Last week Friday 18th and Saturday 19th of May were dedicated to the KB Hope Camp Orientation which took place at the Young Jong Sky Resort, at Incheon.
This 8-month mentoring program, hosted by the Korea Differently Abled Federation and sponsored by the KB Financial Group, consists in helping Youth with Disabilities to find and pursue their career with the support of University students mentors. Thus, every month mentors and mentees gather and exchange around different activities.
This first part was focused on self-discovery: middle school, high school and college students were present as Mentees and Mentors to get to know each other better.
Students were gathered by academic level: in the main room there were high school students, and in two other rooms we could find middle school students and college students. Different groups from 10 to 11 students were gathered around a table composed of a 'mentee-mentor' duo and sometimes a 'mentee - mentor 1- mentor 2' trio. All the mentors were University students and could have a disability are no disability.
Walking in the different rooms, what was interesting is that we could feel different atmosphere: the University students were definitely more studious.
The first 30 minutes were dedicated to the launch ceremony: there was a presentation of the program and mentor leaders of each team were also announced, mostly professors. Then, participants of last KB Hope Camp made speeches and some promotion videos were broadcast. A student also sang and everyone gathered for a collective picture. It contributed to make a friendly atmosphere.
In the middle of the morning started the first activity entitled ‘Get to know my mate’: each partner had a KB Camp manual with different games in it. For this activity they had to use a ‘dice app’ on their phone as well as a grid in the manual on which different questions were written. The goal was to roll the dice (with the phone), find the corresponding question on the grid and ask it to its partner. Every duo seemed to deal well with it.
Following this activity, the second game consisted in making a round table to introduce itself by using answers to the grid of questions. This game was arbitrated by the mentor leader. It was definitely a good ‘ice-breaking’ activity as everyone applauded and was laughing; there was a good cohesion and positivism.
At the end of the day everyone was relaxed and each 'mentor-mentee' duo was more at its ease.
On the second day, after a good breakfast, everyone gathered for the ‘Design Contest’: students had to imagine a slogan or logo at the image of the KB Hope Camp. Concentration and creativity was on and I was impressed by the artistic talent of some students with disabilities. Some were very autonomous and other needed more assistance but the most important is that each partner found good agreement sharing ideas and every drawing/slogan was unique. At the end of the activity we took pictures and it was lunch time.
One of the best parts, in my opinion, was the promenade on the beach with students entitled ‘the link between you and me’. The weather was perfect and it was a moment to take pictures, talk and relax. Students had a good time feeding gulls with shrimp snack!
It was the first time that I participated to this kind of event and from my French perspective I would say that a lot of associations in France are organizing events dedicated to social and professional integration of persons with disabilities such as disability employment forums or sportive events. For example, the association ‘Handi-Avenir’ broadcasts on its website mentoring offers from companies for students with disabilities and also organizes mentoring forums gathering companies mentors and work seekers with disabilities. Therefore, what makes KB Hope Camp a unique concept is the fact that mentors are students and not employers. Moreover, the age range is wider (middle school to university). It creates a different approach and proximity between the participants. Thus I will expose the several differences and elements I noticed:
Firstly, I think that the place played an important role in reflecting the goal of the event; it created an informal atmosphere and matched its image. The activities were well chosen for a first meeting: playful games in a casual atmosphere. From what I could observe everything was made to make new participants feel comfortable and motivated.
Then, mentors were really involved, patient, listening and caring with their mentee. In every duo there was something to give and to receive. This chemistry makes the event a success.
Regarding KODAF members, they made all their possible for the organization to be the best by bringing dynamism. I also personally got to know better some students during the activities, we had a good exchange; it was a rewarding experience for that.
What also particularly caught my attention is the application form of the participants: through what I read about what led them to apply for this program, participating to the KB Hope Camp is an opportunity for them to make new friends. Indeed, frequent messages were highlighting the fact that students with disabilities suffered or are suffering of not being well integrated at school and not having friends because of a misunderstanding of the others.
As a consequence, the program is a good answer to their words and makes total sense. Moreover, the long duration of the program enables students to build a deeper relationship. Some students can build a concrete professional plan; others can better define their interests in some fields. On top of that, is not only beneficial for students with disabilities but also for students without disabilities. I am pretty sure the KB Hope Camp will make students more confident about themselves and about what they aspire to.
Miss Marion Zerbib (Intern at KODAF)
My name is Marion Zerbib, I am a French graduate student in Business.
I am doing a 5 month internship at KODAF and I am in charge of writing reports about
events organized by KODAF.
Every writing is the result of my personal observation and reflects only my point of view.