By CASSIDY ADAMS
The Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program will host its ninth annual Miniature Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 3. This miniature golf tournament is organized and run by the Rising Stars 2011-12 participants and all the funds raised go to support the program for future high school participants.
The upcoming golf tournament is not only a fundraiser for the current Rising Stars, but it is also a way to allow the participants to implement the skills they learned during the current program. It gives the students a chance to step out of their comfort zones and play a proactive role in the Japanese American community.
The Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program encourages the Japanese American youth to reconnect to their heritage as well as gain important sets of skills that will benefit them in the future. The program instructs young adults on useful lessons learned through interactive workshops, conducted by leading professionals, addressing such topics as “Working in Groups,” “Assertiveness,” “Networking,” “Speaking to Persuade,” “Cultural Values,” “Financial Fitness.” This helps them build stronger futures for themselves.
Over a course of seven months, 25 high school-aged Asian Americans get the chance to discover things that they didn’t know about themselves and their culture while also building strong relationships with other young Japanese Americans. High school students from throughout areas of Southern California are brought together to learn about how much our everyday lives are affected by the history of our ancestors.
“As a member of the next generation of Japanese American youth, I admit that I never really did my part in learning about my culture and history,” stated Cassidy Adams. “I accepted that as a Japanese American I would have the dark-colored hair and small eyes and would have to follow certain codes of behavior when visiting my traditional Japanese part of my family.
“But when the day was over, I would wash off the façade along with my makeup and go on living the traditional American lifestyle, my lifestyle. I didn’t understand how important it was for me to embrace my culture until I joined the Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program.”
Adams concluded, “There is plenty you can do to support the Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program and the miniature golf tournament. We are looking for sponsors, raffle prizes, goody bag donations and participants for the golf tournament. We are also selling raffle tickets up until the day of the golf tournament. With your support, we can encourage the young Japanese Americans to get more involved in their community using the leadership skills they have learned in this program. In addition, you can also be a part in helping the youth realize the importance of embracing its own culture.”
The tournament will be held at Camelot Golfland, 3200 Carpenter Ave., Anaheim. Entry fee per person is $10 in advance and $15 on the day of the event, and includes a continental breakfast, pizza and salad lunch, and a participant goodie bag. Lunch-only price is $7 for those who do not want to play golf. Raffle prizes will be awarded and winners need not be present to win.
To sign up in advance or to make a donation, contact Glenn Nakatani at (626) 915-5388 or visit the website at www.nikkeifederation.org/golf/index.html.
For more information on the Rising Stars Youth program, visit the Nikkei Federation’s website at www.nikkeifederation.org.
The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center is the venue sponsor and hosts the Rising Stars Youth Program in Little Tokyo. The Rafu Shimpo is the media sponsor. Rising Stars is a program of the Nikkei Federation.
Cassidy Adams is a participant of the ninth annual Rising Stars Youth Program and serves on the publicity committee. She is a junior and attends Mark Keppel High School in Monterey Park.