Thursday, August 2, 2012

Passing on the Baton

To all my blog readers who are wondering to where I have disappeared in the past month - I spent most of July learning French with the Nadeau family in Kapuskasing! If you never heard of "Kapuskasing" - that's okay. In reality, most of my friends thought that I was speaking in a different language when I said the place name, haha. Kapuskasing is a small town located in northern Ontario, with more than 80% of the 9000 population speaking French. Pretty amazing, eh?

My three week visit was an escape from the quick paced life here in Toronto, a stress-free vacation, a beautiful dream that one would never want to wake up from. I actually been to Kapuskasing back in 2003 when the Nadeau family hosted the Canadian Youth Chess Championships there. At the age of nine, I only remembered the massive mosquito bites that kept me awake during the nights; at the age of eighteen, I came to truly appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of Kapuskasing. Here are two pictures that I took with a normal camera (nothing professional - all credits goes to the natural scenery):

Witnessing a beautiful sunset while fishing.  
Never have I seen a body of water as blue as this one. Nor have I ever seen a group of clouds as 3D as theses.
Life in Kapuskasing also seemed like heaven partially due to the stressful life I pulled through the past year - rigorous academics, IB exams, SATs, university essays, scholarship applications and of course, my duty as the President of CITL - so much had to be accomplished in so little time. However, they say that hard work pays off and thankfully, such was the case for me. This fall, I will be joining Yale's Class of 2016.

Some of you may have paid attention to CITL's 3rd Annual Executive Board Election held one month ago. News of the new team lineup was posted on facebook, the CITL blog, and chesstalk. And yes, it is true: after founding the organization in 2009 and leading the team to great success for the past three years, I have decided that it is time to pass on the baton.

If you remember, CITL started from scratch in June 2009. I had no experience, no funding, no resources, no team - it was truly a "one woman show" haha. Looking back, I had the time of my life building the CITL kingdom one brick at a time. The best part? Getting to know everyone on a personal level, whether it be the dozens of library Branch Heads, the hundreds of volunteers, the handful of sponsors, and finally, the countless participants that brought smiles to the program each and every single week. Some of the bonds I made in this big Chess in the Library family will surely last a lifetime. And I want to take a minute here to sincerely thank everyone who involved in this organization for the past three years from the bottom of my heart. I couldn't have done it without you.

from the very first CITL location in June 2009... the grand CITL festival in June 2012
We live in a democratic nation where our leader is subjected to a change every several years. Such a change allows our beloved country to flourish like no other. New ideas are emerged, new policies are implemented, and together we walk towards a better future. Can you imagine what life in Canada would be if we had one leader that ruled for three consecutive decades? I surely couldn't. Chess in the Library is now an international organization, with almost three dozen programs not only running all across Canada, but also the United States. It's time for a change. It's time to embrace a new leader.

The decision to not run in the last election was only partially based on my academic status. While it is possible to operate CITL in university, I truly believe that the organization as a whole will benefit more from a new wave of young and passionate leaders. The seven members of the Executive Board as well as the five members of the Junior Executive Board have already taken action - current CITL President Vivek Chachcha has just announced the opening of another CITL location in Surrey, BC. I have complete confidence in these twelve chosen youths to bring CITL to yet another peak by the end of the 2012-2013 year.

I have always been saying how I wish I could back ten years from now and witness the program going stronger than ever. I am sure that the Canadian chess scene, all the volunteers and librarians who have once been involved, as well as all the sponsors and donors hope for this envision to come true too. So let's make this happen! Chess in the Library will last for ten years only if you all continue to support it the way you did for the past three years. A collaboration effort from you all will help us spread the beautiful game that we all love to as many communities as we can.

CITL and all of its family members will forever hold a special place in my heart. Rest assured - I will not forget you. One day, I will come back, and I know that the way in which Chess in the Library will work its magic will simply blow my mind away.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Yuanling Yuan
CITL Founder