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Youth exchange promotes friendship, teamwork

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan

Students from Okinawa City, Achi Village and the Kadena Teen Center enjoyed games and snacks during and exchange event August 7, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The event gave these students an opportunity to build friendships and learn a bit about each other’s culture. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan

A Japanese student laughs during a game of dodgeball August 7, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The exchange event involved more than 25 combined students from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa City and Achi Village. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan

Students from Okinawa city, Achi Village and the Kadena Teen Center hold wrists as part of a teamwork game August 7, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The exchange event brought American and Japanese teens together to promote communication and friendship. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan

Students play a teamwork game as part of a Junior High School exchange event August 7, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The exchange event brought American and Japanese teens together to promote communication and friendship (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of the Kadena Air Base Keystone Club used verbal and physical communication skills to connect with nearly twenty fellow Japanese teens Aug. 7, at an event at the base’s Teen Center.

The program provided local teens with the opportunity to apply what they have learned about the English language, experience English culture and interact with members of Kadena Air Base.

“Our goal was to have two different communities come together and learn more about each other’s cultures,” said Ciara Melendez, Keystone Club volunteer. “We used the activities and games to help communicate with more than just words.”

Groups played multiple team-games in order to practice communication and conversation skills.

“I enjoyed the paper-rock-scissors relay race the most,” said Sota Okaniwa, Japanese Junior High School participant. “It was different from Japanese version. It was hard to find the right timing, but it was so fun.”

Exchange events like this provide Japanese youth with the opportunity to refine their English skills by practicing with native speakers. Students also get an opportunity to build friendships while learning about each other’s culture.

“Today was a lot of fun,” said Melendez. “I really enjoyed meeting and talking to the local teens. We’re all neighbors here on Okinawa so it’s important to take advantage of these types of things and learn as much as we can. I’m so grateful for having this experience and living here.”