Written by Hyeong-Jun Kim, Camp Fulbright Junior Staff ’10
Last summer, I participated as a Junior Staff member for the 2010 Camp Fulbright. I was excited but also worried at the same time about what I had to do. I really wanted to join the camp staff and gain a lot of leadership experience, but it was my first time to be a staff member. It meant I had to do better than any other camper. I had to be responsible and also not make mistakes. Being a good role model for the campers made me feel uncomfortable. At the camp, however, it was easier than I thought. Of course, my responsibility made me tired, but there were many people who helped me.
I’d like to introduce a story about a girl who was playing the piano alone. When I arrived at the ‘Sky’ which was what we called the auditorium, I heard someone playing the piano. I went to the piano and I found the girl who was playing. The song was so sweet that I waited until the song ended. After she finished playing, I asked why she was playing the piano alone. She said that it was too hard for her to talk in English and make friends with strangers. She seemed to be very shy so I wanted to help her, but I didn’t know how to help her. So I took her to other campers and let them talk to her. That night I told my fellow staff members about her and asked whether I did well or not. My fellow staff members said, “You should be more responsible. You are a staff member. Staff members help campers when they are in trouble.”
I regretted being irresponsible and decided to help her. The next day, I asked her a lot of questions to get her talking. Talking with me, she began to feel better. As she began to get along with other campers, she seemed to have confidence. At the end of the camp, she was a very friendly and sociable camper. When she thanked me for helping her, I was really happy.
The two weeks of the camp were very strenuous. But it was priceless not only for the campers but for me. During the camp, I was really busy and tired everyday. During the day, I had to help campers and staff members. At night, I had to join the meeting for the next day. After that, I had to study my school subjects. But I learned something very important. Volunteer work was not just giving but exchanging and adapting. When I helped others, I also learned important lessons.
I really appreciate Fulbright for inviting me to volunteer at the camp. I’m sure that Camp Fulbright is the best English program in Korea. I’d like to thank every Fulbright teacher and staff member and especially Vincent Flores, the director of the camp, for believing in me. It was a priceless experience.