The Words of the Watanabe Family

A Report From The “Growing Up” Workshop September 19

Makiko Watanabe and Lenka Golovlev
September 25, 2009

The first Growing Up Workshop of the school year 2009-2010 took place on Saturday, September 19th at the Bay Area Family Church (BAFC) with 55 bright participants ranging from 5 to 11 years old, 17 youth volunteers, and 10 parent volunteers. By the end of the day, all of us were simply exhausted from having TOO much fun: meeting new friends, playing with clay, eating yummy food, running after each other, and feeling so much love amongst everyone!

At 10 am, the MC Sean Sabo welcomed everyone and announced the groups for the day. Each group had 4-7 members of the same age / grade, and lead by 1 or 2 Group Leaders who were the members of the BAFC Youth Ministry.

During this Orientation time, over 20 parents of the participants attended Parent Orientation Meeting. The Workshop Coordinator Lenka Golovlev and her assistant Makiko Watanabe, and the advisor Mrs. Myrna Lapres took turns to explain the parents the mission and vision of the workshop, value of parent participation, and other practical matters.

The first 15-minute talk on the theme of the workshop, Family as a School of Love was given by Mrs. Lapres, who is in charge on the BAFC Youth and Children’s Ministry. To demonstrate the point that things such as God and family are more important than the other material things that bring us joy, she used a big empty jar, representing our personal life, “bigger balls” representing God and family, “smaller balls” representing other things in our life. The lesson was, if we put priority in “smaller balls” in our life and put those in the jar first, we cannot fit “bigger balls.” So we have to put “bigger balls” in the jar first, i.e., putting priority on God and family.

A team of 4 mothers prepared delicious lunch: BBQ and Fried Chicken, French Fries and Potato Wedges with herbs, Mac ‘n Cheese. Children kept coming back for seconds and thirds, and they were asking for the left over chicken at snack time. One of the cooks, Mrs. Liz Buergi, shared the secret, “I think we had a great team work!”

For the dessert, each group got to make brownie! The educational part of making brownie was developing fine-motor skills (not to spill oil or not to break eggs) and learning to take turn to mix the dough.

However, the BEST part was CLEANING THE BOWLS and LICKING FINGERS after emptying the dough onto baking pans.

The last inside activity before games and sports was a short story time with Ms. Francesca Dufour. She shared the story that her father used to share about the founder of the church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

Another core staff Chris Harvey prepared exciting games for a very warm day! Not only for boys but also girls enjoyed running around!! Everybody came back to the room, sweating like waterfalls and looking like red apples.

The final presentation of the day was a special video on Summer of Service in Tampico, Mexico -- prepared and presented by Gabriela von Euw, supported by Justin Sabo and Jinil Fleischman. All children, without exception, paid very close attention to the video and Gabriela’s explanation. Justin and Jinil answered some questions from the children and shared their experiences as well.

All the groups met for the last group meeting over the brownie they made and ice cream -- a treat for being such a great group of participants.

Over all, the workshop went very well, and it seemed like we achieved the most important goal: To have everyone want to come back again!

Next Growing Up Workshop is scheduled on Saturday, December 5th at the Bay Area Family Church.

For more information, or to register for the workshop, contact Lenka Golovlev or Makiko Watanabe.

Thank you to all the participants and their parents, and all the volunteers who made this workshop a great one!

See You All in December! 

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