Players put their skills to the test at Camelot Golfland on March 3.


On March 3, the Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program hosted its ninth annual Miniature Golf Tournament at Camelot Golfland in Anaheim. This tournament was truly an exciting community event for all ages.

In order to make this event a success, the Rising Stars students — 25 high-schoolers from all over the L.A. area — had to spend numerous sessions preparing and putting everything together. The students were charged with the task of getting sponsorships, selling raffle tickets, and getting raffle prizes.

The goal for each student was to sell $200 worth of raffle tickets priced at $2 a ticket and get $500 in sponsorships. As a result of all this hard work, the students were able to successfully reach their goal, and raised over $20,000. They attracted the most attendees (close to 170) ever in Rising Stars tournament history.

Some of the many golfers were the Rising Stars alumni — past graduates of the program who accompanied special-needs children associated with Japanese Speaking Parents Association of Children with Challenges.

This was the fourth year that alumni and JSPACC children golfed together. During the course of the year, they also get together to carve pumpkins for Halloween, shop for presents at a mall for Christmas, and participate in the Chibi-K Run for JACCC’s Children’s Day activities in Little Tokyo.

Dozens of student volunteers worked to organize the tournament.

One Rising Stars student stated, “The skills the students learned through the Rising Stars Program enabled them to organize such a successful fundraiser. Because of the various workshops provided throughout the program, such as teamwork and financial fitness, we were able to pull off this tournament.”

Rising Stars is a five-month program of the Nikkei Federation offered to high school students throughout Southern California to help them improve their leadership skills and to inform them about Japanese American culture, history, and community. It is sponsored in part by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center as the venue sponsor and by The Rafu Shimpo as the media sponsor.

For more information on the program, visit or contact Glenn Nakatani at (626) 915-5388.

Taryn Iwamoto is a participant in the ninth Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program and serves on the Publicity Committee. She is a sophomore and attends John A. Rowland High School in Rowland Heights.