The following is a summary of the events of Akita Association of JETs (AAJ) for the JET year August 2015 to July 2016.
AAJ Council elections
After discussions at the two meetings following the announcement of Kenneth Grant embezzling the purported amount of ¥685,116, it was decided that elections would be how future members of AAJ get their positions. Six positions were available; a chairperson, two vice-chairpersons, a secretary, a treasurer, and a PR manager. However, only 6 people put their names forward, and the election process was only required to decide the position of chairperson. Nobody put their name forward for the position of secretary.
Voting was conducted between Wednesday July 23, 2015 and Monday July 27, 2015 at 10pm. The following morning, it was announced that Alana Stephenson received 18 votes, while Chey Parlato had only 14.
After the election the title of chairperson was changed to president.
|President||Vice president||Vice president||Treasurer||PR manager||Japanese liaison|
|Alana Stephenson||Maeleen Arce||Michael Aubrey||Joey Griggs||Rachel Youngblood||Mihoko Kakuta|
Donations and Finances
|Welcome Party||¥62,752||ESTO||¥62,752||2015, Sep 26|
|SDC Tatami Parties||¥9,947||Akita Frog||¥9,947||2015, Nov 8|
|Halloween Dance Party||¥615,973||Blue for Tohoku||¥615,973||2015, Nov 7|
|¥10,900||AkitaFrog||¥10,900||2015, Nov 8|
|Christmas Caroling||¥36,633||Misonotenshien Orphanage||¥42,713 (in books & toys)||2015, Dec 19|
|Appi Ski Trip||¥0||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|St. Patrick's Day Party||¥66,393||Blue for Tohoku||¥66,393||2016, Mar 22|
|Akita International Sumo Basho||¥31,020||Kumamoto Prefectural Government Earthquake Relief||¥31,020||2016, June 13|
|Cottage Camping in Hinai||- ¥2,161||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Goodbye Party||¥10,303||Akita Family House||¥10,303||2016, Aug 16|
In order to improve AAJs accountability and transparency, starting this year all of the AAJ's financial documents can be found here.
The Welcome Party was held at Orange House (map), Shimohama Beach on September 5. There were 52 attendees. In total ¥62,752 was raised for Sexuality and Human Rights Network ESTO (性と人権ネットワーク ESTO（エスト）) http://estonet.info/
Proceeds from the event were donated by bank transfer to ESTO on Sept 26, 2015.
|Orange House (¥500 per person)||26,000|
|Ticket and drink sales||134,991|
SDC Charity Dinner
The SDC Charity Dinner was held at the Prefectural Education Center in on October 26. There were 14 attendees. The cost of the dinner was ¥1,800 each. In total ¥9,947 was raised for Akita Frog (あきた冒険遊びfrog).
Proceeds from the event were combined with the proceeds from the Halloween Party (6 days later) and donated in person by cash to Akita Frog on Nov 8, 2015.
|Taco rice dinners (from Mi-Go)||14,500|
|Drinks & snacks||1,300|
Halloween Dance Party
The Halloween Dance Party was held at Jamhouse in Akita City on October 31. There were 327 attendees. ¥615,973 was raised for Blue for Tohoku from ticket sales, and ¥10,900 was raised for Akita Frog (あきた冒険遊びfrog) from a 50/50 raffle. The winner of the 50/50 Raffle, Chris McNeal, generously donated all his winnings (¥5,450) back to Akita Frog.
Proceeds of ¥615,973 was donated by bank transfer to Blue for Tohoku on Nov 7, 2015, while proceeds of ¥10,900 were added to the proceeds from the SDC Charity Dinner (¥9,947) and a total of ¥20,847 was donated in person by cash to Akita Frog on Nov 8, 2015.
Blue for Tohoku recognised the donation with a message on their website.
|Stamps & ink||4,574|
|Ticket and drink sales||716,900|
On September 9, AAJ announced a Halloween Poster Contest allowing members of the community the opportunity to design the official Halloween Dance Party poster. The deadline for submissions was September 25, and voting was open between September 26-30. There were 2 posters submitted. On October 1, Jeffrey Lowther was announced as the winner.
As a trial, AAJ hired the photographer Genki Aiba to take photographs throughout the event. AAJ wanted to investigate the possibility of regularly hiring a photographer or to invest in a good camera to be used at all AAJ events. As the true value of hiring a photographer was unknown, AAJ decided that instead of listing this as an official cost to the event, the fee was instead paid from their reserve funds. The cost of the two photographers was ¥25,000. Links to the photo are below:
The Christmas Caroling was held at Akita Station in on December 12. There were 19 attendees. Participation was free. In total ¥36,633 was raised for Misonotenshien Orphanage.
Proceeds from the event were combined with a contribution of ¥9,056 from AAJ reserve funds (to cover the expenses of the event and add ¥6,050 to purchase gifts). AAJ members used this money to buy books (¥20,724) and toys (¥21,959) for the orphans. These gifts were delivered on December 19.
|Caroling permission fee||2,250|
|Bags and signs||756|
Appi Ski & Snowboard Trip
The Appi Ski & Snowboard Trip was held at the Appi All Seasons Resort in Iwate Prefecture on February 27th and 28th, 2016. There were 27 attendees. This event was not for charity so all of the money AAJ handled went directly towards covering the costs of the event. To reserve a spot on the trip, attendees paid ¥8,500 (the costs of lodging and food at the resort) to members of AAJ at the January block meetings or shortly thereafter. The ¥229,500 that was collected was then transferred to the resort on the first day of the event. Attendees were also responsible for bringing ¥3,500 per person on the days of the event to pay for their lift passes.
St. Patrick's Day Party
The St. Patrick's Day Party was held at Live Space (四階) Studio London (スタジオロンドン) in Akita City on March 20. There were 92* attendees. ¥66,393 was raised for Blue for Tohoku from ticket sales.
The proceeds were donated by bank transfer to Blue for Tohoku on March 22, 2016
|Venue rental (¥400 p/p)||36,800|
14 × volunteers @ ¥1,000
78 × attendees @ ¥1,500
*92 drink tickets were handed out and the venue was paid (92*400 = 36,800). However, when calculations were done the next about what the expected proceeds of an event attended by 92 individuals should be (¥131,000), this number did not match up with the ¥125,000円 that was counted the night of the event. This discrepancy means exactly¥6,000 (the entrance fee total for four regular attendees) is unaccounted for. more info.
Shirakawa Gakuen BBQ and Job Introduction Fair
The Shirakawa Gakuen BBQ and Job Introduction Fair was held at Shirakawa Gakuen in Fukushima Prefecture on May 21st, 2016. It was organized and hosted by the staff at Shirakawa Gakuen (an orphanage) and the volunteers at Blue for Tohoku (a Tokyo-based non-profit established after the 3/11 tsunami dedicated to supporting orphanages throughout the Tohoku region). Blue for Tohoku, having already established a relationship with AAJ (after receiving the donation from the Halloween party) and interested in having a foreign speaker at the event who could comment on life working in a foreign country, invited AAJ to participate in the event as well.
During the BBQ portion of the event, AAJ members enjoyed talking with the children, playing some games, and leading a small cultural activity in which the children were taught how to make smores (a typical American camping dessert).
For the job introduction portion of the event, AAJ prepared a 15 minute speech and powerpoint presentation about living and working in a foreign country. AAJ then participated in a short Q&A session and a free discussion with the children to answer any questions they have about what their lives will be like after leaving the orphanage.
A summary of the event can also be found on the Blue for Tohoku website (Japanese only).
No AAJ funds were used to pay for attending this event. Blue for Tohoku supplied AAJ with a ￥20,000 travel stipend, all of which was used to pay for tolls and gas. All other associated costs (gas and smores materials) were paid for out of pocket by the attendees. Full details can be found here.
AAJ presented at the Akita Prefecture Returners and Recontractors Conference held at the Prefectural Education Center in Katagami City on May 30th, 2016. The presentation, titled "Where We're from and Where We're Going," contained four main sections and included a brief Q&A session at the end. The topics discussed were:
- A Brief History of Volunteerism in Akita Prefecture.
- What Are We Doing Now?
- The AAJ Financial Report 2016.
- The announcement of AAJ's new charter, and the community vote to ratify it, scheduled to begin on May 6th and end on May 13th, 2016.
During the first portion of the presentation, AAJ Vice President Michael Aubrey gave the audience a brief overview of the more than a decade long tradition of volunteerism in Akita, showing the audience a few examples of past activities and how Akita Prefecture volunteer initiatives and organizations have evolved over time.
For part two, Michael detailed many of the new developments that occurred this year for AAJ, such as new partnerships with local and national charity organizations, and efforts to provide more opportunities to do hands on volunteering rather than charity fundraising through parties or other social events.
Part three was the AAJ Financial Report for 2016, presented by AAJ Treasurer Joey Griggs. This report focused primarily on ensuring the the audience was well informed of the many changes to AAJ's record keeping and transparency efforts which began back in September, 2015. An overview of this term's finances (cash flow, donations, reserve funds) was also presented. Finally, a new document was announced, Treasurer Best Practices, which details all of the rules and recommendations that future treasurer's must follow (which include all of the changes put in practice throughout the 2015-2016 term). The powerpoint associated with the financial report can be found here.
Towards the end of the presentation, Michael returned to announce the new charter that had been written by the AAJ board. He explained that this charter was written to clearly define the purpose of AAJ and the way AAJ is managed, as well as fulfill the expectation set out at last year's community meetings that AAJ would write and present a charter to the community so everyone could understand the rules AAJ is expected to follow. Also, the name of the organisation would be changed from AAJ to Charity Akita. It was then announced that a vote to ratify the charter would be held online between May 6th and May 13th, and those interested in participating in the vote should register at http://charityakita.com/ before the 6th. However, details of the charter were not discussed.
Finally, during the Q&A session, there was a discussion about the presence of Kenneth Grant (the former chairperson who embezzled AAJ funds during the 2014-2015 term) at AAJ events. Throughout the year, AAJ had prevented Kenneth from volunteering for any AAJ events, but had not prevented him from simply attending events, specifically those open to the public like the Halloween Party or the St. Patrick's Day Party. Some of the audience expressed concern that even just Kenneth's presence at open AAJ events creates an image problem for the organization, and it makes others who think he should be banned from attending uncomfortable with attending themselves. The AAJ board listened to those concerns, but did not commit to taking any further actions against Kenneth at the time.
Vote on new Charter
At the R&R Conference on May 30th, Michael announced that AAJ will be changing their name to Charity Akita, and that AAJ have prepared a new charter that they wish the community to approve or decline. The details of the proposed charter were made available to the public on June 1st through the Charity Akita website and Facebook. No drafts of this charter were made available for suggestions or improvements. There was simply a vote to accept it as it was, or not. On June 14, 2016 it was announced that the charter was passed, with 14 people voting for it, and 9 people voting against it.
Akita International Sumo Basho
The 12th annual Akita International Sumo Basho was held at the Akita Kenritsu Budokan on Saturday, June 11th, 2016. Total attendance was about 50 persons, including volunteers and wrestlers. 8 individuals participated in the men's bracket, while 4 participated in the women's bracket. Admission was ￥1000 for adult spectators, ￥500 for high school students, junior high school students, volunteers, and wrestlers, and free for elementary school students or younger children. Between admissions and the bake sale that was run simultaneously at the event, ￥31,020 was raised for the Kumamoto Prefectural Government's earthquake relief efforts.
Cottage Camping in Hinai
The Cottage Camping in Hinai was held at Beniyama Sō, Hinai, Ōdate on July 9. There were 28 attendees. This was not a charity event, and actually cost the organization ¥2,161.
The Farewell Party (aka Goodbye Party) was held at Orange House, Shimohama Beach on July 23. There were 24 attendees. In total ¥10,303 was raised for Akita Family House Proceeds from the event were donated by bank transfer to Akita Family House on August 16, 2016.
|Assorted Party Supplies||6,443|
|Float Money ?||40,000||40,000|
|Audio Cable Replacements||8,159|
|Ticket and drink sales||70,000|
|Akita Wiki hosting (Hostigation)||5,010||Jan 23, 2016||Nov 22, 2015 to Nov 21, 2016|
|Photographer||25,000||Oct 30, 2015||See memo about photographer|
- Akita Association of JETs
- Charity Akita 2016-2017
- AAJ 2014-2015
- Charity Akita website
- AAJ's Google Drive
|Group History||ALT Charity Groups • Room to Read (2006-2011) • Akita Association of JETs (2011-2015) • Charity Akita (2016- )|
by JET Year
|RtR: 2010 • AAJ: 2014 • 2015|
CA: 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020• 2021• 2022• 2023
|Monthly Events||English Cafe|
|Annual Events||Welcome Party • Orientation/SDC Tatami Parties • Lake Tazawa Camping • Halloween Party • Christmas Caroling • Appi Ski Trip • St. Patrick's Day Party • International Sumo Basho • Goodbye Party|
|Event Procedures||Charity Akita Event Equipment • Halloween Party • St. Patrick's Day Party • Goodbye Party • International Sumo Basho|
|Venues||Sanbōen • Orange House • Dreamworld • Club AK • Jamhouse • Live space 「四階」 • CLUB GEL • Appi Kōgen Ski Resort|
|One-time Events||Spring Carnival • Summer/80s Dance Parties • Pub Quiz & Soup Curry Night • Black Hearts Masquerade Cocktail Party • Hanami Tea Party|