The Words of the Platt Family
Participants: Roland Platt, Mary Bratti, David Rogers, Richard Alllen, Nick Kernan, Louise Honey and Jane Spicianni Jane Spicciani started with prayer. Then, Roland Platt gave a report of activities since our last call.
Roland: So much has happened. Our trip to Korea and Japan seems like a year ago! So now all the modules are completed and we just finished our inter-module workshop at Camp Flaming Arrow in Texas. First, the Fundraising module- they had a lot of success, competing neck to neck and broke new records. We had a group in Hawaii, so that added to the excitement and intensity of the competition. We had a small workshop to conclude the module, as each module does. Second- the leadership module at 43rd St. They flew out to Texas and had 2-3 days at Flaming Arrow before everyone else arrived. After being in Manhattan for 2 and Ω months (except for time in Gloucester) the change of scenery was good for them, they had time to reflect and claim victory. Jin Sung Nim couldn't spend so much time with them until the last two weeks, but then he came every few days and really invested to get to know them and share with them. But throughout the module they had the blessing of working consistently with Ariana and Rexton, who both ran practicums (media and CARP). The overseas group came back safely from Thailand to the Morgan's ranch for their workshop and the Choir group joined them after fundraising in Florida. For them it was difficult to fundraise after the trip to Korea (we usually do it before traveling), but they did very well. They took all that love and blessing and poured it out to the people. Actually their result contributed to inspire and stimulate the Fundraising module to do better.
So we had 5 days at Flaming Arrow. Since 2005 we have been going there and have a lot of foundation with workshops for Kick-off, God's Day and Blessing guidance. Everything was fresh and green, it was really nice weather. The theme was "empowerment". They will all be leaving in a few months and be more on their own at college, so we felt they need more confidence to do the right thing on their own. How could we do that? We put the kids in charge of the workshop- developing the schedule, etc. as they studied and lectured and competed in Divine Principle. Some had practiced in Gloucester, so they had some foundation. Anyway, we trusted them completely and they really came through and invested wholeheartedly. Up until now we would suggest people for sharing testimonies, but this time it was totally volunteer. All modules will provide more ways for 1st years to take initiative. In the evenings each module took turns to present through video, slide show and testimonies what they experienced. On one of those evenings BTA (Blessed Teens Academy) joined our group/ David Rogers then shared his impression of the workshop as he lives close to Camp Flaming Arrow and had a chance to visit his son while there.
David: I have seen the kids coming to this workshop area for the past 5 years and especially noted this time that the level of maturity and "density" of the kids was notably higher and more serious than before. In considering this, I realized the GPA program is a great deal more organized and multifaceted and larger in scope than ever before, thus becoming bigger than the kids' own horizon. From this perspective, the kids are scrambling to keep up and thus always engaged in something new and committed to learning about it.
I think there could be no healthier or more advantageous a platform to bridge their high school time over to college. It has taken at least 10 years for this steady development and now it seems to match the kids own energy and scope.
Roland: Thank you, David. The graduation weekend is confirmed as follows:
Friday evening, June 15th- Commencement Gala at Manhattan Center Saturday morning, June 16th- GPA graduation ceremony at 43rd or Manhattan Center Sunday morning, June 17th- Lovin' Life at 43rd St. Then kids are free to go.
Schedule for those who are going a 2nd year: Part of their training will be as Lovin' Life Camp staff, so they will not go on break right after Graduation because Camp staff training week is June 24th to 30th. Then half of them will be High School Camp staff, while other half goes on break, and from July 22nd through August 8th, the other half will staff the Middle School camp and the others will go on break. For next year, so far we have received 40 or more applications. The deadline is May 15th, so I expect a lot more to come, as the number usually peaks just before deadline. Our challenge is to choose as many qualified kids as possible to be captains/group leaders for next year. In Jin Nim is quite serious about their qualifications, but at the same time we are expecting more kids than ever and don't want to turn them away, for lack of staff. Also, we are now thinking about having a 4th module. Each module would then be 2 months rather than 2 and Ω months. Half of this new module would be a wilderness adventure training and half would be Divine Principle study and lecture practice, probably in Gloucester. Heather Thalheimer's husband, Phil, is an avid outdoorsman and strongly encouraged us to include this. They would spend about 2 weeks in the wilderness in small teams and one adult experienced guide with them. It gives the kids a chance to connect to nature, without the distraction of electronics and strongly challenge them. In Jin Nim also strongly wants the kids to develop skill and confidence in the Divine Principle so they can teach. So they would have 4 weeks of each. Most likely we will have one and a half modules before Christmas and Winter break and 2 and a half modules after. To do this would mean starting earlier, the last week of August, and then ending early June.
This new schedule would put us as staff under pressure to train captains quickly this Summer, throughout July the future team leaders will be participating in Loving Life Camps as staff. So we are doing as much as possible during this last module.
Topic of safety driving: Fortunately we have had a good record this year. Having one person as a safety director has really helped. Hiroshi Suzuki is spiritually and practically overseeing the safety of brothers and sisters on the road. He checks with captains regularly on the condition of the vans and has the members report on the drivers, as well as talking to the drivers regularly and going out to workshops to meet them and give guidance.
Question: How will it work out financially, since there will be less time for fundraising?
Roland: Well, having a close relationship with In Jin Nim helps, in that HSA will probably help with some funding, but we may also have to raise the participation fee.
The next schedule coming up in 10 days is the fundraising module has a workshop in Seattle.
Question: What about shower night when they are in the vans? How often do they visit member's home and how long do they usually stay?
Roland: It depends a lot on area. In small town area they travel more and it's more convenient to sleep in the van or go to a motel. In bigger towns, where they spend more time, it's more likely they can look up a family (usually someone the captain knows or is somehow connected to the team) and spend a night there.
Jane Spicciani: I would like to develop a list of homes where they could stay even if they don't know them personally. We enjoyed it so much when they stayed with us and they seemed to enjoy it, too.
Roland: There would be a few requirements- space for parking vans, preferably two bathrooms and space for sleeping. I will collect names from team leaders of places where they stayed, this year and can share that info with next year's group. We can talk, Jane, on how to get names of other families who might be interested. It could save motel money and it's also good for the families.
Question: Why did you use two different camps in Texas?
Roland: Well, the Morgan Ranch is too small for the whole GPA, but it works great for a one module workshop. Camp Flaming Arrow (YMCA) works great for a larger group. The owner is very positive, a good Christian who we have been witnessing to for many years. He can hear everything in his office-all our lectures on Divine Principle, Blessing etc. He knows all our Holy Days and is always happy to help. But gradually our plan is to use more and more Morgan's ranch as our base in Texas.
Question: Are there rooms reserved for families in the New Yorker for graduation?
Roland: Yes. We reserved a block of rooms today for that weekend. We will be sending out info to all the parents tomorrow.
Question: What about the 3rd years schedule?
They will have two weeks at home. The kick-off will be in August, but we will know for sure in about a week.
Question: Any injuries this year?
During the second module, some kids went home from fundraising with injuries, some permanently, and some are going to 43rd St. for the rest of the year.
David Rogers concluded with a prayer.