Category Archives: GCD

Van der Poel Christmas Party 2017 (Community engagement)

On December 2nd, 2017, I have participated in the Van der Poel Christmas party as a part of my service activity. I have been joining Van der Poel since I was in 9th grade and it was my 2nd year for me to take part in the event.

The Van der Poel is a community service team that works towards the welfare of children in two local orphanages. Throughout the year, the Van der Poel members are involved in a number of activities and that benefit the children. This is not only the Christmas party (major event held at YIS) that I have participated but there are some other activities such as going to strawberry picking, Ice skating and going to visit their homes. The team also organize an event such as preparing for and running a booth at a Bazaar held twice a year at one of the homes.

To organize and to be successful at heading the Christmas party event, we had to work hard on collecting funds. There were several ways we collected it. First, the team had collected found by going around the classroom and asking if the students can found any money for the events. We always visited each classroom for two weeks and at the end of the week, we were able to collect 319,476 yen in total. Before we had started the party we also worked hard on decorating the place, wrapping the present, and also went to shopping for filling in the stocking with snacks and sweets for every two homes for the children to enjoy. To do this, we were separated into groups (People who are going to wrap the present and people who are going to go shopping). I was in a group where I went to shopping for getting the snacks for filling in the stocking which I also did this for preparing the last year’s Christmas party. After we were done decorating the room (cafeteria), we were ready to hold the party.

I personally felt the most challenging part of this event was to talk to little children who came to the party. This was because I do not usually talk to a little kid and also I am the youngest in my family member. Furthermore, since I was talking to people who are not living in the same environment as me, I was very anxious if I say something that made them feel sad. Although, I think by going to this event, it had to lead me to grow to be more confident in especially my communication skills. This is because I was able to speak to people I have never talked to before and was able to know and realize that although there are children who are not living in the same environment as my self, they are not very different.

Being part of Van der Poel had made me look at the world in a different way. By taking action on participating in events and activities, it had made me think how those activities can really lead to help people who are in needs of those supports. Over these two years, it had taught me how it can lead to supporting people but also made me personally feel how it can be very enjoyable with joining a service activity. Also, since I already had interested in joining Van der Poel, I was able to enjoy contributing to this service group and had led me to change in different areas of skill that are required academically. I am planning to join Van der Poel next year as well.

G9 Expedition : Niigata (GCD Wilderness Engagement)

From October 17 to October 21, we had a expeditions week. During this week, I went to Niigata as one of the Grade 9 expeditions. This year, I did a lot of new things and some were really challenging. Likewise, we had some keywords we focused on which was leadership, resilience, responsibility, and self-reliant. By focusing on these keywords, we made some goals that we wanted to achieve over this trip. I made some goal that was based on becoming responsible and self-reliant. One of my goal I wanted to achieve while this trip was to be responsible for my own stuff. This was because, during this trip, we had to carry our own stuff that will last for three days. Since we had to hike for three days with two days staying in the tents, I was a little bit worried. Furthermore, this was my first time for me to do a hike for long distance and at the same time staying in the tent without getting a shower for two days was really new for me. However, I think this experience was really good because I learned many new things.


After we arrived in English adventure (which we stayed on Monday and Thursday) we had to pack our stuff that will be with us for three days that includes our clothes, warm stuff, etc. However, I had to really think what I will need to bring since we had to carry our own stuff while doing the long hike. At first, I thought to carry heavy things will be tiring so I want to keep it light as possible, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave things behind that will be needed while doing the hike. Although It took time for me to pack, I was able to manage myself to pack my stuff that has good weight I can carry throughout the hike.


niigata-expedition-2016-gopro-1-1060040-xlAs we started the hike, the trail was very slippery and had many steep hills that made us really tired. However, at some points on the trail, we had a water break that made all of us have the energy to walk. On the way, we ate lunch that we carried and after we walked about 6 hours, we were able to make it to the first campsite. Although I was very tired and wanted rest a lot, we had to set up our tent. I hadn’t set up the tent for a long time so it was a bit challenging but once I was able to set it up, I felt accomplishment.


Experiencing this first-day hike, I think I was able to be more responsible and self-reliant. This was because even the trail had many steep hills and was very slippery, I was able to carry a very heavy bag by myself. Also even I was really tired after the hike, I was able to set up a tent without resting a lot. I think what I learned from this will be helpful at other times. For example, setting up the tent was challenging but I was able to put it up by taking time. I think later in life, I will have a time that I need to challenge myself but I think I can get over by taking time.


niigata-expedition-2016-6374-xlThe second day hike was also really challenging. There wasn’t a lot of steep hill as the first hike but there was a lot of downhill. Since before the hike, English adventure staff said that downhill will be harder than uphill, I was a bit nervous. As we walked the downhill I slipped a lot. Also, I got my legs into a mud that made my legs really muddy and I had to deal with it until I got to the campsite. Even I was complaining sometimes, I was able to walk all the way and after we hiked for about 5 hours, we arrived at the second campsite. This day we also set up the tent, but since we already did it before it didn’t take a lot of time as before.



From this second day hike, I think I was able to be more self-reliant. This was because even I put my legs in the mud and got really muddy, I was able to deal with it and walked about more than an hour. If I had this experience before the hike, maybe I wasn’t able to walk for that long with muddy feet. Because having this experience, I think I was able to be more responsible with my own stuff without bothering or having other people help me.


Overall, this expedition was the really good experience that taught me many things. I was able to be more responsible and self-reliant. I used to think hiking and staying in the tent will be really challenging. But as I did this camp, I was able to learn a lot and new things I had never thought of. I think think this was a really good chance for me because I wouldn’t think of doing this with my own thoughts. However, I actually feel like I want to do this again. This is because it made me be more confident and be more risk-taker. This means that even there is the really hard moment in my life, I need to challenge myself before deciding I can’t get do it. Lastly, I think the things that I learned by being on this expedition, will be useful in some other context. This is because by going to this trip, I learned a little bit of surviving skill meaning whenever I am in an emergency situation I can use that skill. This trip was really fun and exciting but at the same time, there were a lot of moment that were really challenging.