MPAK-East Regional Picnic, Van Saun Park, Pararmus, NJ, July 23, 2011
With lots of travels and busy schedule, I am now able to sit down and report two MPAK gatherings that recently occurred within two weeks apart. The MPAK-East Regional met on July 23rd at the Van Saun Park, Paramus, NJ with 40 people in attendance. We endured the 104 degrees temperature and humidity, but the tree shades and gentle breeze provided some comforts. MPAK-East Region has not been very active past two years, and this picnic was an attempt to revitalize the gathering, and it was a very important gathering.
A special thanks to Min Lee and Ben Huh, who took over the leadership role again despite living in South Carolina, and driving 11 hours to organize and attend the picnic. There were some familiar faces at the picnic and it was great to see the Jungs and Hyuns again, and there were many new faces which was very special and I hope they will continue to support the East Regional gatherings. Due to many families spread out so widely in the East coast area, there will be three mini gatherings planned before another big gathering planned for the Christmas time.
MPAK-Valley Region (north of LA), Gathered at Andrew & Helen Kim's Place, July 31, 2011
Out in the Pacific West, the MPAK-Valley Regional group area met at Andrew & Helen Kim's place. The temperature must have hovered around 95, but once the sun set it was very pleasant. The kids swimmed in the pool, jumped in the moonbounce, and played with a dog named Oreo (really looked like an Oreo cookie color). One of the highlights of the gathering was the campfire, where kids roasted the marshmallows, using improvised sticks by taping chopsticks together.
The MPAK-Valley Region director Andrew and Helen Kim have adopted three children from Korea. Their third child has autism, but progressing very well although challenging at times. That day I learned something new about Andrew Kim, or rather Coach Kim. Andrew is the varsity head football coach at the Chatsworth High School, that has a student body population of 3300. This distinction is very rare for a Korean-American to hold. I know of no other Korean-American that is a head football coach of any team. It is a very rare combination of being a football coach and and an adoptive parent that make him and Helen very special.