I want to thank all of you -- members, volunteers, helpers, performers and audience -- who helped make our 2004 Chinese New Year’s Celebration a wonderful success. Each year, our celebration gets bigger and better. This year was no exception. Attendance was excellent. Our special interest tables were well attended. I want to thank the Red Panda Acrobats for their amazing performance. Thank you also to the cultural dance groups and the Chinese school classes who participated through performances and wall displays of their work. Each year, it takes over 100 people working together to create our celebration. Each year, I cannot express enough thanks for all the hard work and energy put into our success. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Our next major event is our May 1 potluck with JACL (Japanese-American Citizens League) of Sebastopol. Each year, we have a joint potluck and entertainment. This year is RECA’s turn to host, so I hope you all come and share our evening.
Also coming up is the Santa Rosa Rose Parade. RECA always wins first prize in the Cultural Dance division. We hope this year will be the same. We need everyone to come out and join us on May 15. It takes at least 30 people for the dragon. We usually have at least 15-20 dancers. We also need people to hand out water, pass messages, carry the banner, and just walk along side doing whatever needs to be done. If you don’t want to walk, come and be part of the audience and watch the parade.
Our Language Classes are drawing to a close for this school year. If you have kids 5-12 years old, sign them up for our Children’s Chinese Cultural Camp this summer. If you are a teen or adult who would like to help by being a staff volunteer, just let me know.
Oh yes, don’t forget to come to our Saturday Socials. See you there!
RECA JOINT POTLUCK MAY 1
By Mary Lowe
Mark your calendar for our joint potluck/social May 1 with JACL (Japanese-American Citizens League) and FAARP (Filipino American Association of Rohnert Park). It’s RECA’s turn to host this annual event, which will be held at the 4-H Center at 6445 Commerce Blvd. in Rohnert Park (behind Albertson’s). Bring an entrée to share for 8-10 people, and RECA will provide the dessert and drinks. This popular event always packs in people because of the variety of food and entertainment from each organization. If you would like to donate a raffle prize, please contact Mary Lowe at 528-8712 x18.
LAST REMINDER FOR 2004 DUES
Please check your name on the address label. If you see an asterisk (*) by your first name, that means you have not paid your 2004 dues yet. If RECA does not receive your dues soon, you will be taken off our mailing list. You will not receive announcements of our upcoming events and will miss out on seeing photos and reading articles about our past events.
If there is no asterisk by your name, then you are a paid-in-full member. Thank you.
RECA LANGUAGE SCHOOL
By Judy Cheung
As our school year draws to a close, more new students keep pouring in. Most are here to see what we do and how we do it. We are even beginning to have requests for a full-time school in Chinese, like the ones found in San Francisco and San Jose. So far, that is not in our plans.
Our last sessions include participation in the Rose Parade on May 15. All classroom sessions will be cancelled that day with everyone attending the Santa Rosa Rose Parade either as a participant or as part of the audience. We always win first prize in the Cultural Dance Division, so it is important that we have everyone there who can attend.
The last class days of school will be May 18 for Wednesday classes and May 22 for Saturday.
Summer session will be our Children’s Chinese Cultural Camp held at our Center from July 12-23, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. See the separate article in this newsletter for more information.
Registration for classes beginning in September will begin in August. Pre-registration is appreciated because it helps teachers know who is coming and how to better prepare our classes. Watch for details in our August newsletter.
CHILDREN'S CHINESE CULTURE CAMP
By Judy Cheung
From July 12-23, twenty kids between 5 and 12 years old can sign up for our very popular Culture Camp. Adults and teens who want to be in on the fun may come as part-time or full-time assistant staff. Camp is an adventure in Chinese language, culture and cooking.
Our usual schedule begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. with Tai Chi outside on the lawn. We then go inside for language lessons, sharing time, singing, games and sometimes dance. As lunch time approaches, we wash our hands, take our places around the table and prepare our meal, learning how to cook dim sum, fried rice, pot stickers, and many other delicious Chinese menu items. After lunch and some time for free play, we hear stories, do art, and sometimes take a hike on the adjacent public path. All activities include using the Chinese words we learned during the morning.
This year, RECA is providing extended day care for those who need to come early or stay late. Hours include 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 3:00-5:00 p.m. Cost for extended care is an additional $10 per day that extended care is used. (Those arriving between 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. will not be charged.) We are allowing a half-hour for commute traffic, so please pick up your kids on time.
Cost for our Culture Camp is $230 per child, plus additional cost for extended care if used. This fee includes lunch and snacks. Time is July 12-23, 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Pre-registration has already begun. Registration can be done on the first day, if there is space available. For additional information, call Nancy Wang (Mandarin, 576-0533), Judy Cheung (English, 528-0912), or Azy Heydon (English, Mandarin, or Cantonese, 575-9541).
RECA SATURDAY SOCIALS
By Judy Cheung
In January, RECA began our Saturday Socials to offer activities, social opportunities, contact with various parts of our community, food, reading, fun and a long list of other benefits. Attendance has varied from 1 to about 40. It seems that if we have a special program or theme, we have a good turn out. If we just gather, few people show up.
Our most successful programs for the first three months included Clean-up Day, two meetings with the Listening Project, and Traditional Chinese New Year. On April 10, Luke Leung gave a presentation of skin care products and procedures after a tasty lunch of Vietnamese sandwiches, tapioca and banana soup, followed by long-an (“dragon eyes,” a tasty fruit).
Each of our socials include food and fun time, conversations and something important to do like talk to community leaders, meet people who will listen to our opinions and do something, provide service (like clean-up) for our Center, learn something new or just have fun with friends. Our main languages are simultaneously Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Other Chinese dialects and Spanish can also be heard from time to time.
In order to provide more special programs, RECA is now having our Saturday Socials every other Saturday. Our tentative plan is to hold them on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays each month, but please call to confirm. Come and join us. For further information, call Nancy Wang (English or Mandarin) at 576-0533, Judy Cheung (English) at 528-0912, or Azy Heydon (English, Mandarin, Cantonese) at 575-9541.
As Calvin Dang works on one project, two RECA kids, observed by a stuffed bunny, play chess.
At a Saturday Social, teens eat and play Chinese games.
Everyone together at a Saturday Social. Here, one youth is winning a mahjong game at a table of adults. Other tables have all adults, some all youth--lots of conversation, kibitzing, and good times for all.
Our elected treasurer, David Chung, has resigned due to his new job requiring him to be out of town during the week, making it difficult for him to attend RECA meetings and perform his other duties. The RECA board has appointed Hsiu-Chuan Armstrong as the new treasurer. Hsiu-Chuan is also a teacher in our Chinese language school. Thanks to Hsiu-Chuan for taking on this additional responsibility!
By Judy Cheung
RECA is collecting a library of Chinese language and culture books, videos and music CDs. For now, our volumes are few but varied. Saturday afternoon is a good time to come and see what we have. In the hutch near the TV by the fireplace is our main body of novels, videos, music CDs and other such items of interest. Other books and tapes are in classrooms. Most books were donated by Donald O. Nassie, Joe and Nancy Wang and family, and Judy Cheung.
We would like to thank Regina Rand, friend of RECA, who has recently donated an additional 31 volumes of old Chinese language stories and textbooks for our use.
If you would like to donate books, videos, CDs, etc., to RECA’s library for use at our center by classes, during socials, youth meetings and, occasionally, to lend for home use, please bring them during school times, board meetings or during Saturday Socials. We have requests for books in English about Chinese history, culture, language and geography. We also have need for novels and resource books in Chinese at all levels for children, teens and adults. Currently, we have many teens and elders who would like more reading materials in Chinese.
From 8 to 80 years of age, nearly 30 RECA members participated in two sessions of the Listening Project of Sonoma County. This community project is created to hear the personal stories of a wide variety of people of all ages and from all backgrounds and experiences. "Everyone has a story," is the main concept given at the trainings held during two Saturday Socials. If you have interesting experiences that might help others understand people different from themselves, contact Nancy Wang, 576-0533, and she will put you in contact with an RECA interviewer. Let your story be heard.
CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
By Judy Cheung
Entering the hall, we were greeted by throngs of people laughing, joking, visiting, bustling left and right, front to back. Servers and helpers were dressed in RECA red aprons; MCs, members and visitors in brocade jackets and dresses; lots of people in everyday clothes. English, Mandarin, Cantonese and other languages were heard as we stopped by the various tables to see what was being done by the RECA Language Classes, Lily Kwong’s art table, Families With Children From Asia display, the sales table, membership table, and scholarship table. Teens, elders, adults and children were all working together to make this event a monumentally wonderful, successful experience.
Comments were heard that this year we had the best food ever. We had plenty of top quality dishes with a good variety for both regular diets and vegetarians. Those who wanted seconds were accommodated. Those who wanted thirds got thirds. Clo the Cow was saying hello to everyone and giving out little containers of ice cream. See’s candy baskets were filled with See’s lollipops for everyone.
Our entertainment was MC’ed this year by Mary Lowe and Elee Tsai. It is always a treat to hear our announcements in Mandarin as well as English. Some people asked why we didn’t add Cantonese. The answer is time. Our program is so full that we could not accommodate every known language represented and still say what needed to be said, so we announced in the two official languages of English and Mandarin.
Our entertainment included Gerry Yeung on the Chinese hammered dulcimer, accompanied by the debut performance of Jesse Ma on his Chinese flute. Gerry’s second set was accompanied by his teacher on a drum. As always, Gerry’s performance was professional and entertaining.
Our cultural dance groups performed in new costumes and new routines. The RECA dragon opened the show, thrilling everyone as it ran through the audience then did phenomenal tricks on the stage.
The intermediate language classes sang a New Year’s song and some other Chinese folk songs. The ribbon dancers, with some experienced and some new members, were especially beautiful with long ribbons flowing in intricate designs across the stage. Our aborigine dancers, also with some experienced and some new members, danced their new routine in new costumes.
The Kung Fu Exhibition, this year lead by Justin Eggart, was short and fast, leaving everyone breathlessly wanting more.
The Red Panda Acrobats were amazing with their contortions and balancing acts. Everyone laughed and laughed when the star bent himself in half and wiggled through a small barrel. The bird call imitations were wonderfully real. The balancing and spinning of plates on sticks is something none of us should try at home. This act really ‘wowed’ the audience.
Our final act was the Cambodian Dancers, including RECA’s Meesha Heydon. They were elegantly spectacular.
The grand finale was our lion team who finished their performance with out-of-the-lion’s-mouth New Year’s good wishes to a standing ovation.
Throughout all of this, we had our popular raffle prizes. Congratulations to all who won.
In all, we had a wonderful evening of working, playing and eating together. This event is the culmination of six months or more of committee and board planning. The RECA board wants to thank everyone who participated. Let us know if you want to participate on a committee for next year. We hope to see you there in 2005.
PHOTOS FROM CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION (by Judy Cheung)
NANCY WANG RECEIVES THE WOMAN OF COLOR HUMANITARIAN AWARD
By Judy Cheung
The Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women has honored our President, Nancy Wang, by awarding her the Third District’s 2004 Woman of Color Humanitarian Award. Between 1979 and now, 23 notable women of Sonoma County have received this recognition. This year, one woman from each of the five county districts received this honor.
On March 9, at 8:30 in the morning, Nancy and Joe Wang, accompanied by Judy Cheung, went to the Sonoma County Chambers of the County Superintendents. There, Nancy was presented with a certificate of achievement by the county supervisors.
At 4:00 p.m. on the same day, many RECA officers and members attended the awards ceremony and reception held at Paradise Ridge Winery. Here, Nancy was presented with a plaque in honor of her tireless service to promote cultural diversity and intercultural understanding throughout the county with her work through RECA and in conjunction with Families with Children from Asia, police and sheriff’s departments, schools, court system and many other governmental offices and private organizations.
We are proud of you Nancy!
By Irene Fong
The RECA Mahjong Group celebrated their seventh anniversary at the Latitude restaurant in Rohnert Park on April 7.
It was a warm evening and we enjoyed a nice dinner sitting outside on their deck overlooking Roberts Lake. The Latitude is a beautiful new restaurant that has been open for four months. It was formerly Sonoma County’s Wine and Visitor Center.
Some members of the RECA Mahjong Group are also going on a 7-night cruise together on April 18 on the Celebrity Mercury. We will be sailing from San Francisco to Monterey, Los Angeles, Catalina Island, Ensenada, San Diego, and back to San Francisco. I’m sure we will all have a wonderful time. Thanks to Jan Lew for arranging the trip.
For more information on the Mahjong Group, please contact Irene at 586-1069.
RECA COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Are you aware of all the things that RECA does in the community? RECA's cultural program is always ready for outreach to let the greater Sonoma County community know about the richness of our Chinese-American heritage. Activities include members going to schools and doing presentations about Chinese culture or customs, sharing calligraphy or Chinese painting, and performances by our lion dance teams and cultural dancers. Recent events include a presentation by Nancy Wang and Lily Kwong at Riebli Elementary School and a lion team performance at St. Eugene’s School, along with the performances at RECA’s Chinese New Year Celebration.
Upcoming activities include the following: April 30: Coddingtown Family Fun Night April 30: Piner High School Asian Culture Night May 2: Santa Rosa Junior College Day Under the Oaks (lion and dance teams) May 15: Santa Rosa Rose Parade June 6: Lion and cultural dances for the Fulton Filipino-American Community of Sonoma County If you would be interested in helping out with making presentations at schools or being a part of other cultural outreach activities, please contact Nancy Wang at 576-0533.
RECA YOUTH GROUP
By Azy & Mark Heydon
Our RECA Youth Group is multi-cultural and multi-racial; we all get along very well. We have an enthusiastic group that just enjoys getting together. For the new members, we make sure they are included. We play basketball, ping-pong, soccer, watch movies, play computer games, read Chinese books, and help prepare and cook dinner.
Our regular meetings are still on the first Friday of every month. There are other meetings when we need to have special gatherings as well. From time to time, we perform community service. It is very important for our youth to learn the skills of leadership and socialization in this society, as well as the value of citizenship and community responsibility.
For the past few months, we have performed community service such as joining our local Volunteer Youth Center for building trails and cleaning the Laguna in the Sebastopol area. We are also preparing a skit (“The Monkey King”) to perform for the senior center and our potluck social on May 1st.
Upcoming Youth Group events are: April 30th Coddingtown Mall and Piner High School performances; May 1st potluck social at the 4H center; May 2nd Day Under Oaks, SRJC; and May 15th Santa Rosa Rose Parade. We need to help at all these events with setup and cleaning. Again, if you are interested in participating in our RECA Youth Group, call us, Azy, Mark, Bryce, or Meesha at (707) 575-9541.
By Robert Yee
I would like to announce the ongoing Music Workshop sponsored by the Asian American Fellowship Group at the Presbyterian Church of the Roses in Santa Rosa. We co-sponsor the Praise Music Round-Up, a half-hour of singing for children in kindergarten through grade 6, from 10 to 10:30 AM each Sunday. The Music Workshop meets at 10:30 AM. The Music Workshop is a drop-in "music session" for those interested in singing folk music and playing a string instrument. The music workshop is for beginning and intermediate string instrument students. I (Robert Yee) coach ukulele, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass guitar, and rhythm piano. I will coach any interested students on how to teach themselves an instrument and how to play in a musical group.
I am especially interested in coaching parents, grandparents, and older siblings on how to teach music to young children. Presently my wife and I are coaching our granddaughters in singing, piano, ukulele, and violin. There is a difference between coaching and teaching.
If you are interested in starting your own Music Workshop at the RECA Cultural Center or in your own home for your family and friends, I am available to coach you through the process.
The music workshop idea came out of the Asian American Fellowship Group’s “Preparing for College Success” workshop program which I did for many years in my youth group work. Feedback from a number of my youth group members was that they wished they could learn more songs and play their guitars better. What conservative Chinese American college students do when they get together is that they sing and eat pizza.
I am presently developing the Asian American Quest Web site where I will place much of the resource materials I've collected on preparing for college success. Anyone interested in helping me develop this Web site or being involved in the e-mail "Preparing for college success" discussion group can e-mail me at Drrobertyee@aol.com. I'm looking for a non-profit group to link this Web site to. This is my volunteer project. My project this summer is to read "How To Teach Yourself How To Do A Web Site For Dummies." The Music Workshop is free. My how-to-coach project is free. "It's all about getting involved with one’s community."
Advertisements in the newsletter are available to all members. The fee is $30 for a one-time advertisement, or $100 for advertisements in all issues for one year. Please send a check for the advertising fee along with your ad to RECA at P.O. Box 7854, Santa Rosa, CA 95407.
Redwood Empire Chinese Association
© Copyright 2002 Redwood Empire Chinese Association