Sailors from USS Cushing participated in two Community Relations organized by the Saipan Chamber of Commerce during their visit on Saipan recently.
The sailors spent time with the Boy Scouts Troop 912 and with the Special Education class at Oleai Elementary School as part of COMREL, a goodwill community activity that allow people of Saipan to interact with visitors and develop good friendship.
COMREL with the Boy Scouts
Last Monday, six sailors met with Boy Scout Troop 912 up at the Last Command Post for a hike up to the Banadero Trail. Oscar Camacho, troop leader, said “it was amazing how well the boys got along with the sailors. The boys asked the sailors so many questions and the sailors really enjoyed the interest and company of the scouts.
The chemistry was perfect, I hope we can do this again.”
The trail took the group up Suicide Cliff. OSSN Dominic Despues from Inglewood, California said the hike, ” It was really good to get out in nature. The beach is good but the mountains are an entirely different environment which are unique in their own special way, just like life, because everyone must chose his own path. From the top of the cliff you could see the valley and all pitfalls, vines, and obstacles you had to overcome to reach the top. I will never forget it. Some people can easily drive up the back side of the mountain, but for me, I must take the road less traveled because it is more fulfilling.”
The boy scouts felt that the sailors offered motivating and inspiring lessons for them during this short time spent together. Two older scouts learned of career alternatives and potential adventure in life taken by the sailors. The scouts were eager to hear all the stories of life in the Navy and of all the places that the sailors have traveled to.
OSSN Patrick Slocum, from Greenland, New Hampshire, will take back great memories from this COMREL. “It gave us the opportunity to relax and do something that I would never do again. I was in the Boy Scouts when I was younger and I know what scouting is all about – do your best and I wanted to be part of that message to the kids from Saipan. Even though we hadn’t known each other for very long we were treated like family.”
After a hard and tiring hike, the sailors took the troop to the ship and treated them to lunch in the mess hall followed by a special tour of the USS Cushing.
Singing with the Special Ed summer class
Four sailors met with the kids at Oleai early Wednesday morning. Special Education teachers Rebecca T. Scott and Esther Surban prepared songs and activities for the youngsters. They began the morning by standing in a circle and introducing themselves to one another. Joy Jose, of Concord, California, said “at first the kids were really shy but after about 20 minutes we were holding hands and singing together.”
“I noticed that the kids responded to the Hokie Pokie song because they could really move their body and get into the song,” said Jorge Vasquez of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The kids really enjoyed the company of the Navy men. The men were so giving of themselves to the kids and the kids responded to them really well. “It’s too bad we couldn’t spend more time with them, you really get attached to them so fast,” said Robert Murray of Toledo, Ohio.