CAMP ZAMA, Japan (April 30, 2020) – Camp Zama celebrated the Month of the Military Child with several interactive virtual challenges to encourage community participation amid COVID-19 concerns, the installation’s school liaison officer said.“Spirit Week,” held April 20 through 24, offered families the chance to submit photos and videos of themselves taking part in a different daily theme, wearing things like pajamas, costumes, “crazy” socks and hairstyles, and purple clothing and accessories.The event was an initiative of the “Community Immunity Team,” personnel from various Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation services and facilities who have been offering several alternative fitness and recreation activities since last month.“Our goal is to bring innovative programming to the community, and to boost morale during this time,” Lucinda Ward said.Ward said she felt everyone was very motivated and engaged in the event, particularly given the required social distancing and necessity to stay mostly indoors during the past several weeks.“I hope every child [who participated in Spirit Week] learned that something good can come out of every experience,” Ward said.The theme for the final day of the event was “Purple Up Friday,” during which community members were encouraged to wear purple—a show of support that indicates all branches of the military are supported—and submit a video that answered the question, “What does it mean to be a military child?”Joshua Ward, 12, a sixth-grader at Arnn Elementary School on Sagamihara Family Housing Area, Japan, was one of those who participated. In his video, Joshua admitted that one of the challenges of being a child in a military family is to having to move around every few years—he has been to four Army bases in four countries—and say good-bye to his friends each time.On the other hand, Joshua said, being a military child has given him “an opportunity to experience a lot of things in different locations, and have friends all over the world,” which non-military children may not get to experience.Jackson Kotleski, 8, a third-grader who attends Sagamidai Elementary School, a Japanese school outside the installation, said that it was hard to say good-bye to family and move overseas for the first time, “where everything seemed different from what I ever knew.”But Jackson said he soon realized he enjoyed learning new ways of doing things, from going to a local school and learning how to speak and write Japanese, to eating new foods and traveling on the public train system.Jackson’s sister, Jasmine, 10, a fifth-grader at Sagamidai Elementary, said she felt fortunate to be a military child for the chance to live overseas, learn a new language, and meet children from around the world.Jasmine said that although it was not easy at first to move to Japan from the environment to which she was accustomed, she eventually enjoyed experiencing a new way of life, making new friends, learning Japanese, and experiencing the local school life.“I was scared to join a new school in a language I didn’t understand,” Jasmine said. “Now I love Japanese school and I don’t want to leave.”Jasmine and Jackson’s mother, Jessica Kotleski, who herself grew up as a military child, said she wants her children to learn about the diversity of the world through their experiences and to keep an open mind, learn new things, and adapt to the unique situations that come with being part of a military family.“And most importantly, I want them to learn to be resilient, not only during good times, but during trying times as well,” Kotleski said.