Blessed Culture and Sports Festival (BCSF) 2017
This month we want to zoom into BCSF, our big annual youth event that took place in UTS, and share the experiences by our youth and parents. Since the humble beginning at a public middle school in New Jersey, it expanded to interstate events. Some teams come from far away states like Texas and California, and some participants are even from overseas. Our New York team went through stages, also. There is a behind-the-scene effort made by parents to support this event, therefore we wanted to have a few interviews with parent and participants. First one is Yiru Sugihara who took the challenge of supporting NY team and brought to new level. She is also a director of Sunday School in the Belvedere Family Community (BFC).
BFC: How did you come to organize parent’s support group? What made you decide to take on this task?
Yiru: When I visited BCSF with my friend, we realized that most of the participants were surviving with only one breakfast and PB&J sandwiches for 4 days. There are meals at UTS but the youth cannot afford it after paying for all the fees and uniforms. And many of them are from our community so I felt that we should support them. When I saw parents come all the way from Ohio or New Jersey to cook meal for participants every years, I asked myself, “Why can we do the same?”
BFC: What was the process of organizing parent’s support group?
Yiru: My first move was to get support from parents, get an approval from the pastor, and then write a proposal to the council. Also, I contacted the youth to come up with a short presentations to the community.
BFC: What was the most difficult task?
Yiru: It was difficult to start something new. Figuring out how to actually begin a project like this was the hardest task. There were many things I had to do prior to organizing the task.
BFC: What did you learn from this experience?
Yiru: I really appreciate parents’ support. Starting something new is not easy, but when there is support from even a handful of people, things can be done. I also had an opportunity to support others after this event. One thing I also learned is how to listen and work with our youth. The youth in our community initiated new ideas and seeked opportunities to fundraise. They were humble and grateful for our support. This is one of the reasons that we had good success.
BFC: What do you want to improve next year?
Yiru: Next year, we will recruit youth (participants and others who participated in the past) to help out cleaning at the end. This will help volunteer parents to go home earlier after long day. Another thing we are looking into is to cut cost of tent rental. (The cost of the tent doubled from last year.)
Next is NY district coordinators, Isaac Jones and Yasu Yukawa for NY BCSF. Isaac is a youth leader and Yasu is a former youth pastor in BFC.
BFC: Why do you participate in BCSF? And what do you like about it?
Yasu: I love how our UC community has the opportunity to come together from all over the country to enjoy each other’s company and play sports. For many people in our NY community, it is the highlight of their year for which they train all year for.
Isaac: I like how BCSF brings communities from all over the United States and some other countries together.
BFC: What was the challenge in leading the team?
Yasu: The more I play sports, I realize that motivating each other and keeping a high spirit is crucial and may be the most important factor in playing well.
Isaac: The biggest challenge was making sure everyone was having fun despite the competition.
BFC: Do you want to share one experience?
Yasu: I am really proud of our NY jersey this year. It took a long time to put the design together with Reimi Mizuguchi, Toshio Barber and Isaac Jones, but I would have to say that this is our best ever.
Isaac: One great experience I had was when our NYC volleyball team versed our NYB team, we were very supportive of each other and even chanted together before and after our game.
BFC: Can you tell other youth why they should come and join you next year?
Yasu: If you like to play sports or just want to chill with like minded people you should come.
Isaac: Every year is unique and there is always something for everyone. This year we had the addition of skateboarding and rock climbing and if anyone wants to see another event that they would be more interested in then we would like to hear their ideas to make it a reality.
BFC: What do you think about parents’ support last 3 years?
Yasu: I am so grateful to the parents who have been supporting us for the past 3 years at BCSF. The parents truly make a huge difference and we would not have a NY home base at BCSF without them.
Isaac: The parents’ support for food and for keeping the New York area clean was super helpful. I remember before we had a meal plan, I would occasionally have to drive some of the younger ones to Subway because they weren’t getting any real food. Also, because we don’t have to worry about our next meal, we have more time to hangout and have fun at all of the events that Sports Fest has to offer.
BFC: Do you have anything you want to improve in NY team and BCSF?
Isaac: The only thing I can see improving is the spirit of our New York teams. Every year seems to be getting more spirited but I think we can do better.
BFC: Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!!!
If you are interested in participating in BCSF, or want to know more about it, you can visit our NY SportsFest Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/465273256950142/
If you want to join in BCSF NY Support, or want to know more about it, contact Yiru Sugihara: firstname.lastname@example.org