Campbell River and Ishikari, Japan are celebrating a 30-year partnership that has offered students from both communities an educational and cultural experience they won’t forget.
It’s been 30 years since the Campbell River Twinning Society and Ishikari International Association signed an official proclamation declaring the two communities Sister Cities.
Coun. Andy Adams, who was recently re-elected president of the Twinning Society, said preparations have begun on how to mark the milestone.
“We’re looking at forming a committee to come up with arrangements for the 30th celebration,” Adams said. “We’re looking at potential delegations, including the Campbell River Pipe Band, going (to Ishikari) in September.”
Ambassadors from Ishikari were planning to come to Campbell River to take in the Canada Day festivities. However, many of the ambassadors will be wrapped in national elections to the upper house in Japan, said Adams, which may force the trip to be put off until later in the summer.
City staff and members of the Ishikari International Association have also discussed having past delegations come to Campbell River and vice versa.
Since the Sister City bond was formed, 850 youth from Campbell River and Ishikari have participated in either the year-long Senior Exchange Program for high school students or the Young Ambassador Program – a 10 day exchange for students in middle school and elementary school.
Campbell River’s senior exchange student to Ishikari this year is Daniel Henry, a member of the Wei Wei Kum First Nation and an avid snowboarder.
Adams said the judoka is having a fantastic year in Japan.
“He’s doing absolutely wonderful,” Adams said. “He’s going for his black belt in judo.”
Ishikari’s high school ambassador to Campbell River is Katsuhiro Ono, who has been in Campbell River since August and is in Grade 10 at Carihi. Ironically, Adams said when Henry and Ono spoke to each other over the computer Henry was speaking Japanese while Ono was replying in English.
Meanwhile, Adams said the Young Ambassador Program, which takes place during spring break, has been cancelled this year due to a lack of interest.
“It was cancelled due to a limited number of people who signed up,” Adams said. “We’re looking at other ways to make it more appealing and more affordable for people to participate in that program.”
For more information about the Campbell River Twinning Society and Ishikari go to www.twinningcr.bc.ca or Facebook, www.facebook.com/TwinningCR