By Pfc. Lee Hyokang, IMCOMMay 21, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan treated Korean high school students to a little slice of Americana during the 2012 U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor English Camp, May 13-19.
A total of 64 students from all over the peninsula were selected for this year's program. They had the opportunity to live with, learn from and play with American host families for a week. They became more familiar with American culture and the U.S. Army base during the camp.
The Korean students attended Seoul American High School classes and enjoyed a pizza party at the Middle School Youth Center with their SAHS counterparts. They also toured U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys and the Joint Security Area. A picnic and graduation ceremony culminated the week, May 19.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jayme Winders, command sergeant major for the United States Marine Corps Forces Korea, 'adopted' two 17-year-old students from Daegu and had an unforgettable time.
"I had a wonderful time," said Winders. "I've been here a year and I can't think of a better event. We may be the only American family they ever really get to know and I hope that we made a good impression on them."
The English Camp is an annual U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor Program event. USFK staff spread the word about the program through local educational offices in Seoul, Taegu and Pyeongtaek. Students were chosen by local school boards based on their ability to speak English, GPA and their willingness to participate in a home stay program.
For 17-year-old Kim Jin-ju, being one of the few chosen for the week-long camp was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that became a lesson that she will never forget.
"I could well experience and appreciate American Family's cultural traits and virtues throughout the program," Kim said. "I hope to keep in touch with my host family and I really thank the U.S. Army for leaving me a priceless memory."