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So, part two, the finals again, the previous week I attempted to get more people to come, but it didn’t work out very well. I guess the biggest issue is that people don’t really want to watch something that they don’t really understand, or know much about. The singing contest is still building tradition, but it pales in comparison to the one I remember attending when I was approximately in grade 9, and I think that was what really inspired me to do something like run Japan Club.

Well, the process for the finals went by slightly easier since, there is now only 11 contestants with an additional two special performances, but most of the work come in discussion and purchasing material. In the preliminaries we knew there was a lack of atmosphere due to lack of decor and also lack of audience members. There was the usual materials that we needed to purchase, such as decorations (balloons, banners, and trophies or some kind of award for the finalists. I even wrote a template for a sponsorship letter to be used most likely for next year, since it was not really used this year. Other than those, it was confirming needed material, such as music equipment. Everything went well during the finals except the lack of atmosphere.

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So, Japan Club’s second main event, the Japanese singing Contest happened on April 5th this year. Our club of executives (3 people, and various volunteers) organized the whole event with the help of various others such as the sound techs and lighting personnel. There was really a lot to do, but we pulled off the preliminaries smoothly besides the smaller than expected audience. There was a large amount of stuff to get done, with just a simple school singing contest. Due to the small number of people that we predicted would be joining and also watching, we also invited two other schools to our event to increase our viewers/contestants, and also to establish some tradition and build up a reputation for our school’s Japanese Singing Contest.

This year, due to the Richter 9 earthquake in Japan that struck the Sendai region we decided to make all the proceeds that the Japanese Singing Contest usually earns to be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. This was a significant thing us as a club to do. In addition to making all the ticket money go towards the earthquake fund, we also sold pocky during lunchtimes, and had an additional event going on, which involved folding paper cranes, or origami, which we would sell for donations.

This year we were lucky to have much more contestants willing to participate (25 people) although two dropped out before the preliminary round 23 was still a good number. The finals we designated to cut the finalists in half. Between the three of us exec members we spent many long hours during the weekends actually meeting and talking online about how the event was going to go. Of the duties that I did most of them were quite time consuming but I learned quite a lot. Its not everyday that you can personally organize a singing contest. We made surpassing the Mandarin Singing Contest our goal. Of course, in the end, with more man power and a longer standing tradition (12 years vs. 5years) we did not really match up, however, we surpassed the singing contest of last year, which is a small achievement.

Many of the tasks I had to handle were the following

-writing and planning how the actual event it going to run (scheduling, with further discussion from the other two execs) I also wrote the entire english script myself and attempted as much of the Japanese script as I could although pretty much 90% of it required the assistance of a really really nice Japanese TOC that took the time out of her personal life to help us. We presented her with a small gift and I made her a card to go along with it, we really needed her help since we’re limited with the Japanese we know. I was one of the MC’s for the event during the preliminaries.

There wasn’t as much of discussion as there was in actually doing the event itself, and preliminaries had less to worry about, including prizes, decorations, and contacting the people whom passed the preliminaries. There was a lot of work involved in organizing song information, finding some lyrics, and double check with contestants about their song, lyrics, and to make sure each of them had edited their songs to the designated 1:30min.

There were also many small administrative stuff such as getting ticket money sorted out, and promoting the event itself. I was taking care of the marketing aspect of it, by posting event pages on facebook, and making and posting up flyers and posters with the help of some friends. I myself, sold some tickets.

With the real event itself, it went through okay, although there were some technical difficulties, and the very evident lack of audience, which I really wanted to tackle, but had so little resources.

Community Dinner and Preteen Cooking Session

There was excellent Promotion with 16/18 preteens signed up for the event

Our team (C-Change) cooked a full meal completely for free to the community and on our team’s budget. There was a co-op with Greenfriends. The event was successful, in fact,  preteens were asking if it is possible for the future cooking programs to teach more and more variety in the activities.

Over 85 individuals signed up for the dinner and the team fed 110 people.

Purchases were well established as only salads were short and one of the team members (Nicky) recovered the shortage by making an extra trip.

Sponsorships for our event was from Terra Bread and Safeway. The Youth Council had approved $100.00 deficit earlier and C-Change was able to stay within the budget limit. (deficit $93.29)

The kitchen was chaotic and lacked in order during the preparation, but this was due to some lack of experience with cooking and how the recipe’s all were different from the ingredients bought e.g. fruit platter was one of the dishes, but we ended up purchasing only oranges so we had to combine it with the salad.

Food delivery to the people was a bit more inconsistent and Greenfriends had to step up and took on a lot of public complaints. Thanks to Greenfriend’s professionalism and dedication the event was held together.

The event had a good overall review by the public. Took care of and got preteens and younger to help us cook and prepare a meal. Had some setbacks: forgot to cook ham and miscounted the food.
The cooking Instructor complained that the room was a mess after we left. Youth Development had agreed to have future Cooking room orientation for volunteers so we can make sure the room is returned back to original state. Clean up by our team and Greenfriends was efficient enough however because we were required to clean up the entire kitchen before 9pm.

This year’s Japan Fair was a success in many ways. First, there were a variety of performances available and activities too mentioned in the previous post about Japan Fair. The executive team, meaning the president, secretary, and I discussed the activities for Japan club members first, and coordinated the ticket selling. Punch-a-bunch the pieing game was added the week before Japan Fair but that was quickly arranged with enough volunteers. There was an estimated 100+ people that came to watch or participate at the Fair. This number  was way better than I hoped because last school year’s attendance. The Grade 12’s admittedly had a lot of trouble with the play. It was just the level of commitment people put into the play itself. A lot of people did not show up after school to practice. But, on the day of, we all managed to memorize our lines and pull off the play without major hitch backs.

There was good marketing as the number of people that were present at the Fair double or triple last year’s. The Soran Bushi event was great everyone went and we were synchronized. This would be expected as the president and I put in a lot of effort and stayed after school at least twice a week for a whole month to practice and teach people the moves over and over. It was one of the highlights of the Fair and I’m quite proud of that.

This is not to say that Japan Fair as  successful as it was, is perfect. For one, we had problems with J-club members for certain booths actually e.g. Origami table
in the beginning of the event was undermanned, plus some booths did not know what they were doing. Next year, although I won’t be here I would make sure that there are at least two appointed leaders for each booth who have their research down, and have made sure each person knows what they’re doing
such as Punch-a-bunch, which worked out well because of the two people responsible.

For the main events: fashion demo (involved in), traditional Soran Bushi, Rock version of Soran Bushi (involved in), Gr. 12 play (involved in), martial arts demo cancelled due to lack of preparation, and taiko performance group. I was supervising whatever I could doing the Fair and running around getting materials and assisting people and preparing for the fashion demo, play myself.

Hopefully the president, which I will leave in charge can handle more of the responsibility next year. For me, I would admit its a difficult and stressful position, which is also why I opted for Vice president position instead of president even when the choice was offered to me.

All in all, I wish for Japan Fair next year to be as great as this one, if not better! It was nice seeing grad come back to watch the fair, I aim to be like them and come back to the event next year.

Japan Fair planning has been piling up! Its November 3rd today and Japan Fair is on November 23rd! 20 more days to go until the big event. J-Club’s dance, Soran Boshi is running into some trouble. People are not regularly coming to practices except 5 people. I think it could be that people are busy during November but J-Club would be in trouble if the dance was not ready at the time of the event. The course of action that I’m probably going to take is to

The meetings every Wednesday now in order to be able to prepare all the events in time. Currently there is an assortment of Japanese cultural activities planned by the committee to run. Origami, (Japanese paper folding), Ikebana (Flower arranging), Calligraphy, caricatures drawn in traditional Japanese animation style, Taiko drumming, the grade 12 play arranged by the Japanese 12 class (which I also have a part in), martial arts demo, Tea ceremony, Shogi/Go, Kimono demo and Tanbata (wishing tree).

All of this are to be coordinated and the volunteers have to prepared to run the booth in shifts on that day. There’s also posters to finish painting and putting up and flyers to distribute the week after. So much to do, so little time! Hopefully by next week the marketing component will be finished. Soran Bushi practices are still twice a week every week until 5:00 usually. One event that I’m personally running is the short Fashion demo, where I get 5-6 models to dress up in a Japanese character or traditional clothing, and the audience gets to learn about some fun facts about the character or clothing itself. I already got a MC ready and now I’m looking for models that are willing to be a part of the short show. 🙂

For the Halloween Fireworks event that happens annually at Minoru Park, my Social Responsibility team (C-Change) from City Centre Association were asked to make a booth for games. We successfully implemented that today.

I go to City Centre weekly as one of the group leaders, as I co-run the team with another person who also happens to be a friend of mine. As a record of our success before the summer (completed 3 projects) we were asked to create a games booth that people would actually come  and enjoy. It took approximately 4 meetings each week from Oct. 7-28th on Thursdays each week. The first step was to think of ideas that we could make into enjoyable games for young children. As a team, we came up with 4 activities that were fun with some challenge but still ended up giving candy to the kids. Basically the initial idea was a fear factor booth that would have been targeted at an older audience but we realized that it wouldn’t be wise as logistics show that the older you got, the less interested you would be in this event of which you’ve seen every year. Younger kids with their parents would be the main target audience. So, in accordance to these stats we make more children friendly games. The above picture(s) are the pictures I took from my camera standing a few feet from the booths we made. It was actually much busier than we expected.  The worst thing was our team consisting of 14 people (when in full attendance) was cut down to 6 people on that night as a lot of people had plans on that day. Running the booths were quite hectic, and having 4 booths, among 6 people meant that most of the half the booths would have only 1 volunteer and there was no chance for shifts. This was the most difficult part of the event as it was not preventable. Luckily, there were some spare people who signed up by the City of Richmond that could help us with our event sometimes. Some of us still ended up sitting through their event from 3:00-9:00pm until it was done.

Another problem was that because we did not gage our time properly and on the day of the event, our activities still needed to be made and tested. Our whole team literally created games from scratch and cardboard. That had to be quite rushed though since we didn’t start making them earlier. It was a misjudgment on the part of myself and the other captain.

Our next event, called the Winter Community dinner, will take account for this minor mistake as we started 2 months earlier. More details on this later.

Last year Japan Club did a Soran Bushi and it was a success. This year we will do it again but with larger amount of people and add variations and perhaps create our own moves. For the past 4 or 5 practices I practiced and taught people how to dance the Soran Boshi and it was really fun but exhausting. We got exercise done. The above picture is just an image of how synchronized I wish I could be :).

From April the practicing took about 3 months which was not time effective. This time, the practices shall be weekly and with more availability for people to make it to the practices. Hopefully it will be more efficient.

In addition, our dance group decided to put some variations to it. It is my wish that it will add more humour to the dance and get more people enthusiastic about Japan Club!

Below is a hint of what we’re going to do:

I am now the newly elected leader of C-Change, Social Responsibility Youth team at City Centre Association!

I was actually really scared to step up and do a speech
in front of my peers and especially when public speaking was not one of my best strengths.

But now I have made this commitment I really have to step up to the bat and swing.

Reassessing my CAS experiences, since last year since I started the IB program, I went from being just a single event kind of volunteer, to joining the CCA, to become a youth volunteer, to being VP of the Japan club, being part of the Ultimate team, Homework club volunteer, and now

I am actually one of the leaders of CCA. Japan Club has been going well, I believe I can speak out more to people especially those who are younger than me, who need good examples to learn from.

This was our 3rd and most likely last event for the year since its May and with summer fast approaching, finals follow along with it. As one of the members of the Social Responsibility youth team (C-Change) at City Centre Community Association, this “Sassy Spa Party” was socially responsible since we allowed parents to have the afternoon for themselves taking of [some] stress off. We catered the kids from 4pm-8pm, a total of 4 hours. There were around 16 kids in total and it was quite a challenge to entertain them. Our youth team with a total of around 14 volunteers including myself got together and pulled off the event. There was a group in charge of food (I was part of it along with 3 other people) for the kids. Then there was a duo in charge of games/activities such as Wii, arts and crafts, and yoga. The 3rd team, provided the actual “spa” part of the event. my job was to serve food and make food. Other volunteers did manicures, makeup, facial, yoga activities, played Wii fit, did icebreaker games, made hairclips/crafts, got their hair done. The little girls enjoyed these events since it was new to them. They were young and most of them had no idea what a spa actually was. By the time the event was over and parents came to pick up their kids, they were really happy. A lot of kids and parents alike had positive comments about our event, some asked if the event would happen again in the future. Personally I think it was a success even though only $50 or so was raised and C-Change is still in deficit since we spent $80 for the kids. It was pretty worth it, however tiring we all ended up in the end.

Its really letting the kids have fun that counts the most in this event. I learned/appreciate how much trouble elementary school teachers must have to go through. The girls were really hyper and were quite a handful to keep entertained. One thing that could have been improved for the event was the organization of the food. At first we planned to have simple food like macaroni and cheese since it was cheap too, but on the day of, we changed the food to pita bread with mushrooms, ham/chicken, green peppers, with cheese and cranberry juice (a healthy combination  :D). The food cost the most and when we asked some of the kids, they actually preferred  mac and cheese. Since we had an online registration put up on the CCCA website, we could have utilized it to maybe create a menu so the kids could pick the food they want and we would be able to budget the cost beforehand.

On the morning of the event I was actually at F.L.Y (financial literacy for Youth), learning about budgeting and causes o the economic crisis in the U.S., and credit cards. I found the program helpful but I found that one of the 2 workshops I went to covered material that I already knew about so that one workshop was kinda boring (but thats just me probably). It would be effective for most people I guess.

Homework Club concluded the Winter 2010 season pretty successfully.  I was expecting the program will end with 4~6 students each, but instead, Cook School has now 13 students registered for the program and General Currie concluded last year with 12 students. We had challenging students in the beginning that now functions just like another kid who enjoys your company.

I would say that homework club for the elementary school students helps them build some of the 40 developmental assets and become successful in the future. All students that want to improve their academics can come. Its much cheaper than home tutoring but, its mostly one on one. Homework club is also very informative since it the coordinator writes down reports about each kid so we can improve on their studies next time. Parents also receive emails about their child’s progress. The kids themselves, get to build organizational, time management and focus skills through a encouraging and safe environment. To parents it is also accessible since it is right after school in the same school the kids go to. The kids even get healthy snacks and some playing time on the playground after they’ve done their homework.

I must say, that there are lots to learn from this program as a volunteer. Some of the 40 developmental assets can be found for teens as well. I’ve been around and helped many kids and they each have a different strengths and weaknesses that I have had to adjust to.

There are kids with no problem doing their homework but occasionally need some assistance and there are kids that have difficulty with certain subjects or are in ESL level 1 or 2.

One kid, is impulsive and does some unexpected things some times. The last session I went to he aggravated a volunteer and got him very angry but with a just reason.  It was in the gym and there were 2 kids playing dodge ball and 4 volunteers to accompany them including me. The young boy got too engrossed into playing dodge ball and started pelting the ball at two of the volunteers that were sitting down, and would not desist even when asked. The male volunteer got very annoyed, then angry and gave the kid a little push. Our coordinator came into the gym from the homework club room and intercepted. Me and another volunteer just watched. This was probably a bad decision, because either him or me should have stopped the male volunteer when he started getting really agitated. This is something new that I’ve learned. Next time I should support other people when they’ve lost control. Although all of us are individual volunteers that tutor kids individually, we still work as a team.

Reflections

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