By Pfc. Jim Choi (USAG Red Cloud Public Affairs)August 11, 2010
CASEY GARRISON, South Korea - "Do Dream" is the Dongducheon slogan and that may have been how students from the city were feeling when arrived inside the installation here for the one-day Dream English Camp July 23.
Many Koreans throughout the peninsula are curious about what is behind the mammoth perimeter walls that surround U.S. Army installations in South Korea. Forty-two Dongducheon students from 8 to 15 years of age who were selected for the tour based on their academic standing awoke on this day at the Dream English Camp to receive a tour inside the installation.
Aside from getting to look around behind the walls, many students were eager to test their English and many more wanted to attend but could not because of the limited number of spaces.
"Many friends of mine would like to participate in this English Camp to improve their English ability" said Kim Yoon-joo, a 7th grader from Dongducheon Girl's Middle School. "Luckily, I was chosen to join this program."
The United Services Organization at Casey Garrison has supported Dongducheon's twice-a-year English camp program for four years. The program gives middle and high school students from the city an opportunity to practice speaking English and experience American culture.
Lt. Col Richard Fromm, Casey Garrison commander, welcomed the students to the installation and even fielded a few questions about the U.S. Army and 2nd Infantry Division before sending the students out with their hosts - 21 Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment at Camp Hovey.
At first stop on the tour, Community Bank employee Yi Hye-won talked about the financial institution and showed the students American currency ranging from one dollar to one hundred dollar bills.
"Is there somebody who knows the first secretary of state in America and also the third president of the United States are'" she asked the curious students. Following a short silence, Kwon Ka-kyeong, a 6th grader from Dongducheon Sangyeon Primary School, confidently answered "Thomas Jefferson." She was delighted to collect a one dollar bill for answering the second part of the question.
In between serving the students a western-style lunch at the terrace outside the USO, the Soldiers were busy answering the student's never-ending barrage of questions. "What is that building for'" "What are they doing'" "Where are we going after lunch'"
While the students received an inside look at the U.S. Army others couldn't attend because of the limited space.
"More students wanted to join this program but there's a limit to come in here so I would like to bring more students later," said Kang Mi-ja, vice principal of Dongduchon Middle School. "Our students are interested in meeting western people and want to practice English. I think the students who are attending today are enjoying the tour."
Kim Yoon-ju, a 7th grader from Dongducheon Girl's Middle School, made good use of the opportunity. "I always want to practice my English but there's no place to practice," she said. "Me and my friends are interested in meeting western people to talk."
After lunch, the Soldiers escorted the students to Dragon Valley training area on Camp Hovey where they posed for individual and group photographs in front of an old tank.
"It was good time to show them how we live on base as Soldiers in Korea," said Pvt. Vicky Alexander, a petroleum supply specialist for the 1-15th Field Artillery Rgmt. "They can see our culture. I'm glad to let them know about our culture."