2019 DOKDO CAMP (2019.08.08-10)

Have Dokdo in mind, Bring Korea to the world!

VANK members from various backgrounds participated in 2019 Dokdo Camp. This year, marking the 11th anniversary of VANK Dokdo Camp, we visited Ulleugndo and Dokdo from the 8th to 10th of August. Especially this time, three foreign VANK interns from the United States and France joined the camp with us. Three days at the camp was a short time for us but we had such a great memory being together in Ulleungdo and visiting Dokdo. Shall we go take a look at our memories at 2019 Dokdo Camp?

By the way, I am Hyeonjong Kim and I joined the camp as a staff at VANK. On this VANK Story, I would like to tell what our members did at the camp and the places we visited in Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Also, I interviewed our three foreign interns about how they had felt about the camp.

Day 1) 2019.08.08. Feel and Learn about Dokdo in Ulleungdo

Some members gathered at the VANK office in Seoul the day before the first day of the camp. We took a bus at 11PM from Seoul to Pohang, in which we took the ferry to Ulleungdo. After we had breakfast in Pohang, all the camp members have arrived at the ferry terminal. The weather was nice and the ocean was still and calm so it took about three and a half hours to Ulleungdo from Pohang by ferry, and we gathered around to have lunch.

In the afternoon, our members were separated into two groups and one group visited the Dokdo museum while the other group visited the Dokdo Observatory. Even though the way to the museum was steep and the weather was scorching hot, we eventually arrived at the museum.

We listened to the curator’s explanation about Dokdo’s general information and had a look around the museum. We could feel and learn about Dokdo’s history and about the people who have protected Dokdo for years. After the tour, we headed to the Dokdo Observatory, which took about five minutes on a cable car. As we went up the stairs to the urban observatory, we could look down the spectacular view of the beautiful island Ulleungdo. Sadly because of the fog on the sea, we were not able to see Dokdo from the observatory, but we took gorgeous pictures with the view of Ulleungdo’s beautiful coast and kept our memories of the coast in our minds.

After the tour, we headed to our resort and had a delicious dinner. In the evening we held our orientation of the camp and listened to the lecture by Gitae Park, the founder of VANK, and lastly we had our group activity.

Mr. Park held the lecture titled as “Dokdo in our hearts, VANK Peace makers’ great challenge!” From the lecture, we could learn about the dreams of VANK and Korea, and we also got closer to our foreign interns who also joined the camp. We could talk about our dreams and share our thoughts toward changing the world.

Lastly, we had a group activity with the theme of ‘How can we tell the world accurately about Dokdo, the East Sea, and the Rising Sun Flag?’ Many ideas came out from our five groups and let’s take a look at what our members have thought!

PO1NT (Group 1)

We presented about the Rising Sun Flag regarding it’s imperialistic and war criminal character that we should know and tell the significance of the Rising Sun Flag.

하L (Group 2)

We set up a plan on banning the use of the Rising Sun Flag in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Koreans who are planning to visit Tokyo during the Olympic season should tell the people by using goods made to let people stop using the Rising Sun Flag and also by telling the people via social media to stop the use of it.

반크하3 (Group 3)

We wanted to tell the truth of the Rising Sun flag to the people who do not know about the Rising Sun Flag and to people who try to idealize it. We came out with diverse ideas such as teaching the people regarding the problem of the Rising Sun Flag, or conducting campaigns like handwriting challenge via social media, or conducting street campaigns like using placards, posting announcements, and flash mobs.

강치는 우리마음에 있조 (Group 4)

We wanted people to know accurate facts about Dokdo by producing wireless earphones. We wanted to provide a magnificent idea by using the wireless earphones and its case to present Dokdo and Korea.

5늘밤 주인공은 우리조 (Group 5)

We may produce goods regarding the ban of the Rising Sun Flag and conduct social media challenges by posting pictures with the goods we’d made. Also, we wanted to use the profit to post an advertisement on Times Square about banning the use of the Rising Sun Flag.

Each idea was brilliant and we could see the passion that our members had, to tell the world about Dokdo, the East Sea, and the truth of the Rising Sun Flag.

Day 2) 2019.08.09. Having Dokdo in Mind, Bringing Korea to the World!

On the second day of the camp, we visited Dokdo at first hand. Actually we had to entirely postpone our camp itinerary from 7th~9th to 8th~10th because of the typhoon. All the ferries from Pohang to Ulleungdo and of course from Ulleungdo to Dokdo were canceled on the original date of departure, the 7th. However, as all the VANK staff worked hard to move the schedule to the next day, the weather got nicer and the typhoon had dissipated. Therefore, we were all able to visit Dokdo on the 9th.

At 8:30, we got on board the ferry, El dorado, and we all prayed for the sea route to Dokdo to be calm and safe. After two hours on the ferry, we could catch a glimpse of the beautiful island Dokdo, and in a few minutes, we could approach the island and land at Dokdo. The actual landing at Dokdo was breathtaking as from the old saying, ‘A thousand hearings are not worth one seeing’. The shining sun and the astonishing ocean perfectly fit the view of Dokdo. As all the groups gathered around to take a group photo and we all shouted “Having Dokdo in Mind, Bringing Korea to the World!” Even though we could only spend about thirty minutes on the island, we looked around the island and took as many pictures as we could.

After we got back to Ulleungdo, we had bulgogi for lunch and headed back to the resort. Then, we prepared for our second group activity. With all the feelings we had with entering Dokdo. all the members prepared for the performance we were going to held after dinner. The performance was about performing a play regarding Dokdo, East Sea, and the Rising Sun Flag. All of the performances had the dreams and souls of VANK, of Korea, and of the members of the camp.

1. PO1NT (Group 1) performed a short play by making a shirt to tell people the truth of the RIsing Sun Flag.

2. 하L (Group 2) performed as if they were in a international class with students from around the world, telling them that Dokdo belongs to Korea.

3. 반크하3 (Group 3) presented a play informing foreign musicians who has been using without noticing the facts regarding the truth about the Rising Sun Flag.

4. 강치는 우리마음에 있조 (Group 4) performed by comparing a girl taking away a boy’s belongings to Japan trying to seize Korean territory.

5. 5늘밤 주인공은 우리조 (Group 5) presented by showing a contest between the use of East Sea and the use of Sea of Japan.

Lastly, all the members wrote an essay with a topic “Dokdo is ______”. As this was the last activity of our camp, everyone tried their best on writing essays.

Day 3) 2019.08.10. Experiencing Ulleungdo

The members gathered at the auditorium after packing up all the belongings. On the last day of the camp, first thing we did was to present an award for the teams who did their best on the camp and for the individuals who had written great essays the day before. Especially this year, for the first time through the history of the Dokdo camp, the French foreign intern, Clara Dannepond has won the 1st prize! She presented her essay to our camp members saying that ‘Dokdo can inspire the World’ and ‘Dokdo is a Freedom Fighter.’

The last thing we did was to write our dreams on sticky notes and attached them to the world map. We could find out how astonishing dreams the members had of their future and for the future of the world.

As we checked out from the resort, we hopped on the bus for a tour around the beautiful island, Ulleungdo. On March, the round trip of the Ulleungdo became possible as all the road sections were opened, so we could save some time. One of the most memorable places of the island was the Nari Basin, located in the middle of the island. Nari Basin is made by Seonginbong’s past volcanic activity and is a unique place to get the view of flat land in Ulleungdo. The members could experience the traditional houses where people in Ulleungdo had lived years ago.

After the tour, we arrived at the Jeodong ferry terminal on the east coast of Ulleungdo and headed back to Pohang. At around 5:30 PM, we landed in Pohang and went home safely. Even though it was a short three-day trip, the camp was special to all the VANK members who participated the camp and they could feel the essence of Dokdo by sharing common dreams and goals. As the old saying, “Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.”, the camp for us was a chance to move forward with our dreams in our hearts!

Have Dokdo in mind, Bring Korea to the world!

P.S. I could interview our three foreign interns who participated in the camp. Shall we go have a look at how they felt about the Dokdo camp?

Sean Poteet, U.S.A.

I would say the best part of the camp was meeting all of the other campers and seeing their devotion to the cause of educating the world about Dokdo. Visiting Dokdo is perhaps one of the greatest honors and privileges I have been able to receive in my time at VANK. To me this island represents the years of pain Koreans have endured, but at the same time represents the peace and progress they have been able achieve despite adversity. I know that the future will bring a more knowledgable international community that recognizes Dokdo as Korea’s territory.

Jessica Washington, U.S.A.

My favorite part of the Dokdo Camp was team-building with my team. The activities often had to do with developing strategies to help people understand the sentiment that Korean people have towards Dokdo, the East Sea, and the Rising Sun Flag. I felt that learning about all of this was not just fun, but I could also connect many ideas about America with the topics that we were focused on. Imperialism and colonialism runs deep in many countries, and knowing more facts about Korea and being able to connect them to my home country was very helpful. In the US, I feel like we don’t learn about other countries enough if it does not involve the US in some way. Having the opportunity to learn specifically about these issues has broadened my horizons greatly and has given me a stronger desire to learn about other countries’ histories. My teammates were all also very helpful and insightful, which only enhanced the experience that I had during the camp. I believe that learning about Dokdo, Ulleungdo, and Korean history in this way has been an eye-opening experience for me, and I hope that many young people get to experience the same thing!

Clara Dannepond. France

I didn’t know what to expect from Dokdo camp, but what I experienced during my 3 days in Ulleungdo and Dokdo was far beyond my expectations. Not only the islands were magnificent, but also the team work we did to warn the world about Dokdo issue was highly interesting. Being paired with Korean middle school, high school and university students and share our ideas and thought about Dokdo was a rewarding experience. The camp was very constructive as we could share our ideas freely and come up with strategies to fight for Dokdo, the East Sea or the rising sun flag. I could also see how Koreans and VANK members are implicated in the process, as even middle school students were giving very great ideas to help VANK actions. I don’t think French middle school students would be that implicated in such a difficult issue, so I showed me the will of Koreans to always fight for independence from Japan. The trip itself was beautiful, we had a great time visiting Dokdo and Ulleungo, trying traditional food and to see the nature. I didn’t expect Ulleungo to be such a paradise island. I wish every Korean and foreigners to have the chance to visit Ulleugdo and Dokdo, first because it brings a lot in the understanding process of the Dokdo issue, and also because the sea and the nature are truly amazing.