By Mari Rueter, President of JETAA Alaska.
Mari is a former Tokushima JET (2009-2014) and is the new president for JETAA Alaska. She works at a local engineering company as a document production specialist. When she isn't busy collecting the latest Hello Kitty goods or training for triathlons, she is out and about in Anchorage checking out local events.
At the end of February, USJETAA came to visit Anchorage, Alaska to meet with the board and members of JETAA Alaska. It was exciting to be able to show off the beauty of our winter during our fun festival Fur Rondy. While enjoying different events like fur auctions, the Frostbite Footrace, and watching dogsled races, we were also able to invite our members out to a special Happy Hour to meet with USJETAA.
Our beginnings go back to 2013 when former JETAA Alaska President Chris Vaughan was invited to the JETAA USA National Conference. It was the first step in trying to establish our chapter, figuring out where we fit into the world of JETAA, and tracking down members. In 2016, we were finally able to become an official JETAA chapter. We were very excited to work with USJETAA as our chapter has been growing the past few years. We have put on a few events every year, but wanted help figuring out how to draw more members to come out and how to create events that would help us strengthen our relationship with Japan even more. USJETAA held a workshop for us to discuss our strengths, what kind of events we hope to hold, as well as what challenges we may need to overcome. It was very encouraging to find out that we were headed in the right direction for our continued development.
As a relatively new and small chapter, we hope to create a nest egg and to get a bank account up and running! We are also excited to connect to more members as we create events in Fairbanks, which is a good five to six-hour drive away from Anchorage. Our big goal is to have events that are joint efforts between JETAA Alaska, the Japan Alaska Association (JAA), the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Sister Cities Program. We have volunteered at events put on by JAA, but want to come up with something new that we could be proud of having created together.
Thank you USJETAA for coming up to work with us, we hope to see you again!
Connect with JETAA Alaska
The Leadership Program is funded by CLAIR Japan Local Government Center.