For the past five years my city has had an annual Easter festival aimed at young children. Normally I am out of town for the event and therefore do not attend, but this year (because I’m visiting the States two months later than normal) I was able to not only go, but also volunteer. The volunteering part was actually kind of an accident. A few weeks ago our city CIR, Cameron, messaged everyone in our area to ask if they wanted to volunteer. I told him I probably could, but I would have to get back to him. Then I sort of forgot to get back to him. As my weeks got more crazy, I completely forgot about the Easter festival and instead focused on having my first weekend free since early January.
And then Cameron texted us the Monday before and named the people he had written down on the volunteer list. I was on that list.
Having no idea what I was in for, I headed to the park next to the station where all of the city’s biggest festivals are held. Cameron had warned me that most of the other volunteers were my students, but I typically enjoy getting to see my students outside of the school environment. (Although, I always feel like I know exactly nothing about fashion when I see them in normal street clothes.)
The day was fun. For the most part my only job was to say hello to kids when they came up to say hello to me. Then I gave them a sticker for their little punch cards so they could get a piece of candy as a prize when they filled the card up. I also got tons of adorable high-fives (high-touch in Japanese) and saw a lot of people I knew from all of the other volunteer events I work.
Hanging out with my students was also a huge highlight. It helps that the students who volunteered are typically the nicest students and the ones who like me the most. It definitely helped to boost my cred with the other ALTs who were volunteering…I think. I had quite a few of my friends commenting on how much the students like me, which is always an ego boost. I had a great time and wasn’t too exhausted by the time I headed home, though I did decide to take a taxi back as I had had a (super) small fever that morning.