Could you imagine having to take a 10 hour flight and 4 hour bus ride with a cost of over $600 just to get to conclave?
That is exactly what many of the Section W6P members had to do to attend the 2018 W6P Conclave in Japan in April. With most of the normal attendees being from the two lodges on the Hawaiian islands, it was quite a trek to get to conclave.
The conclave was held at Tama Hills Recreation Area which is there primarily for members of the Armed Forces in and around Japan. With many of the arrowmen in Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the rest of the extended areas that comprise W6P, being dependents and members of the military, this was a great place to hold a conclave.
There was a moderate size building that was the main meeting room and dining hall and also served as the trading post. There was a very short walk to an open field where everyone camped. The host lodge went to the military Outdoor Recreation group and set them up for those that were flying to Japan so that they did not have to worry about bringing tents on their flight. On the other side of the dining hall down a short hill was where the bathrooms and showers were located. It was apparent real quickly that a lot of the facilities were very old and designed differently than what we are traditionally used to in the US.
The Conclave kicked off with a show in the camp fire bowl on Friday evening. The next morning it was up and about for breakfast. It was announced that all meals would include steamed rice and Miso soup which is traditional in Japanese culture. With some of the arrowmen this was a big hit. Then it was off to the gathering and flag ceremony where both the US and Japanese flag was raised.
Training was next, with it being done with a little different twist. All youth arrowmen went to one combined class at a time and all the adult arrowmen went to a different class. During the morning session there were three youth classes and three adult classes.
After a quick lunch it was time for activities. The afternoon activities included things like coin casting where arrowmen could melt down some pewter and pour it into a special mold and create their very own conclave coin. There was also a class that taught arrowmen how to tie a Turks Head neckerchief slide that had an arrowhead dangling from it. After some of the crafts there was a camp wide capture the flag game that had all the youth participating, even the region chief Jordan Jeffreris. All the afternoon activities kept the arrowmen busy and were well attended.
Next came a traditional Japanese dinner with fried cabbage and of course steamed rice and miso soup. Now it was time for the lodges to hold the section elections. After about an hour to hour and a half, the youth had elected their new officers and it was time to go to the campfire bowl to have the closing theme show. While the shows staff was very small, the show was well thought out and presented. It had a story line that started at the Friday night show and carried through the Saturday night show.
After a restful night all that was left was breakfast, the interfaith service and saying goodbye to the new friends we had made with the approximately 75 arrowmen that attended. A big thank you goes out to the members of Achpateuny Lodge 803 (yeah I can’t pronounce it either) for their great hospitality.
While I really enjoyed the conclave, I should have gotten out and explored a little bit because as we were leaving, I discovered that there were lots of trails and old munition bunkers that were probably left over from WWII. Tama Hills had many great looking camping places that I would like to go back and experience.
All in all, if you ever get a chance to go to a faraway place for a conclave, do what you have to to go and you will have a life long memory.
Danny served as a Section Associate Adviser from 2010 – 2016 and is the current Section W6W Adviser.