Nikkei Youth at NAJC AGM

December 14, 2012 at 7:07 am

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On Saturday, September 15, a three hour youth session was held in Kamloops, BC coinciding with the NAJC AGM. Eleven youth ranging from the ages of 13-27 participated in this session lead by co-chairs Lindsay Tsuji and Lisa Schoenhofer.

The discussion started with a round table exploring Japanese Canadian Identity, and how each of us feels we fit in the JC Community.  Many of the youth participants were nisei and sansei, but all had very unique stories and had varied feelings of how they view themselves in the community. However, one general idea was all agreed upon: Being Japanese Canadian is about finding your inner Japanese, whether you are an immigrant from Japan, half Japanese, a quarter Japanese, or not Japanese by blood at all. We should not have to choose sides of being either Canadian or Japanese, but be either or both when we feel it is right.

The next portion of the youth session revolved around an “opportunity wall” (see picture) on the topic of barriers, issues, and challenges we face in our JC communities. Participants wrote down whatever came to mind on pieces of paper which were then posted on a wall. Out of this exercise, some common issues emerged:
•    Lack of communication between older members and youth, as well as communication of events internally and externally
•    No proper space for youth gatherings
•    Lack of direction and support for youth to take on new projects
•    Lack of fun, youth-friendly events
•    Lack of promotion and social media for easy communication
•    Mediocre technology available at cultural centres
•    A divide of different JC groups in the community, and a very diverse community makes it hard to connect everyone

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The participants have been asked to contribute to a larger youth seminar happening in Toronto in 2013. Each chapter representation will be tasked to complete realistic goals for recruitment to the committee and attendees to the seminar in Toronto.  Issues discussed during the NAJC AGM will be followed up on, and the seminar will offer workshops where leaders can take what they learned back to their own communities.

If you are interested in participating in the seminar, or require more information please contact Lisa Schoenhofer at Lschoenhofer@gmail.com or Lindsay Tsuji at lindsaytsuji@gmail.com.