Bright faces of the young volunteers gathered for a youth forum.

Bright faces of young volunteers gathered for a youth forum.

Today was an exciting day in Korea. On May 5, Korea celebrates Children’s Day.

For Children’s Day, instead of being at a picnic or amusement park, hundreds of young students gathered at Jeon Nam University – Yeosu Campus to open their youth forum.

The forum focused on the theme “Youth Volunteerism for a Sustainable Marine Environment.” Over the next two days, the students will:

–          learn about the ocean and its related issues,

–          discuss what it means to become a “sea-tizen,”

–          do a study tour through the Yeosu Expo,

–          and brainstorm projects they can launch in the coming months.

We hope the young leaders can walk away with a greater vision for the world’s oceans and seas, and become advocates for volunteer service opportunities connected to the marine environment.

Young man helps with "Yes or No"

Sharing laughs with a young student.

I applaud and strongly encourage sea development programs and global volunteer opportunities such as those offered through Service For Peace.

Today I wanted to encourage all the young people to DREAM BIG and connect all their volunteer efforts to greater goals for their nation and for this world.

Enthusiastic youth shout YES they want to DREAM BIG!

Enthusiastic youth shout YES! We want to DREAM BIG!

The young people are growing up during a time of globalization and their minds are not divided by nation or by culture. Many spoke English, some had lived in America.  I see so much hope in this younger generation leading the way to building a world of peace.

It was an enthusiastic group.  Many are actively involved in service activities.

I asked if any have been to North Korea.  Some had for projects, some as tourists. Some raised their hands when I asked if they had relatives in North Korea.  I asked the group, “Do you want to join a service project in North Korea, and will you bring along all your friends?”  They enthusiastically responded, “YES!”

I am excited to see what they will post in the coming days. I am eager to read their pledge slogans on how to become responsible stewards of the ocean, and I want to spread their marine environment volunteer projects ideas.