September 12

Community Engagement

I have participated in the Van Der Poel Christmas Party on December 2nd, 2017.  This is my first year in Van Der Poel, and it is also my first year participating in the Christmas Party.  Christmas party is one of the major events held by Van Der Poel.  We invited 2 local orphanages to celebrate Christmas.

Van Der Poel is a service group that supports orphans by raising awareness on the orphanage problem in Japan, and collecting money and donating to the 2 local orphanages.



At the Christmas Party, we had a lot of presents, food, and decorations.  In order to collect the funds, we went to each grade and asked for donations/funds.  I visited the 1st-graders, and I taught about what Van Der Poel does, and why we need the money.  Doing this fundraising, I reflected that I should go to the 1st-grade class almost every day because 1st graders could not remember to ask and tell their parents about this.


We also filled the Christmas socks with tons of snacks and wrapped all the presents for the 2 local orphanage children and also decorated the room with balloons and origami.  It was hard for me to wrap some of the presents such as basketballs, but other people taught me how to do it. 


When the Christmas Party started, all the children came and we all played together.  I was able to get close to many children, but I was a little bit worried if I say something that might make the children disappointed since these children have many different reasons why they are in the homes.  I used many communication skills in this event to entertain the children. I thought the summer camp that I went to in the U.S. helped me a lot because I was the counselor in it, and I took care of 6 children at once.



This event helped me notice that the children in the Orphanages need support to do these kinds of major events.  I also felt proud of the Van Der Poel group and also the other service group outside of school that made this successful major event.  I was able to learn how to plan, collaborate and communicate at this event.

April 4

Wilderness Engagement

YIS Okinawa Expedition


The experience that I had during the 10th-grade expedition trip was doing an open water dive in Okinawa.  I have never dived before, but I am good at swimming so that is why I chose this expedition.  Before the trip, I used my research skills (information literacy) to study the open water diving book and take quizzes and the final test.  I also self-motivated myself to prepare for the big test and quizzes by thinking that I could dive with my friends and get my PADI certificate.


Before the trip, we went to a pool to practice the open water dive and learned how to use the materials.  I used my effective skills to focus and concentrate on what I am doing because you will never know what will happen underwater.



On the day we went to Ishigaki island, I managed my time by setting the alarm clock and woke up early to go to YCAT so that I would not miss the bus.  Then we went on the plane and landed on Okinawa. When we reached the hotel, we started to study for the quiz that is coming up.


Starting from the second day of the trip, we tried on the wetsuits and other pieces of equipment.  Then we went on the boat to go to an empty diving spot. In the first dive, we had to be able to equalize and get to the bottom of the ocean, then take the regulator off and on again.  We did practice before the trip, but it was deeper than the place we practiced, so I calmed myself and did the tasks. On the second dive, we had to get water inside our goggles and take the water out. I was able to do this tasks smoothly, and I had no problems except for seasick and shivering from the coldness.  At the end of the second day, we took a quiz.


During dives, we have to be in a pair to go underwater.  Underwater, we cannot talk but I used communication skills by doing the hand signs that I have learned in the PADI book.

On the 3rd day of our trip, I reflected on my 1st and 2nd dive and took a pill for seasick, and went on the boat.  The third dive was to use a compass to know where to go while swimming underwater. Then we had to take our mask off our heads and put it back on.  The mask was full of water so we had to take the water out by breathing out hard with our nose. I was able to do this task smoothly as well. On the fourth dive, which is the last dive, we had to get with our buddy and do a short diving trip without our instructor.  I was able to do this tasks but I was still shivering because the water was very cold. A the end of the 3rd day, we took a test, and I only missed a couple of questions. I, later on, reflected on what I missed and how I should do better if I go underwater again.



On the 4th day, we went to Taketomi island to look at the Okinawa houses.  I was walking around with 2 of my friends and we had 3000 yen in total, so we tried to get small dishes that cost less money so that we could eat at multiple places.  I used my critical thinking skills to do this. Then after the mini-trip, we bought souvenirs and packed our belongings. The next day, we went back to Yokohama.


Throughout the expedition, I learned that there may be risks that occur in nature, but if you get ready and organized it is going to be less dangerous.  After every dive, I should reflect to do better on the next dive and it is very important to use my communication skills when diving without the instructor.  I also learned about the beauty of nature, and how we should try to maintain it by recycling and not using plastics.  In total, it was a very exciting and adventurous trip.  A few months after the expedition, I got my PADI open water dive certification.