HomeNews

News Search

News

Youth share fun times at lock-in all-nighter

Okinawan children joined their American counterparts for an evening of bowling, games, arts and crafts, food and fun during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange Aug. 10. The lock-in began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day and promoted cultural awareness and friendship among the children.  The 18th Services Squadron and Chatan Lion’s Club sponsored the event. 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

Okinawan children joined their American counterparts for an evening of bowling, games, arts and crafts, food and fun during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange Aug. 10. The lock-in began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day and promoted cultural awareness and friendship among the children. The 18th Services Squadron and Chatan Lion’s Club sponsored the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

Jordan Holliday (left), son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Anton Engelmann, 1-1 Special Forces Group, Torii Station, teams up with Ryouji Takamine, one of the Okinawan children sponsored by the Chatan Lion’s Club, for a game of foosball during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange Aug. 10. The 18th Services Squadron youth center staff and the Chatan Lion’s Club organized the event, which began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day. 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

Jordan Holliday (left), son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Anton Engelmann, 1-1 Special Forces Group, Torii Station, teams up with Ryouji Takamine, one of the Okinawan children sponsored by the Chatan Lion’s Club, for a game of foosball during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange Aug. 10. The 18th Services Squadron youth center staff and the Chatan Lion’s Club organized the event, which began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

An American child takes on an Okinawan friend in a game of belly bumpers during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange held Aug. 10 here. Approximately 50 American and 40 Okinawan children bowled, played games, participated in team building activities and shared breakfast together the next morning.  
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

An American child takes on an Okinawan friend in a game of belly bumpers during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange held Aug. 10 here. Approximately 50 American and 40 Okinawan children bowled, played games, participated in team building activities and shared breakfast together the next morning. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

Teresa Witschen (center), 18th Services Squadron youth center manager, plays with Okinawan children during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange Aug. 10. The lock-in, which began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day, was organized by the 18th SVS youth center staff and the Chatan Lion's Club. 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

Teresa Witschen (center), 18th Services Squadron youth center manager, plays with Okinawan children during the Kadena and Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange Aug. 10. The lock-in, which began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day, was organized by the 18th SVS youth center staff and the Chatan Lion's Club. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nestor Cruz)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Rain was pouring Friday but that didn't dampen the spirits of the 90 children who gathered at the Kadena youth center for the Kadena/Chatan Town lock-in cultural exchange. 

Approximately 50 American and 40 Okinawan children bowled, played games, and shared slices of pizza and friendship well into the night. 

The lock-in, which began at 8 p.m. and lasted until 8 a.m. the next day, was organized by the 18th Services Squadron youth center staff and Chatan Lion's Club members. 

"We organized this activity to help promote cultural awareness for both American and Okinawan children," said Teresa Witschen, 18th SVS youth center manager. "The children are realizing they can still communicate with each other even though they don't speak each other's native languages. Kids are kids, no matter what country you're from. All they want is to have fun." 

Fun was definitely dished out in large doses as children attended an ice breaker activity at the youth center, participated in team building activities at the Nakayoshi complex, bowled at Skoshi Bowl, played games and did arts and crafts back at the youth center, and finally finished off with a breakfast of pancakes and cereal with newfound friends the next morning. 

Some children encountered unique challenges with the language barrier. 

"In many of the activities and games, I can communicate through expressions like happy or sad or I would try talking with my hands," said Ryuji Kaneshiro, one of the Okinawan children sponsored by the Chatan Lion's Club. "Sometimes I spoke in Japanese and even though the American children didn't know Japanese, they understood what I meant, like when I said 'oishi' during breakfast and they knew I meant the food was good." 

The cultural exchange lock-in proved to be rewarding for the children and a success for the youth center staff. 

"The lock-in was really good," said Jordan Holliday, son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Anton Engelmann, 1-1 Special Forces Group, Torii Station. "Bowling was the best part ... and it was really fun playing with the Okinawan kids. If they plan another lock-in next year, I'll definitely sign up." 

"It's great being able to stay up late and play fun games with other kids," said Dusty Koons, daughter of Master Sgt. Lawrence Koons, 18th Operations Support Squadron. 

More youth cultural exchange activities will be planned for the future, Mrs. Witschen said.