In 2017 the TANOSHII Fun Camp theme was the “Japanese American Experiences”. 2017 was the 75 th Anniversary of one of the most trying times for our Issei and Nisei, World War II and the “Concentration Camp” experience. We wanted our campers to learn about what the young kids experienced during WWII and in the Concentration Camps. We had a home work assignment where we asked each camper to place themselves in the same situation on May 3, 1942 when the government issued the “Executive Order 9066” and told all persons of Japanese ancestry will be evacuated from their home by 12:00 noon May 9, 1942. The people were told they must carry their own personal property. Our campers were told to pack a suitcase and place items they would take, if they were told they were going into a concentration camp. A few of the items from our campers included: the “Pokemon Cards, Teddy Bear, Photographs, Clothes, iPad, Board Games and Deck of Cards. In another project, reminding the campers that the kids in the concentration camps did not have the toys and electronic games that they have now we asked the campers to create their own games and toys. We gave each Team the afternoon to create their own game or craft activity with miscellaneous items placed in their Team Box. The result was quite impressive and reflected the creative mind of the campers.
The campers trace back to their roots to the Issei and Nisei generations and discussed what prefecture in Japan they came from. We had a map of Japan and asked each camper to find out where their ancestors came from in Japan. From they learned more about their heritage and roots. Knowing that some of the campers had ancestors other than Japanese, we also had a map of the world, where they were able to point out where, on the world map their ancestors came from. We learned that we had campers from various places in Europe, South America and Asia.
On Wednesday the camper took a field trip to Little Tokyo. We had the campers perform a scavenger hunt, seeing if they can recognize some of the “old buildings’ in Little Tokyo. The campers visit the Japanese American National Museum and saw the special “barrack” display and other displays from the World War II and Concentration Camps. The campers had a chance to see The Go For Broke Monument and see the thousands of names of our WWII Veterans of the 100th Battalion and 442nd and MIS. Many of the campers were able to see and make copies of their relative’s names on the monument.
On Thursday we had a special guest that talked to the campers. Ted Inose was 8 years old when he and his family was sent to the Rohwer, Ark concentration camp in 1942. He talked about his experience as an 8 year old in the concentration camp. The talk was very interesting and all of the campers were quite interested and asked some very good questions. At the end, everyone had a better understanding of what the life of a 8 year old in the concentration camp was like.