October 2011 Program News

Konichiwa, friends and alumni of the Bath-Japan exchange program.

As our exchange organization grows in support and momentum, we hope to update you regularly.

We have completed our first full year with active board, nonprofit status, and hired coordinator, Cindy Matthews. Cindy lived and taught in our sister city for years, and has brought that knowledge and enthusiasm to her work. The natural disasters in March derailed our travel plans and shrunk our visiting group, but we are happy to report that our sister city was barely affected. In the spring we dedicated ourselves to raising funds for direct aid to affected areas of our sister state, and were pleased with the generosity of Midcoast citizens. We raised approximately $14,500 via swimathon, pledges, auction, and spontaneous donations, such as the Five Elements Martial Arts kick-a-thon. The prefecture of Aomori produced a moving “Thank You Maine” video which you may view on our web site:
A big thank you to Mike McDermott who is updating and maintaining this site.

In September, a sister state delegation of UNESCO and trade officials (food, renewable energy, and aquaculture) visited Maine for five days, and requested that half of that time be in Bath. Their time in Bath, the origin of all Maine/Japan exchanges, was praised by all involved, and the entire visit was very productive.

What’s up for the coming year? We anticipate both travel and hosting programs in July/August. We hold our annual public meeting and election in November (check web site for details), and we always welcome any level of involvement (board, hosting, travelling, helping). We continue to appreciate support from the City of Bath and RSU1. Our goals for this coming year also include a Japan cultural weekend in the winter, a possible arts exchange, and the creation of scholarships for potential student travellers.

You can always help us financially Please take a moment to recall the impact that any part of this program has had on you, your family, your friends. The value of such an exchange is more important than ever. Donations (made payable to “The Cheseborough Fund”) can be sent to our treasurer, Bernie Wyman, Chestnut Street, Bath 04530 and are tax deductible.

We look forward to your involvement!

Deborah Patten,
Exchange Board President