This past week, Ishinomaki Christian Center (ICC) supported the New Life Center in hosting a basketball camp "Shoot the Rock" (this is a pun off Ishinomaki, which means rolling rock) for elementary age children at a local school. As basketball is my favorite sport, I ended up being the main staff member from ICC that was at the camp the most. There also became apparent a need for a girl staff as there were a good number of girls there and the rest of the staff were all guys.
Throughout the whole experience, I was not too sure of my role, but I learned to let go and pray that I would be open to seeing where I was needed. There were 40 kids that attended the camp over a period of 3 days. I wrote some experiences from each day below. It was joy to work with the long term staff at the New Life Center and get to know them better throughout the course of the camp.
|First day meeting coaches|
Today was an interesting time as I ended up being the only girl staff for the basketball portion of the camp. As I introduced myself, they all gathered around and exclaimed excitedly over me and the basketball that was happening. But then as they started to ask me questions, I stumbled to reply in broken Japanese. They giggled to themselves and ran off leaving me wondering how the rest of the day would proceed. It was a struggle from there on, especially as the American staff kept asking me to translate and my brain would/could not function and explain how to do anything beyond single words here and there. Despite this regression in communication, one girl came up to me during our first break and ask me how teach her how to dribble better. From that point on, she was my constant companion and talked to me constantly.
This day went much better with the other girls that I worked with. Their respect for me went up when they realized that I was there again and was pushing them to be better players. It was fun to see how the those who had practiced were progressing in their skill level. The initial shyness had worn off as well and the kids made the day their own. This was the last day for my particular friend A-chan as she wasn't going to come the last day. So she spent as much time with me as she could. It was enjoyable to listen to her chatter and when I didn't understand, I would ask and she did her best to figure out how to explain it. It was humbling and amazing to be able to get to know her and see her desire to communicate with me.