Summer Plans

I just bought tickets for Japan. And South Korea. And I’m leaving THIS month :O

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This summer I am volunteering at an English immersion summer camp, USA Summer Camp, in JAPAN!! My university has a partnership with Guy Healy, Japan, the summer camp, and they sponsor around 100 college students (20 from my school) every summer to be camp counselors. Minus spending money and a few administrative fees here and there, the camp pays for it all- including airfare to and from Japan (and a bonus trip to South Korea to see my friend)! #score. I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity.

Guy Healy (second from right) with Caroline Kennedy, the US Ambassador to Japan.

“USA Summer Camp is a unique English camp experience bonding counselors from the United States with campers in Japan. About 100 counselors are selected and invited each summer to Japan to work with campers of all ages and in all parts of Japan.” Camps will consist of nine 3-day camps stretching 6-7 weeks starting early July and ending late August. American Counselors (ACs) will be “friends” who enjoy meals, recreation and free time with their campers. The AC’s responsibility is the campers.” That will be me!

Camps are held in 6 different locations throughout the country. I got my team placement and I am stationed in…

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And..

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Well those are the airports I fly in and fly out of. That means I won’t be at the same camp all summer. Which means… deep breath… I may be on the traveling team. DREAM COME TRUE!! I got an email asking me to select my homestay preferences (food allergies, etc.) during a time when I will traveling to a new camp location! That sounds like a travel team to me.. They say most counselors will be at a variety of venues.

I don’t think I’ve even heard of Nagoya.. My knowledge of Japan is fairly limited. In fact, I could probably count the things I know on one hand.
1. Earthquakes
2. Sushi
3. One of the most thriving economies in the world
4. WWII: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Nagasaki
5. Nuclear meltdowns
6. Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto
Okay.. one hand and one finger.

My goal is to expand this pathetic list majorly before I depart. It’s much more fun to visit places and actually know what you’re visiting.

I am so excited because:
1. I love working with kids
2. I get to teach English
3. I get to fly and use my passport
4. This is a summer camp venue

I grew up going to summer camp so this is near and dear to my heart. I’ve loved working with kids for over 10 years, and I have been fortunate to have many opportunities to do so! At 15 I went on staff at Turkey Hill Ranch Bible Camp for 3 summers. The first summer with my siblings: Renee and Derrek. 1936058_119031140777_6828619_n

The next 2 summers I went solo but made lots of great friends, especially at family camp.

At 16 they even put me as a counselor. That was an awful interesting experience. I was mature at 16 but I had no training and was not prepared… I had no idea what I was doing! I was counseling 7 girls, age 9-13, by myself.. and I was pretty much the same height as half of them.. :p

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July 2010

At 18 I spent the summer teaching Vacation Bible School (VBS) and 5-Day Clubs through Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). Before that I had 2 weeks of intensive training and 1 week of a practice run with supervision. I received amazing training and it gave me the confidence I needed to be able to share the gospel with kids. 534231_3884336383140_962624218_n

Also at 18, I flew out to L.A. (my very first plane ride!!) to volunteer with Summer Team Evangelism Partnership (S.T.E.P.). We attended training during the day and would put on Bible lessons and skits in the evenings in predominantly Latino neighborhoods. That is when I first decided to learn Spanish… y cinco años después.. 😀474483_10150905863560778_1667047773_o
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Now I’ll get to add summer camp in Japan!

How to stay in contact and updated about my travels:

I’m not sure what the internet situation will look like. At times I will be in hostels, other times I will be with host families. When I’m in Japan, I want to be in Japan, not constantly searching for internet to connect me back to the States. And when I do locate internet, I’ll probably spend that time skyping with my hubby :). #letsbereal

During camp days I’ll be busy but I will have some days off so I’ll try to use that time to write blog posts, post on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. If you need to get ahold of me, the best way is through Facebook messenger. If you want to follow along with my travels and camp experience follow me:
On Instagram @nataliemorell (personal account)
On Instagram @thehopefulwanderer (travel account, not updated as often as personal account)
Like my public Facebook page: The Hopeful Wanderer (a work in progress)
Find & friend me on Facebook
Watch my snap story
And follow me & bookmark this blog!

Departure date is set for the end of June. I excited to leave in less than a month!!

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