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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan


Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

By Sgt. Michael Wiener | | July 7, 2000

Twenty-seven air station children spent the week in the woods getting high -- a natural high that is.

The mentors and students of the Drug Education For Youth program stayed at the Tokuji campground near Tokuyama learning about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, conflict resolution, leadership, teamwork concept, how to resist peer pressure and problem solving skills.

"DEFY is an important program,? said Sgt. Cecelia Salter, program assistant director.  "We not only teach the children not to use drugs, but that by not using them, they can set and reach goals."

The classes were taught by the mentors in a "fun" way, according to Salter.  Though in a classroom environment, the children were always involved.

"I?ve learned that drugs are very dangerous, and I'm going to stay away from them," said John Kayanan, 10.  "If someone ever tries to get me to use drugs, I'll say, 'No way, man.  That stuff's for losers.'"

After waking at 7 a.m., the children folded their futons and bedding, performed morning clean-up and went to the cafeteria for breakfast.  Activities and classes followed.

"The curriculum was taken from the program developed through the Drug Reduction Task Force," said Gunnery Sgt. Joe Sturdivant, camp director.  "It?s a presidential strategy implemented by President Clinton to reduce drug use in America."

Some of the activities included designing a DEFY flag, writing a song or chant and performing a skit.  All of the activities centered on what DEFY stands for and what the children learned throughout the week.

"(The mentors) have made this a lot of fun," said J.J. Abad, 9.  "We play games and learn at the same time.  I've learned that I don?t have to be bothered by peer pressure; drugs are bad; and I don?t need them."