It was an unseasonably chilly September day for the TAF Chicago 2010 Kickoff, but that didn’t stop 18 campers and a host of TAF staff from showing up for fun, games, and life lessons in Lombard, Ill. And puppies.

Suitably, the “Big Wind Blew” at the beginning of the day, with the group embarking on a host of old school TAF games. Luckily, 2010 hospitality coordinator Bing Wang was there to lead us in the icebreakers. After everyone introduced themselves and settled into the TAF spirit again, we sat down and recapped key information that JH speaker John D. Lin and Youth speaker Tom Lin shared with us in July. Remember languages of love? Using your shrewdness to benefit others? Cross-cultural communication? We did!

Then some lucky volunteers were chosen to demonstrate how nonverbal communication can allow others to help you achieve your goals. In a spirited (and hilarious) re-enactment of “trying to catch a chicken,” Jocelyn Liang showed off her chicken-chasing skills to the group.

Afterwards, the group broke into three smaller groups to get to know each other better. We talked about post-TAF life, including the ways we “Loved Out Loud” since July. All sorts of great ideas came up during these meetings- if all goes well, TAF Chicago could be invading all sorts of Chicagoland establishments soon: Laser Tag, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, ski lodges, bowling alleys, you name it. (No, seriously, give us more ideas!) We also can’t wait for participants to start leading some great workshops for us every month.

Speaker session was led by Hiro Kawashima, executive director of the nonprofit organization Supplies for Dreams, which provides school supplies and mentoring to Chicago Public School students. Hiro showed everyone how people (especially young people) could find a passion in helping others and put plans into motion. During the session, everyone was challenged to think of a cause that they care about and think of a small way to help it. After all, it is the small endeavors that are most likely to succeed and touch people personally. Then, each small group sat down and came up with a plan to advertise and fundraise for a cause of their choice. Two groups made plans to assist a local animal shelter, while another set up a mentorship program at their school. It was a great way to think about how communications skills can be used to help others.

The formal part of TAF Chicago was over and some of the group headed out to eat dinner at Cici’s. Then we all journeyed to Holes and Knolls to play a round of mini-golf. But that wasn’t until after we discovered the best playground contraptions ever. Check out our photos and videos to see how it all went down!

All in all, it was a great TC Kickoff meeting. Can’t wait to see you guys next month for our leadership-themed meeting, with a special HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA!

PS: If you are in the Chicago area and haven’t checked out a TAF Chicago weekend yet, why not? YOU COULD PLAY WITH PUPPIES.

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