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201209.21Campsmile_all1We had 2-full day camp at Harumi with the first year students and ph.D candidate for our KMD project.  Though we have done some activities in the past several months, I thought it would be good for all of us to think through our Why.  So, in early September, I proposed to the students to go back to the basics and think again why we want to do what we plan to do for our project, i.e. philosophy and vision.    One student recommended to have a 2-day intensive camp for all the members to think about it and come to some agreement.  I thought it was a great idea and we set out to plan the 2-day camp.  It was difficult to find the dates that would work for all of us, and the only dates seemed to be the time KMD orientation for the incoming students was scheduled.  So we decided to hold the project camp nearby orientation venue  so that I could participate in some of the activities.

Some students found the hotel, made a necessary arrangement, decided on the schedule and informed all the students.  I like the fact that it was completely student-initiated and well arranged.  It is nice to have students who have had work experience, in particular, of managing project.  (In fact, the project camp was very well organized.)

I participated in the first part of the camp when each one of us  drew a picture of our own ideal state in 2 years and explained  philosophy/vision.  I was not able to join them the first night when they hit the Tsukishima area. (I was having headache and upset stomach and needed  good night sleep.)  I joined them at Tsukiji the second morning (early!) and we met over Latte, to talk casually, even with some incoming KMD students. Later, I was able to attend the first meeting on the second day when  they had the recap and made some comments.

It was a bit hectic as I had to go back and forth between the KMD orientation venue and project venue (3 blocks away), but I got new energy and enthusiasm whenever I joined the project group.

In the last session, I asked students how they found the camp. Overall comments were very positive.  They said that total  picture of what we are trying to accomplish got much clearer and they feel more confident.  I was glad to hear that,  as my thinking clarified and I have confidence in the students capability of initiating and completing the task.   It was great  that the whole camp was student-initiated, that I was able to participate in  some sessions, and that the students found it rewarding and beneficial.  I am delighted that the first camp was completed successfully and feel certain that students can do a lot themselves.

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