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-   -   Call for Volunteers (http://www.koreaontherocks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2618)

Hypoxic 05-31-2010 06:29 PM

Call for Volunteers
Hello all,

As some of you know, for the past year the KMPL has been trying to organize a program to help orphans and other underprivileged children in Korea. The focus is to provide these children with opportunities to have nature experiences through an ecologically-based and scientifically-sound program. This will include taking the children on hikes (single & multi-day), camping trips (single night and multi-day), visits to natural history museums (Seodaemun has a great one), green zones (like Seoul Forest), climbing lessons, and other outdoor related activities. The point is to provide the children with the opportunities to get outside and learn about the environment and about the ecology of their country. These children otherwise have little to no chance to get outside under such free conditions to see nature close up and to get their hands dirty.

Recent social science studies have begun to indicate that lack of contact with nature and lack of unstructured play are related to the decrease in the physical and mental health of children in developed and developing nations (Louv, "Last Child in the Woods"; Turner, et al. the Property & Environment Research Centre; the No Child Left Inside initiative). Orphans are much more likely to not have the opportunities to go into green spaces and enjoy unstructured play. In Korea, the most recent government studies show that the physical and mental health of children has seriously decreased, and much of the blame is put on excessive stress to perform in school and lack of unstructured outdoor play in natural settings. I'm particularly interested in this issue, and if you're bored enough, you can read the transcript of a speech I gave regarding the issue: speech

The KMPL tried to get this project off the ground last year, but we were tragically no match for the pseudo-science that spread a generalized ignorance toward swine flu, and the orphanages, though enthusiastic about the project, declined and cancelled their involvement. Luckily, the media is no longer touting swing flu, and so our project is starting to roll again.

The KMPL has made a partnership with an eco-camp in the Gapyeong area. This camp will be the grounds where we'll take the children for weekend retreats. Hopefully, the first retreat will be underway by the end of next month. In the meantime, we need some volunteer help this upcoming weekend.

A group will go to the camp in Gapyeong on Saturday, do landscaping work, prepare compost toilets, and swing some hammers. We'll be at the work doing the day, and by the evening we'll settle down, wash up, get some BBQs blazing, crack out some grub, drown some beers, and enjoy the fruits of our labour through full bellies, drunkenness, and stellar conversation. There's plenty of space for us all to sleep - there are trailers on the grounds, but anyone can tent or bivouac, or just pass out by a BBQ.

The next day, some of us will head into the national forests nearby to work out the trails for future hikes with kids. Of course, people can just get up and head back home if they like. There's a river nearby, with lots of water sport if that's your thing. There's probably even some climbing nearby.

So, if anyone is interested in and can join us this weekend, please let me know. We could use the help, and so could the kids. Note, however, that no kids will be at the camp this weekend; we'll just be doing work in order to help prepare the camp for our future trips with the kids.

I hope you can join us.

Let me know here or e-mail the KMPL [email protected].

Thanks. Be well and tread lightly.

bhylenski 05-31-2010 10:49 PM


Can you post the dates...this weekend June 5th/6th?

Where is Gapyeong, in relation to Seoul or people coming from out of town. Can you further some details about the weekend plans in July/August for the camps, any special skills or qualifications?....I know there are probably lots of Uni folks who are off work and can help out. I'd also love to be apart of it, can you fill us in a bit on which weekends or a rough idea...I'll be out of country for a month, but will be back in town by end of July and would love to do it.

Hypoxic 06-01-2010 01:18 AM

Yep, this coming weekend, June 5/6. Gapyeong is roughly 1.5 to 2 hours from Seoul to the northeast, in Gyeonggi province. There's a train station and a bus terminal, making the city accessible from pretty much every major land transportation port in the country.

No skills or qualifications will be necessary for when we start doing work with the kids, though it is possible that criminal background checks may be brought up. This is still an unknown but we'll do our damndest to get rid of these or at least make them necessary for all volunteers, not just the expat ones.

We're still in talks with the orphanage and hope to have the first trip off the ground by the end of July, and then make it a monthly thing. If volunteer support is large enough, we can perhaps make it more often.

Like mentioned, we won't limit the activities to the camp, and I'm particularly looking forward to taking the kids hiking, to natural history museums, and to other such green spaces and places of natural/scientific learning. I'd like to speak with some people about putting together a potential climbing program for interested kids, a program that will keep a focus on minimal impact.

This weekend, though, we just need some arms to swing hammers and kick shovels, mainly for the construction of compost toilets.

hnikbloom 06-01-2010 09:56 AM

This sounds absolutely amazing! I would love to be of any help I can. Unfortunately, I already made plans for this weekend but please let me know the next time you have something planned and I will be sure to attend!

Hypoxic 06-01-2010 07:25 PM


Originally Posted by hnikbloom
This sounds absolutely amazing! I would love to be of any help I can. Unfortunately, I already made plans for this weekend but please let me know the next time you have something planned and I will be sure to attend!

Thanks for your interest. I'll keep everyone updated via this thread. Actual events with the orphans will very likely appear on the KMPL's site first, though.

So far we have five volunteers for this weekend. :)

Nijm 06-02-2010 03:10 PM

I'm interested in the future dates. :) Please keep it updated .

Wally 06-02-2010 03:34 PM

This weekend is poor timing for me as well, but I'll keep my eye on this thread.

I'm . . . . not sure where I'd get a criminal record thingamabob from so lets hope that's not a requirement.

I've got working outdoor with kids in my CV. Then again, I moved to another continent after that, so that might look suspicious :P

sunnyshim 06-03-2010 03:09 PM

I know Gapyung a bit(actually it's my mom's hometown...and my grandma's hometown as well), I've been there several times...it's beautiful place. though I can't go meeting this weekend. I absolutely want to join this project!

Hypoxic 06-04-2010 01:20 PM

I'll be sure to keep everyone updated. Again, first updates will be on the KMPL site.

Regarding criminal background checks, those would likely have to be done via an embassy or directly from home. I'm in doubt that checks will be reguired, though it was mentioned and was a concern during the initial talks between KMPL and HOPE, and now our current parter in Suwon.

Canadian Grizzly 06-04-2010 02:33 PM

Hey Shawn,

Just came across the thread. Very interested in helping out. Already have plans for this weekend though that I can't break. I've done a lot of work back home in Canada and the USA with kids in the outdoors. Worked at a Special Needs summer camp in PA for three years as an 'Adventure Specialist' and another year and a half at an Outdoor Adventure Program for kids in the Canadian Correctional system doing 5-14 day trips. That's the short list. I could give you more if you want it!

In regards to the crim check, we all needed a clean one to get our E2 or higher Visas. Wouldn't that cover it?

I live in Busan, but I'm willing to travel for a good cause. Keep me posted.


Hypoxic 07-02-2010 04:22 PM

Just a heads up to let everyone know that I and a few other KMPLeaugers, and perhaps a volunteer or two, are heading back to the camp - which now has a name: Camp Gardens - next weekend (July 10/11) to do some more work on the grounds, work out some more lesson plan details for when we bring the kids, drink some beers, and hang out by a bonfire. Beauty, eh? This weekend trip will also include bike riding.

Let me know if you're keen. It's a tough place to find, so for anyone interested we'll have to work out a meeting place and then head off together. Again, I'll be riding a bike from the sunway stop to the gardens, so if you have a bike and would like to do that, let me know. Otherwise, it will be best to meet at said subway stop where I can describe how to get to the camp by the (very infrequent) local buses.

dangerflower 09-06-2010 04:05 PM

hi hypoxic,

i just saw this thread now, but would be interested in joining the crew. are there still events going on?

you mentioned that these activities are for underprivileged children/orphans in korea. are you working with one specific organization/orphanage, or are there options for which ones to work with? do you guys need volunteers for orphanages/volunteer groups in the seoul region (that's where i live)?

also, you mentioned in your first post that climbing lessons would be one way for people to volunteer. i'd be really interested in teaching climbing to young children, and creating some climbing experience for them. is there already a venue for this or do you need some climbing walls/gyms to partner up with? if so, i have an idea of some that may be interested...

thank you for letting me know!^^

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