The results from the election are in, and it’s time to meet your new 2014 Ishikawa AJET Council! The newly elected members of the Council are already planning and implementing ideas to make 2014 a great year for us Ishikawa JETS.
But first, you may be wondering, “What exactly is AJET?” The acronym stands for the Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching. Every prefecture in Japan has an AJET Council in some shape or form. Then, prefectures are grouped in “blocks,” each of which also has its own Block Representative. And of course, those blocks compose the National AJET. Ishikawa belongs to Block 5, which you can read more about here.
But what does AJET do? President Dan Campbell explains “The main purpose of AJET is to bring people together, we’ll do this through events, activities, trips, money raising and volunteering opportunities.” (Dan helped me a great deal with this post, so from now on his input will appear in italics.)
Unlike Prefectural Advisers (PAs) or Coordinators of International Relations (CIRs) the AJET members are selected by fellow JETs, not the Board of Education, CLAIR, or any other outside agency. And though the council members are all elected, they are also volunteers – no stipend or remuneration is provided.
This year the ishikawa AJET Council has eight positions: one President, three Representatives (north, central, south,) and then four chairs, Social, Charity, Sports, and Communications. But who are these council members? What do they do, how do they work, and what do they sing when they think they’re all alone? Read on the learn the answers to all of these questions, and more!
President: Dan Campbell
I feel that my role as AJET president is to make this year the best it can possibly be. I’m on top of whatever event or activity we’re planning and I’m also a link between you and AJET. I value any opinions you guys have and if you want help arranging a specific activity or event then let me know, or if you just need support with something then I’m here for that too. Contact me through the AJET email: ajetishikawa(at)gmail(dot)com or through our Facebook page: Here (be sure to ‘like’ it too!).
As you may know, Ishikawa is commonly divided into three areas – North (starting from around Nanao and extending up into the Noto) Central (from Kahoku to Hakusan/Nonoichi) and then South (from Hakusan down, including Kaga and Nomi.) Each area boasts its own unique festivals, events, and great things to see/do. As such, AJET has one representative for each area.
Northern Representative: Alexander Schloss
Alexander will be spreading the news of the north. He’ll let us know about activities or festivals happening the beautiful north peninsula of Ishikawa.
Central Representative: Maritza Santa Cruz
Maritza is the center for central support! She will be telling you what’s going on in and around Kanazawa, as well as giving out handy tips about the big city. If you want to know anything about Kanazawa and it’s surroundings Maritza is your go to.
Southern Representative: Donna Pleso
Donna is repping it for the south. If there’s anything you need to know about the southlands of Ishikawa she’s the one to ask, she’ll also be promoting any events and news from said region.
One of the primary purposes of AJET is to connect the JETs living within the prefecture. And one of the primary ways this happens is through social events like bar crawls, beach parties, festival meet-ups, and the like. Our social chairs make sure these events happen, and see to all the nitty gritty details. When you have a great time at an AJET sponsored event, thank these guys!
Social Chairs: Tom Foran (left) and Gerard Noakes (right)
These lads are in charge of the years’ events. They already have some great ideas and have made it clear that the tagline for this year is bigger and better.
As I’m sure you all remember, JET salaries and expenses (think Tokyo Orientation and plane tickets to/from Japan!) are covered by the taxpayers of Japan. That means we’re public servants in our communities. And what better way to serve our communities than through charity? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
Charity Chair: Frances Visintainer
Frances’ role is to establish and build connections with charities and community projects in Ishikawa, she is also eager to set up a volunteering network in Japan and abroad. Many of the events this year will have a charity element, which will be organised by Frances.
After a long week of teaching, what feels better than tossing a frisbee with some fellow JETs? Or during those long, dark winter months, what gets the adrenaline flowing like a weekend ski trip? Here’s the guy who makes it all happen:
Sports Chair: Clint Kimzey
Clint will be organising and creating this years sporting activities, with everything from skiing to frisbee golf. If you’re not sporty don’t fear, because there will be many events that are all about having a laugh and not running a marathon.
This year, I’ll be spreading the word about the AJET comings and goings. You can visit our Facebook page, follow our blog, or just keep your eyes peeled for the emails that’ll be heading your way.
Communications Chair: Daniel Kenneston
Daniel’s position in AJET revolves around spreading the word. He will continue to post information about upcoming events and activities in the prefecture and as communication isn’t a one way street we want you guys to talk to him about what events/activities etc you’d like to see.
There you have it, straight from the President’s mouth! This year the Ishikawa JET Blog and AJET will be closer than ever, so feel free to use the “About & Contact” if you’d like to submit feedback or requests for AJET or the Blog!
Or, if you’d like to get a hold of AJET directly, you can reach them at ajetishikawa(at)gmail(dot)com or through the Facebook page: Here.
Daniel is a third-year JET in Kanazawa, teaching at a junior high school. He likes drinking coffee, riding his bike, and hanging out with his wife.