Youth Symposium 2009 (:

Hi kids,

So this weekend was the BEST and because there were SO many memories, I decided to write about the entire excursion (: So here it is, Youth Symposium 2009 (Feb. 13- Feb. 15).

By the way, it DID NOT rain at all this weekend. In fact it was warmer in Fresno and the weather itself was just beautiful. (:

Alright, so the year before, about 10 of us went to YS 2008, which was SO much fun. Now out of these 10 Leos, about 7-8 of us signed up for this year’s YS. And along with us “experienced kids”, we had another 12 Leos in going, for a grand total of 20. This included: Tim, Freddie, Diana, Mabel, Ayesha, Arya B., Gurpreet, Emily Liu, Kevin F., Brittany, Sahil, Cathy, Katherine, Emily Y., Max, Jessica C., Gary, Brandon C., Sachil, and of course MOI!

Because Tim, Freddie, Diana, Sahil, Kevin, Sachil, Emily Liu, and me had such a great time last year, we couldn’t WAIT for this year’s YS. For two weeks straight, we kept wishing that YS would be the next day. And then I started the fun emails to pump up EVERYONE (:. They started with “10 more days” and then an email was sent every day saying “4 days left!”, “3 days”, “2 days”, “1 day”. Honestly, those emails I sent out made me even MORE excited! Haha, and during school, when we’d see a fellow YS Leo, we would yell out “2 more days!!”. Lol, I think our chem class thought Diana and I were CRAZY for yelling out numbers daily. Tim would stop by every day during brunch to count down – and his enthusiasm was so contagious that even Young knew what was going down. And then FINALLY, it was Februrary, Friday the 13th. The day we would leave at 12 pm sharp (missing 4th period), to head off to Fresno! Wearing my Leo shirt, I went to each period, trying to remain calm and collected. But I couldn’t help it, the excitement was contagious. Coming out of Mr. Alcosser’s class, I saw Arya and we immediately said “0 DAYS!”. In 3rd period, I couldn’t stop saying “only two hours left” and by 4th period I was COMPLETELY gone. Haha, I felt so bad because Mrs. Clifford was having such a nice conversation about art with us, but at the time I couldn’t care less. My eyes were only for the clock, and once it struck 12, I got up and got OUT of there. So I ran to the Attendance Office where the rest of my Leo family was waiting and as we were signing out with the office, I just couldn’t stop jumping.

The initial plan was for my mom to come pick up Diana, Tim, Freddie, and me and take us to Ralph’s’, where the two vans we rented from Enterprise would be there waiting. However, Freddie dear forgot his pajamas, so we ended up taking a detour to his house. However, as quickly as he went inside, Freddie ran out and told us “my TV’s gone . . . someone broke in!”. The rest of us at first laughed, thinking it was a joke, but when we soon realized he was dead serious, we ran in to see that the burglar had broken in from the back and had stolen JUST the TV. However, my dear ambitious son Freddie was VERY COOL. He totally acted like a pro, calling his parents and calmly telling them the situation. He inspected and found fingerprints and since he made sure his parents had kept the box the TV came in, he reassured us that insurance would cover everything. I couldn’t have been prouder (:

Now after that little surprise, we jetted off to Ralph’s’ where we saw the rest of the Leo kids as well as the vans waiting. Diana and I suddenly got hit with excitement as it was like deja vu, seeing the incredibly huge vans there. We quickly loaded our luggage and split up into two groups. In my van, which was driven by Mr. Doogan a.k.a “The Dooganater” (copyright Arya B.), were the Tanakas, Mabel, Tim, Freddie, Ayesha, Sachil, Diana, Gurpreet, Arya, Emily Liu, and me. We jumped in and started our journey – after a quick stop at the gas station where Tim was able to get Arya’s iPod speakers.

Now, the plan was to get to Fresno through the Grapevine, however, due to conditions, it was closed and we had to take the scenic route. Yes, that meant our trip there was over 7 freakin’ hours! But actually, the time went by pretty quickly. In the beginning, we talked, listened to music, sang along, and other little random stuff. I just realized, we never actually used Arya’s “Would you rather . . . ” book. Honestly, I can’t really say what we did, but believe me, time passed by and I didn’t get to read at ALL. However, around the evening time, Freddie and I decided to just talk. So we took up the back row of the van and had a heart-to-heart conversation. I learned SO much about him and I think he learned some stuff about me too. I think we both were finally able to figure the other one out (: So even though the ride was so long to the point where we got to John’s Incredible Pizza Company at 8:30 instead of 6, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I got closer to one of my sons (: and man, I just fell in love with my family all over again. And because our conversation was so deep, the others got jealous and started talking about enlightening topics, so there was a period where all of us were in a deep discussion. Emily Liu, Arya, and Freddie kind of killed it though by trying to take SO MANY freakin’ pictures of me. I swear, I am NOT photogenic and they know it, and yet they kept taking photo after photo! There were so many flashes >.< But I did receive a LOVELY call from the kids in the other van who sang “1,2,3,4” by the Plain White T’s for me. (:

Speaking of John’s Incredible Pizza Company, once we got there, we immediately went for the food. Now you know Chuck E. Cheese’s right? Well John’s Incredible Pizza Company is FOUR TIMES bigger. So we pig out on pasta, pizza (and the varieties were endless, there was even a Spicy Peanut Butter Pizza) and finally get to the games. To continue the tradition of last year, a bunch of us headed to Laser Tag. The guys went first and came back bragging about how someone got 500 something points. Then the girls went in and MAN, did we get wild! Lol, I was able to get a lot of people, especially Mabel and Emily Yu. Awwww, haha, Emily Y. was SUCH an easy target (: And so I come out afterward and found out I got 1,550 points! So that was pretty cool and we later on went to the other games. A lot of us got lucky, like Max, Diana, and Jessica, where we’d play a “chance” game and get 50-100 tickets. There were also those non-ticket games like “House of the Dead 4”. OMG, Diana and I were SO into it, and I kept smacking my gun to the panel because of the energy. Then all of us pooled in our tickets and got quite a big number. We ended up trading the tickets in for TWO (cute) stuffed lions. Haha, so another two to add to our lovely collection (:

After a quick frozen yogurt, we headed to Holiday Inn. After getting all the rooms settled, it ended up being 11:30 pm, so the group decided to meet in my room (which included Diana and Emily Liu) at midnight and hang out. All of us in our pajamas, we got into one room and basically socialized. We had a fascinating conversation with a “Mr. Peter” *ahem* <——- but I can say anymore, because what happens at YS, STAYS in YS. Let me just tell you though, I AM a believer! So after that, the many phone calls, and Max/Emily Yu doing the dirty (o.o), we decided it was time to end the party and sleep. Especially since we had to wake up at 5 AM and I had to make the wake-up calls. However, along with other distractions, there was this couple fighting, so Diana and I didn’t really sleep until 4 something >.< (Emily Liu was in Gurpreet/Arya/Gary/Brandon’s room watching Harold & Kumar).

At 5:40 AM, I get a “wake-up” call from Sahil (revenge for making him believe I was an actual employee last year). So I called the other kids and started getting dressed. We needed to wear formal black/white attire for the Flag Ceremony. The three of us (E.L, D. and me), go down for breakfast where I’m greeted by Arya as “Power Nazi” – grrrrrrrr. After eating, we headed off to the ceremony. Now the Flag Ceremony is basically when all the Leos bring up each flag that’s part of the Lions International community to a stage. After doing that, we left, while the Lions had their little gathering. We got back to the hotel where we had our “Team-Building Activity”, where we split into groups with other Leos, and worked together to make a model that stood up by itself (out of note cards and tape). So we met different Leos from different parts of California, but even with the great Kevin Ferris, our model ended up falling at the end. Ah well.

We quickly changed out of our formal attire into jeans and our YS shirt and met up again to meet the International President and his wife. I absolutely adore his wife and they both made a nice presentation. Tim received this REALLY cool signed banner which will be hung up in Mrs. Karasawa’s room. We then listed to a motivational speech given by the YS coordinator’s husband, which was quite inspirational. After that we were off to the Luncheon with the International President. But before that, Mrs. Tanaka (the cutest and GREATEST second mom in the world) gave us all little Valentine’s Day monkeys, one which we presented to the International President’s wife. The luncheon was okay, since we waited forever to be served as we were the Leos. For the vegetarian meal, I got this sandwich thing with all this squishy, black/green “supposed” vegetables. Lol, I had to ask Sachil if this thing before me was alive and have him test it before I ate it. It was . . . sufficient for my appetite, let’s just say XD. Then the dessert, some kind of cake, was given out. The cake was alright, really sweet though, so you had to eat it in moderate amounts. Now while I was eating this cake, the International President started giving out awards and then the Leo of the Year for California was being called out. I had already been notified that I was one of three finalists for this award, but being the practical person I was, I wasn’t betting that I was going to win – even if everyone else thought so. So he first called out the finalists. But he only called out the other 2 finalists’ names and that was it.

I automatically thought that I was out of the running and continued to eat my cake. However, the two tables filled with my DBHS Leos were suddenly enraged. Tim was seriously mouthing WTH over and over again and everyone else kept looking at me. Then the president says “And the Leo of the Year is . . . wait, is there an Amanda Singarahah  here?” Amanda. I kid you not. -.- So I starting walking up there and our two tables just shook as everyone jumped up screaming and yelling. I walked up and received this trophy that was modeled after an Academy Award . Thankfully my name was printed correctly on the trophy itself. I walked down and was first given a HUGE hug from Mrs. Tanaka. Then walking back to our tables, I was bombarded by hugs from all my Leos. I think THAT was the best thing, all those hugs from everyone, knowing that I was truly cherished.

After the awards ceremony, all the Leos left as the Lions stayed for the luncheon. Immediately when we got outside, everyone began to yell and scream again and pictures were taken. Really, that moment is and will always be indescribable. I <3 you guys SO MUCH.

Once we got back to the hotel, it was time for our community service project. Because it was Valentine’s Day, we made cards for Senior Citizens and got to go to Hope Manor to give the elderly our cards. HOWEVER, this retirement home that was supposed to be 10 minutes away ENDED up taking like 30 minutes because we couldn’t find it. And what’s funnier? We went to the local policemen to ask them where it was and they were like “I had no idea we had a retirement home!” -.- Haha, but the home itself. It was one of those things where you had to be there. The elderly’s faces automatically lit up as we personally gave them a card. One woman read my card thoroughly, looked at me and said the card made her day, and then gave me a hug. So many happy feelings (: Ahaha, and then my dear sensitive son, Tim, brought smiles to one woman’s face by singing Spanish Justos Lamos songs to her.

Now I’m not sure when, but during one of the times when went up to the rooms in our hotel, we ALL piled into one elevator. BIG mistake. The elevator became all possessed and stopped at a different floor, where poor Sachil was like SUCKED OUT. The doors quickly shut and the same thing happened at each floor. When it stopped at our floor, we had to jump out because the elevator wasn’t leveled with the ground. My god, that image of Sachil’s hand reaching out to us before he was sucked out will always remain in my head. Luckily he was fine and we all survived the possessed elevator.

So once we got back to the hotel, we were pretty wiped out. It was only 4 PM, but especially since we had not slept the night before, we all wanted to nap quickly before our Leo Social dinner. However, the coordinator insisted that we have a vote whether we could just chill or do another activity, and this vote could not take place until ALL the Leos were there. So yes, we wasted an hour just waiting until everyone was there. During that hour, most of the DBHS Leos were dead – poor Gary had passed out on the floor. But when the vote was taken – and duh, it was to chillax, we went up to our rooms. Supposedly the All-Star game was on, so everyone else was watching that, while I, with the help of Gary, Jessica, and Arya, tried to find a movie theater in Fresno where we could watch a movie after the social and where we can easily walk to. The closest one was 3 miles away -.- So at the end, Mr. Bell agreed to take us there and back.

But before that, there was the Leo Social. Now the coordinator had proposed that each Leo Club do a skit. Being the involved individuals we were, the DBHS Leos decided to make a skit. Lol, but being from DBHS, we also procrastinated, so 15 minutes before the social/dinner, we were making it up. Emily Yu, thank god, had already formed an idea, so she basically dictated us. Half of us were on the floor representing the lazy people who didn’t want to volunteer. Then the other half danced around to “Thriller” trying to convince them to join Leo Club. Then all of us got up and sang the “YMCA” song but instead, gave it a Leo twist with L-E-O-S! So after our sole skit, we sat down and ate our Italian dinner. Sachil couldn’t join us, because remember those cakes that you had to eat in moderation? Yeah, he ate THREE pieces, and therefore was up in his room sick. However, our conversation during dinner was VERY . . erm . . . INTERESTING. The details discussed cannot be disclosed, but I’ll let you know that I will never think of corn the same way again. o.O

After dinner, there were some powerpoint presentations and awards. Then the three Leo of the Year nominees got to pick raffle tickets. Now being the smart kids we were, the DBHS Leos had gotten a hold of A LOT of raffle tickets and filled them out. So the first girl picked out Mabel’s ticket. Then the second girl picked out a “DBHS Leo Club”  ticket (Gurpreet’s). So that’s $150 and $300 respectively. Then it was my turn to pick out the $500 winner. But of course, life has to have some downs to have some ups, so I ended up picking another club’s ticket. But it was ok, because we got SOME MONEY and man were we happy (: After that, everyone sort of dispersed, so we went up to our rooms to change for the movies.

However, we needed to create Gurpreet’s and Arya’s “vision” of “Money Rain”. So basically we took the hundred or so parts of the raffle tickets we kept and started throwing them around in the elevator like money to the song “Make It Rain”. We stopped whenever the elevator would open and everyone outside would just stare. At one point, someone was like “Do you want to come in”, haha, but everyone just thought we were insane. After reaching out floor, we picked everything up and ran to our rooms to change.

Now because 16 people out of 20 decided to go, we wanted to use only one van, since the van was a 15-seater and just squeeze. However, that meant most of us screwed the “seatbelt rule”. We went to the movie theater and bought our tickets for “He’s Just Not That Into You”. Now let me tell you, I am a hopeless romantic and all but even I fell asleep during the movie. That was the first movie in a theater I had ever slept through. But god, there was NO plot! I fell asleep and woke up and it was practically the same thing. Haha, most of the other kids fell asleep too, and the lucky children, Diana and Tim, left the movie all together while I was asleep. However, a few kids liked it, so I guess it was worth it. But afterwards, while bashing the movie, we unanimously decided to go on a caffeine run. Now Mr. Bell is NOT the world’s greatest driver and he had already gotten into two minor MINOR accidents during our stay. One of them was backing up into a pillar which left this dent. So we’re coming up to a red light and Tim/Gary start yelling to Mr. Bell that there’s a red light. But he doesn’t listen until the end and he basically slams the brakes which such force that little 90-pound Mabel flies forward. I quickly screamed, because after all, I am the “Mom” and after that we just all wanted to go back to the hotel. However, when we got there, the Tanakas were there and NOT happy. They wanted us to take both vans because everyone should have had a seatbelt. And after that little incident, I completely understood. They also got complaints from other Leos who said we just “took off” instead of staying for the “dance” that began at 9:30 PM. But honestly, none of us knew there would be a dance, and we, being the kind kids we were, had tried to socialize with the other Leos already. However, the Tanakas had a right to be concerned and I love them for that.

So then we went back to our rooms to shower and change. Tim and me later on went downstairs to try to find the Tanakas and on our way back up, this drunk man came into the elevator. He was holding like this hot plate cover and told us that there was only ice on the 7th floor. Then he started making statements about how he loved ice and began to spin the hot cover on this pen. So there was water splattering all over and it dawned on me that Tim and I had to get out of there ASAP. Thankfully our floor was just one up from when he stepped in, so as soon as our elevator doors opened, I just walked right out of there, making sure Tim followed. I swear, the crazies in our hotel were just o.O. In one room, there was someone smoking marijuana. And in another room we heard some erm . . huffing and puffing. You can be the judge of what that sounds like.

After that, we decided to watch Wall-E in my room because Freddie and Tim insisted that it is a sin that I haven’t watched Wall-E yet. So we’re watching it and people start leaving and coming in. The beginning was pretty good, but I was honestly getting really tired, and because I was already in my bed, I guess I just knocked out. Now Emily Liu and Diana had knocked out as well. And Gary . . well he fell asleep on my foot apparently. Sachil and Tim, being the sweethearts they are, put everything into place and closed the door, without waking us up. They even let Gary sleep because they figured he would wake up and go back to his room. But when I woke up at 4:44 AM, I felt something heavy on my foot and I look down and there was Gary. And he looked so peaceful sleeping! Haha, then Diana wakes up and we start talking about how all of us knocked out and poor Gary gets up and goes to his room. BUT, his room’s locked too! So finally I was like, Gary dear, just sleep here. So we all went back to sleep and when I woke up again at 7 and made my wake-up calls, we just all got ready while he slept. Haha, it was quite chill.

Speaking of wake-up calls, I call Katherine’s room, and she picks up, AND INSTEAD of responding to me, she kind of just makes this noise and places the phone to the side. So I hang up and call again and I keep getting a “this phone is in use at the moment”. Grrrrrr . . . so I had to walk to their room and knock MANY times before they finally woke up. Haha, still love you Katherine.

After everything was packed and ready, we headed down. Before we officially left, Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka had a talk with us. Mrs. Tanaka suddenly started crying telling us how much she cared about us. I swear, I was near tears as well and really, I just can’t believe how blessed I am to have her and Mr. Tanaka.

When we loaded up the vans, we had a few switches here and there. I realized that the other van, Mr. Bell’s, blasted Chinese music the way up, so Ferris and Brittany wanted out. Haha, so after those changes, we headed out. We finally stopped around Bakersfield to get some food because we didn’t have breakfast. However, the wait at Denny’s was so long, so Arya came up with a brilliant (yes, no sarcasm this time!) idea that we eat something small at Jack in the Box and then have lunch at Roscoe’s Chicken N’ Waffles. He had insisted that this place was THE place to eat since we left on Friday, so we decided to give it a try. As we drove towards Pasadena, I looked through all the pictures people took (and deleted the horrible ones . . . hehe) and I felt tears well up in my eyes because in reality, there probably wouldn’t be a Youth Symposium 2010 for me. And because the world is cruel, the ride back was much shorter because we didn’t have to take the scenic route. Roscoe’s was CROWDED, but because the wait was short, we decided to chill.

AND THEN I got to meet Bertha! Sachil’s 6-month food baby! Haha, so Bertha/Sachil, Freddie, Diana, Mabel, and I took the first seating and let me tell you, the waffles were DELICIOUS. The chicken was alright, but it was the WAFFLES that made it all worth it. Haha, Freddie practically made love to his waffles and Sachil scarfed down the waffles in 6 minutes so that both he and Bertha were satisfied. Even Mabel became ferocious (:

Speaking of Mabel, I think I corrupted her! That’s right, MOI! At the beginning of the trip she was so quiet and shy, but by the end, she was talking about robbing banks and shooting herself if she had a food baby like Sachil. I couldn’t be prouder!

As we grudgingly walked back to the vans, I had all these ideas of sabotaging them so that we could prolong our trip. That, or just have Mr. Bell drive XD. And then in a blink of an eye, we were back at Ralph’s, where it all began. We slowly unloaded, took one last picture together, and departed.

Honestly, this weekend, “Valentine’s Day weekend”, was the best. I spent it with all of my ‘valentines’ and I wouldn’t think of any other way to spend it. I love ALL of you kids! (: Haha, yes, even the Leo cat and lion. So thank you, Tim, Freddie, Max, Sachil, Emily Liu, Diana, Katherine, Cathy, Jessica, Emily Yu, Ayesha, Mabel, Brittany, Kevin, Sahil, Gurpreet, Arya, Brandon, and Gary. You guys made this weekend a memorable one and these memories wouldn’t have occurred without you.

<3 A.


7 thoughts on “Youth Symposium 2009 (:

  1. Mom Anantha,

    You are the best! I will never forget “corn”, “food baby”, “dooganator”, “elevator party”, “chicken and waffles”, “sachil being sucked out” and etc. of the YS2009 because of this blog post. Reading this really brings back the emotional charge of the Youth Symposium this year – one of the best ever! Seriously, if it weren’t for you, we would not have had our wonderful wake up calls or would not have been as organized / composed as we were or would not have had as much fun as we did. I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am that you, of all people, the most generous, selfless, loving, and deserving, won the California Leo of the Year award. YOU WILL COME AND MUST COME BACK FOR NEXT YEAR’S YOUTH SYMPOSIUM 2010!

    Your sensitive son,


  2. you have no idea how good it was to know that you had such an amazing time. DUDE LEO OF THE FREAKIN’ YEAR?! AMAZING!! :)
    ahhhh! congrats once again dear :)

  3. LOL “Amanda Singarajah?”

    anyways, sounds like you had fun :P i’m glad you had a good time :)

  4. Mother,

    Our deep conversation in the back of the bus was so memorable. It really established our mother-son connection and further strengthened our relationship. If only we had more time to do that more often…but regardless, we did it and we LOVED it :)

    Congratulations on becoming International Leo of the Year! I actually was in the middle of recording the ceremony when Al Brandel was announcing the nominees. After there were only two people who were announced and 17 seconds of hesitation, I said “What the…”, turned around and turned off my camera. I looked at you with a face that was priceless: eyes wide open, mouth dropped down…until. BOOM. “Is there an Ananda Sig in the house?” Why Yes there was, and we (including me) in the back erupted like we had just won the National Championship. And indeed we did because our Mother had just won the most prestigious award given to a Leo and being a part of her via being a family, we were all elated and proud; we all emerged victorious.

    Thank you for all the memories. Thank you for the wake-up calls. Thank you for worrying about me when my neck looked like it was about to snap on the way back…”Is he breathing?” –> :D Thank you for the consulting in CVS. Thank you for coming to the back of the bus for our “talk”. Thank you for making the comparison of me making love to my waffle (;.

    Thank you for everything…and so much more.
    I love you so much and I’ll never forget all the things you’ve done for me. From the moment I cast my vote for you back in 2007, I knew there was something special about you. Dr. Singarajah, I do not have a fever but I do have a disease. After this three day trip, I think I’ve gotten an extreme case of Anantha-titis. I just can’t stop thinking about my mother and the wonderful memories that we’ve shared together. Please help me find a cure because I don’t know what I do without my mother if she were to leave for college :(

    Remember, I love you!
    Stay strong and enjoy your weekend!
    I’ll see you in school

    Ambitious Son

  5. GOD I feel like crying right now! No matter what anyone says, THIS year’s YS was just as, if not more, fun as last year’s. Seriously, I got so emotional reading this; I am soooo grateful that I came and I cannot believe how STUPID I was thinking that it was okay if I didn’t come! Everything that happened, including “He’s just not that into you”, was UNFORGETTABLE. I love my Leo family so incredibly much, especially you. You HAVE TO -ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO come next year!!!! All the times of delusion, fear, uncontrollable laughter, passion, disbelief, connection, and random scribbling on the back of our lunch tickets in one weekend were INCREDIBLE and I cherish every single minute and second of them all. I believe that this is and will forever be my favorite blog in the whole entire world! I love you so much and am so proud of you. You deserve more than an trophy; you deserve all those memories that were created and the love of everyone you know. <3

  6. ahh! So cute! First blog that i commented on .. when i should be doing my world lit paper. .hmm

    Even though i read it all.. i like hearing it from you better soo..

    We have a LOT of time for you to talk.. . haha

    tell me more! I’m glad you had such a fantastic weekend, i’m a tiny bit jealous of how close you are with your leo buddies.. i want a talk with Anantha!

    haha yay! 4 periods together!

    =) Cheryl

  7. I know it’s uber late to comment on this but I’m Arya so I can get away with it. As i read this blog i was able to literally play a movie in my head and me feel as if I was at YS 2009 part 1 all over again. I literally don’t know what I’m going to do without LEO club next year and my LEO family.
    When I give that speech at the end of the year I think I might start to actually cry because I’ll miss it so much. Btw Amanda/Ananda Tim said that I could give a speech so don’t comment on how I won’t be able give one.

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