Tweeter: jonizzle


Thursday, August 31, 2006 by Jon

From the Hoch:

Looking for your TAF Stories...
Hello TAF friends!

Summer is coming to an end for most of you... how sad... But before it does, and the memories of another exciting and inspiring TAF start to take a backseat to school activities, I'd like to ask a favor of you!

So, one of our TAF consultant projects is to collect YOUR STORIES & TESTIMONIALS of your TAF EXPERIENCE. Why? Well, for one, we just think it's important to keep an archive of your stories for history's sake. But secondly, we are hoping to use some of your quotes and stories to help us out when we put together our new TAF website. Additionally, we will also have new marketing media, like brochures and CD's, to advertise our incredible TAF programs more widely to the world. We believe that your stories say it all, and you are, of course, the reason we have TAF! Consider this your way of helping us grow TAF for future generations to come...

Keep in mind, I don't expect you to be a great writer, so ANYONE who has been to TAF can do this - even if you're in grade school, even if you're on staff, doesn't matter...

This is what I'm asking, if you're interested in contributing to our archive:

1) Think for a moment about why TAF is special to you, how the experiences were meaningful or impacted your life, or if you have a unique story you'd like to share...
2) Write either a QUOTE, PARAGRAPH or an ESSAY of well-thought out sentences that describe how you feel or any subject pertaining to your TAF experiences.
2a) Proofread. Caps. Punctuation.
3) At the bottom, write your NAME, AGE, most recent PROGRAM, and # OF YEARS at TAF.
4) If you don't want your name credited with the quote, say so. This may be used publicly. I will assume it is OK if you don't tell me otherwise.
5) Send it to me at

Miss you all. Even the TAFers that are new or that I haven't quite gotten to know well yet. The one thing I've learned over the past 10-15 years is that we will get to know each other at some point, and maybe even cross paths in the distant future... I'm looking forward to that day...

And I'm looking forward to all the wonderful things you will be sharing about TAF. You are our TAF Ambassadors serving the world you live in.

Ho Chie

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Sunday, August 27, 2006 by Jon

To all of those who attended TAF2006, thank you for a wonderful week. To me, TAF2006 another blur. A swirl of memories and moments that I hope were captured enough in my mind or on film to remember and reflect upon. A lot of other people dear to me have already shared feelings and thoughts about the week and many have said things better than I could say, or have remembered to mention things that I would only hope to recall. I feel all of my thoughts and memories are somewhat disjointed; chopped up and blended in with logistical issues, camper names, programming ideas, small group cheers, choir lyrics, things to do next year, and sketchy sketchy sa po po moves. I have no fluid and continual thoughts, just many disjointed areas of reflection. And I share.


I hope that everyone in JH really embraced the idea of keeping a journal. One of my personal goals for the week was to keep a journal of thoughts for myself at least once or twice throughout TAF, but that never accumulated into anything, and I regret that. I do however take serious joy in the fact that all of the campers, and hopefully the staff, kept their own logs of the week, thoughts they had, etc etc. My hope is that you kept them, either as a TAF souveneir to look back on the week and remember the good times and what you learned, or even moreso, that you keep using and writing in them, and when you run out of pages, you get another journal and keep on going. I find something very classically nostalgic about humans keeping journals and recording our thoughts and experiences. Hopefully you do to.

Speaking of "The Journals", I would love to hear feedback about what y'all wrote. I know its personal, and of course I don't expect people to tell me or Alex or their counselors what they wrote, but...I would love to hear it, haha. Just to get feedback and to hear what you guys in JH thought about topics we discuessed and workshops we ran. And to a deeper extent, what was going through your mind during the taflove workshop.

Body Image.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. During TAF, this issue's relevence became very apparent during the girls part of the Gender Dialogue. And then a week after TAF, I was a small group leader at the Life Creek Church's summer youth group retreat. The majority of girls in my small group also shared that they, just like my beloved young women in JH, felt pressures about body image that led to varying degrees of considering or actually having eating disorders.

Where do these pressures or thoughts to be extremely thin come from? Media? Society? Boys? The fear of being alone? Calls for attention? Being able to have control over something because you feel like you cannot control other areas of your life?

But then I learned that these are the questions that YOU should be asking yourself. Ask yourself, "Why? Why do I do these things to be skinnier than I naturally am?" That is the first step. The second step is to realize that you need to be true to yourself, like Karen and Cat said. Be true to yourself! Don't let anyone else or anything else, especially boys, dictate who you are. This leads me to my last thoughts on this topic.

I believe we are all in this together. Not just the girls, but the guys too. The reasons may be different, but as men, boys, guys, whichever you prefer, perhaps we give off this impression that we are overwhelmingly attracted to extremely skinny girls. I assume the vast majority of boys are actually turned off or worry about girls who are waif thin. So what can I, and other guys do? concern? Show that we notice how unhealthy it looks? To keep saying, "be true to yourself, be true to yourself!"?

Girls' don't let us boys dictate how you live and how your health is. Be true to yourself. That you as an individual, especially a young one, have so much promise and potential to look forward to, and therein lies all the beauty in the world. Do not risk it all that. You will not always be judged by your appearance. This will happen a lot sooner than you think.

"Love is the only rational act"

I mentioned this quote during our taflove session. And in the midst of it all I felt like it made a lot of sense in terms of the four rotating TAF themes. I jotted these down in my notebook to say. Ethics and Values - to know what is right and wrong, and to know what true love really is then. Communication - to tell it and share it with others. Identity - to show how you'll share it, if you will express it, what love is to you. Leadership - to be proactive, to share love when others won't, to show others how to do it."

"Open up your heart and you'll find love love love love loooooove," - jmraz. (yea plate dance!)

So yea. I feel that this (love) is all the purpose of TAF. The higher goal. Make profound impacts on society in unique and compassionate ways. ie: with love in your heart, tingling in your fingers and bones, and opening up to let it out. I'm not trying to be cheesy or cliche. If I had more time, I would try to figure out a much better way to say it, and a new way that would catch you eye, but...this satisfies me for now. Love is the only rational act. Just make sure you're letting the love be as real as you can.

The Past is in the Future
This came to mind during the week, or maybe it was after TAF. Either way I can't put my finger on it. But maybe it was also during the taflove session that I thought about this, where I was sharing how a full decade ago at TAF1996, I was playing with Amy, Michelle, Juliana, Howard, etc. How we were the JH campers, and how Alice and Alanna Lin were our pd's. How we have been friends and known each other for so long. I then said to my TAF2006 campers that I wished to see them at TAF in ten years at TAF2016. Hopefully then they will be the PD's and counselors for the new kids. My point is, Alice and Alanna made immense impacts on me in my time in JH. I hope I have done the same for my kids from 2001-2006 (and luckily, I believe I have). And with what I imparted to them, a lot of it comes from what Alanna and Alice imparted to me (I didn't know what 'unconditional love' meant until I met them). The first TAFers are still making impressions on the future TAFers. We are forever touched by those who came before us. I like that a lot. And I'm hopeful to see what the future holds.


- On the lighter side of impacts, I remember Eric Chang at TAF1999 talking about after he graduated college, he just slept on Morris's couch and was a 'professional bum'. And so, I am now sleeping on my friends couch and being a professional bum here in Champaign for the weekend, and for possibly many more weekends throughout the year. Hopefully not...but hey, it's not bad. Thanks Eric for being an inspiration!

- I have one bag of small group letters that I forgot to deliver. I cannot even remember who gave them to me. I will go look in my luggage and find out who's it is, and perhaps deliver it to the Youthers who should have gotten them. My bad.

- I really liked the TAF Night acts this year. I love you JH! I also want to give props to Melody and Tinya. And more props to whoever can post the Youth Swing Choir online first.

Last but not tafcrush?

Okay no, not really. I got your attention though, didn't I? I will however talk about a special young lady that I admire from afar. I call this a feeling of extreme gratitude and snaps for awesomeness to you, Christine Wang of the College Program. I love you. I really do. Thank you for Pteradactyl and the Awkward Turtle. And I don't know if you remember, but I will always recall the time when we were standing around with a group of people this year in the Great Room or in the cafeteria, and we made eye contact for a solid second or two, and didn't say anything but just stared back at each other, even though we both know who each other is. Fittingly, it was awkward.

Shout out to the LCC Retreat - Ahn Yan Hah Say Oohhhh!!!

The week after TAF, I got to spend another four sleepless nights as a small group leader for Youth Pastor Roger's church's summer youth group retreat around Milwaukee. It was great. Shout out to my small group of five lovely ladies (Go X-squared!!!) and everyone else that was there. It was a blessing, and I am glad to have grown from it. It was difficult at first because I have never led a small group in the Christian sense, but word yo, like my dear littlefufu says, "The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter."

Oh, and the church is a Korean. Am I making you jealous, my Taiwanese people?

Heart heart heart.

This is a link.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006 by Jon

Holy nugget cakes you can read my blog from my facebook profile now. This is insane.

Anyways, this is interesting.

I don't know what to think. On one hand, its seems pretty confrontational to draw clear lines between races. On the other hand, it's just reality TV. And then even more, its the Asian-American tribe (tribe? hah!) rather than Asian tribe.


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Saturday, August 05, 2006 by Jon

Off to North Manchester for the week. A little place called TAF. See you later.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006 by Jon

Someone once said,

"My self esteem was at its lowest point in middle school. I didn’t think I was good academically, physically, or socially. I was convinced that I was just a bad person, and that there was no way to change it.

I carried this belief with me even when I went to TAF. When my small group counselor would praise me or spend time with me, I told myself that it was his job to like me, and that his actions weren’t sincere. I thought that he took pity on me and only said nice things because he was my counselor and he had to.

One night, I was randomly taken out of my bed after curfew by one of the other JH counselors. She wasn’t my small group counselor that year, but she had been my counselor the year before. At first, I thought I was in trouble because everyone had been asleep for a while now and I was the only one taken out of my suite. It was actually kind of creepy…

She ended up taking me to a late night small group meeting in her bedroom. It was strange because her entire small group was there and I was the only one that was in a different small group. I kept asking myself, “Why am I here? Why did she pick me? I’m not even in her group!” I didn’t feel worthy. I was shocked that she even remembered who I was, let alone wanting me to be included in her group.

After a while, I started to realize something. She had picked ME. She had thought of ME. Even though she was no longer my counselor, and technically didn’t have to have anything to do with me, she saw something special in me and cared enough to include her in her group. She didn’t have to include me, but she did. She really cared about me, which meant that I was worth caring for.

We ended up spending hours in that room having a really personal small group discussion. People were crying and saying things that they couldn’t say to anyone else. I was amazed that those campers, who had been in small group together all week, all accepted me into their discussion and reached out to me. Some of them had never talked to me before, and yet they completely trusted me with their deepest thoughts and feelings. They accepted me.

I’ll never forget that night because that was when I truly experienced TAF love. I learned about unconditional love and in turn, I learned to love myself. But most importantly, I’ll never forget that night because of the special connections that I made with that small group. I learned the power of acceptance and have tried to be accepting of others and their ideas ever since that night.

For this reason, I have chosen to serve at TAF to affirm campers so that they learn to see the greatness that lies within them and to encourage them to be tolerant of others and their ideas."

See you soon.

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