Contributed by Teresa Rischl
“This was a very special night for me. It was amazing to see CARP members from the last 50 years come together to celebrate not just past accomplishments, but to also inspire future CARP members.” – Tamara Starr-Perry, CARP alumnus and host of the local CARP 50th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, November 19th
Boston is a college student hub, especially considering it has over 100 colleges within a 25-mile radius. Nestled in the heart of the city, this evening was special because the student celebration called on more than people’s academic pursuits; it called on our yearning for connection, meaning, and the beautifully-balanced integration of science and faith.
Perhaps much of the younger crowd wasn’t so sure what the evening would entail or even what CARP was really about. For many, their parents had been involved with CARP and they grew up hearing stories about rallies and the fight against communism.
Coming Together to Celebrate 50 Years
Upon arrival, guests were welcomed with a beautiful reception of photos and literature, displaying CARP memories, testimonies, and history. With a number of photo books since 1973 (when CARP was founded in America), people looked through and ‘tagged’ friends they recognized. A number of Boston residents recognized themselves from 20-30 years ago, which made for a fun bonding opportunity.
“My favorite moment was to see all of the pictures from past CARP activities. It brought back the joy and excitement I felt while I was a college student.” – Tamara Starr
We then gathered for dinner in the beautiful chapel of the Boston Family Church where Dan Perry, a resident and CARP alumnus, gave a welcome address and prayer. Special thanks was given to our host, the Boston Family Church, for offering the space and for sponsoring student meals (all students love free food!), to Kodan for helping prepare the food, and to Ginseng-Up for donating refreshments.
As National Program Director for CARP I facilitated a few round-table discussions. With this comment, “Even if you weren’t in CARP, you were all students; share about your student experience,” discussions flourished. I also emphasized that one aspect of CARP culture is family and that this was a chance to really get to know each other. People started moving around from table to table to hear experiences from CARP alumni, creating a beautiful harmony among the guests.
The CARP 50th Anniversary Tribute video, created by CARP alumnus, Toshi Tagawa, was featured to give context and re-ignite memories. Again, participants shared in their groups how the video and the legacy of CARP touched them.
This was a perfect shift into acknowledging and honoring the alumni present. We were grateful to have Mr. Karr (a Boston CARP alumnus) and Dr. Hiroi (a Japan CARP alumnus) share their testimony of their CARP experience and hopes for the future.
Creating a New Generation of Student Leaders
As a special treat, the event planning team put together a slideshow of New England CARP photos, with an emphasis on local students who were involved in CARP programs within the last ten years. It was great for the crowd to see so many familiar faces and to see how many have been touched by CARP. Whether students were involved as regular members, there have been many opportunities for students to join CARP galas, workshops, seminars, hikes, discussions, and more.
We were grateful to hear from Kimi Kim, the President of a local CARP chapter at Northeastern University. She shared some of her struggles in getting a chapter started but also her determination to share the founders’ vision and heart.