Camp Fuji hosts children from nearby orphanages
CAMP FUJI, Japan -- Marines and sailors hosted local orphans at their annual festival celebrating Easter and the spring season March 30 aboard Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan.
The festival brought together service members at CATC Camp Fuji and children from three nearby orphanages to promote friendship.
“The purpose of the event was to reach out to orphanages in the area and give these kids a chance to experience a different culture,” said Master Sgt. Bryan C. Compton, a food service specialist with Headquarters Company, CATC Camp Fuji.
During the event, children had their faces painted, ate pizza and cupcakes, and played games with Marine and sailor volunteers. They also received Easter baskets from the Easter bunny and went home with new toys, which they picked out for themselves and were paid for by donations raised by individual service members who volunteered their time and efforts.
“I like to get involved because I think it brings the kids a lot of joy and shows that people care about them,” said Compton.
The Marines benefit from volunteering for community relations events like this because it takes them out of their comfort zone, gives them a chance to experience a different culture, and provides an opportunity to show compassion to others, according to Compton.
“I am amazed with how many volunteers we got for the event,” said Cpl. Stephen N. Shorter, an administrative specialist with CATC Camp Fuji. “We got so many volunteers for the event that we were actually overstaffed, but I think the most important part is that so many are willing to give up their time for things like this.”
In the weeks leading up to the festivities, Marines and sailors volunteered individually to raise more than $2,000 to buy bicycles, tricycles, basketball hoops and other toys for the children.
“It is really nice to see the kids play and laugh with the (service members),” said Seiko Yoshikawa, the director of Seishin Children’s Home, an orphanage near Camp Fuji. “It is really heart-warming to be able to bring the kids to visit them because they have spent so much time and effort on their behalf.
“The children are all leaving with smiles on their faces from all the fun they had,” added Yoshikawa.