop.
Kamanelelehua said she was able to relate to the members of the Young Americans during the workshop because they also move around like herself.
"We bonded a lot over small talks," said Kamanelelehua.
Kamanelelehua said not only did she make friends, but also she became more comfortable and confident to express herself in front of people during the workshop.
"I think it helps me over all," said Kamanelelehua.
Kamanelelehua said she can feel changes in herself from being shy and quiet to being happy to sing in front of people throughout the experience.
Skyler Flores, fourth-grader at Arnn, said he learned not to be scared on stage, to have confidence in everyone and himself, and to cheer on everyone whether the person did good or bad.
Skyler said he has been participating in the workshop for three convective years.
"I really wanted to do it," said Skyler.
"I'd recommend this to anybody who loves acting and dancing," said Skyler.
Nathanael Padilla, member of The Young Americans, said being a Young American is to find passion in music, dance, acting and choral singing, and is also to encourage the kids to do the same.
The kids know that the purpose of the workshop is for them to have fun and to step outside the comfort zone.
"They get to have fun even if they mess up," said Padilla, "they know this is a safe zone for them to try new things."
Padilla hopes the kids take away that it's ok to be different.
"It's ok to be unique," said Padilla.
Corkey Lee, associate director for The Young Americans said it takes "the will power" to step outside the box.
Lee said he and his team encourage the kids to try something new that they might fail at but that is ok.
"All of us have each other's back," said Lee.
Tatum Clark, 8th-grader at Zama Middle School, said she felt she was automatically filled with the energy to go on to dance and sing as soon as she saw the people who came out to support her.
Tatum said the most challenging part for her was when she played a drum solo in front of the choir but she felt she was getting to express herself.
"It was great," said Tatum, "I felt good about it."