On April 23, 2011, the Lao Youth Leaders produced their first ever Lao New Year celebration. This was a great achievement because it was the very first time our youth was able to produce an event for the community. They provided a great experience, starting out with a welcome Bacci followed by presentations about the Lao Culture and ending with a feast of great food. This was a fantastic event for our youth to really learn more about the Lao Culture and heritage. They did a fantastic job hosting the audience that included special guests. We are so proud of their achievement. Great work!

Here is a copy of a summary written by two of our very talented youth leaders. Great work!

Original copy was written following the event on April 23, 2011 –

This past weekend we celebrated Lao New Year at the senior center on April 23rd. We started off the celebration with the Baci Ceremony, or more commonly known as Sookhouan. During this ceremony an elder prayed to Buddha and we all paid our respects also. The elders tied white, orange, and yellow threads to our wrists while blessing us with good luck and good fortune. Afterwards we moved on to watch 2 members of the organization, Nini and Moondy, perform the Blessing Dance (Ouy Phon). Earlier on in the week we were all divided into groups and were told to research the topics we were given. Some of the topics were: sports, activities, culture, and geography about Laos. We had to have all of our research done within the week so we could present our topics and inform all of the people there. The presentations were successful and all looked beautiful. We had PowerPoint’s and posters that everyone worked hard on.

After our youth presentations we had the opportunity to listen to a few people speak about Laos and their life stories. We had a special guest talk to us about how much he appreciates the Lao Community. This person was the mayor of Elgin, Dave Kaptain. He explained about why he appreciated us and how he wants to involve the Lao Community in more activities so everyone can learn more about Laos too! Our other guest was a Lao director named Thavisouk Phrasavath. He told us about his early life in the USA and his struggle. He always dreamed of being an artist/director and he has achieved his goal. He encouraged us to no matter what follow our dreams and to never say never. After that inspiring speech we had lunch! We had a delicious selection of Lao cuisine. Everyone contributed to the food and made it delicious. There was, sticky rice of course, egg rolls, Filipino egg rolls, steamed buns, crab rangoon, larb, thum maak hoong, fried rice, and duck. Afterwards we had fun playing all of our activities. We jump roped, played with a balloon, and had a Q&A session. Our last activity was a fun game of egg toss. Everyone paired up and tried to see who could toss the farthest. It was friendly competition but Kyla & Brandon were victorious!! When the egg toss game was over it was time to bid our farewells. Everyone helped clean up the party room and went our separate ways. We all had a delightful time with this celebration and can’t wait for the next one!

Summary by: Kiana Sundara & Kyla Sundara