Rod rides off into the sunset…

Farewell JETAA USA!

My quest of seeing every Japanese Consul General’s residence in the U.S. ended earlier this month. During my involvement with JETAA USA, I’ve been able to visit 5 – no small feat. With the end of this quest came the end of my term as JETAA USA country representative. And after many emails from Jessyca, I thought it was about time to say my official “sayonara.”

As an organization, we made a lot of big strides this year. Technologically, we took a big step forward with almost all chapters building or maintaining chapter websites and using various social media channels. We also took a big step forward as an organization coming together through all of the JET/JETAA controversy in Japan, which seems like ages ago. And most recently, we really came together after the earthquakes and tsunami hit Japan.

It was really amazing to see the chapters unite under the idea of giving back to Japan. The mass of emails that the CRs received supporting our efforts and the various events that happened all across the national was truly heartwarming, and it made me really proud to be a JET alumni.

2011 is set up to be another big year that will help us move forward as an organization. I’m confident that the current leadership will help take us there, and I’m looking forward to hearing about all of the initiatives that are ready to come to fruition.

Before I sign off, I’d like to give a few shout outs:

  • To fellow CRs, Shree and Jess, for moving things forward for JETAA USA – country reports, national conferences and oh so lovely Sunday morning Skype calls. It was great to work with you.
  • A big thank you to Jess for helping me maintain my sanity during the month of March when it felt like I was working two jobs, often using time at work to work on the national fundraising effort – not the best idea if you work in an industry that requires you to bill hours.
  • To Ryan Hart and Bob Schnyder for helping me with the migration. Bob and I hacked away in a hotel room in New York during the breaks of the national conference, making sure that I had something live to present! Ryan spent a lot of time mapping out the site and building out the content, which took a considerable amount of time. The website wouldn’t have been happened without either of you.
  • To the good folks of CLAIR for supporting JETAA USA. Every JETAA member appreciates the hard work that you do for us, and the guidance that you have provided many JET alumni.
  • To everyone who supported and/or organized or participated in an event for the national fundraising initiative. The current level of fundraising has already exceeded my expectations, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the national fund is finally distributed.
  • A big thank you to JETAANY for helping set up the fund.

And to everyone I’ve met along this crazy ride. Whether we’ve participated in the same workshop at a national conference, shared a drink together at a Consul General’s residence or danced to “Can’t Touch This,” I’ll always cherish the memories (and the Facebook photos) of our time together.

Officially retired,

Rod McLeod
JETAA USA Country Representative (2010-11)
JETAANC President (2008-10)
ALT, Shimane-ken (2005-07)

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