Thursday, July 31, 2014

2014 is one for the books!

Kazapalooza 2014 was a year to remember! We welcomed over 150 families (450 people) to Hope Lake Lodge/Greek Peak resort in Cortland, NY for a fun-filled weekend celebrating adoption and family. Families enjoyed many activities including s'mores at a campfire, movie nights, regional kickball tournament, ice cream social, and of course the much anticipated Saturday raffle.

The weekend began with a Friday morning Parent/Child yoga class to get us all centered and ready for the weekend activities. That evening we came together to enjoy a meal and get to know each other a little better by playing People BINGO. Later into the evening we played a rousing game of Heads or Tails and raised $1,000 for  fellow Kaz kid, Lucca whose mother passed away unexpectedly this year. Our thoughts are with Lucca and his cousin who is now raising him. We hope you know that we are all thinking of you and hope you can make it to the next KP. After dinner we met up again for a campfire with s'mores and the Lego movie under the stars.

Saturday was an exciting day as we gathered to peruse the donations and place our tickets for the annual raffle. Proceeds benefitted the SPOON Foundation. Our families donated a total of $12,785 for the SPOON Foundation this year! That is a record amount for KP. Thank you so much to all of our families who brought donations for the raffle and purchased tickets. You are making such a tremendous difference in the lives of many children in Kazakhstan.

We also welcomed several special guests this year. Representatives from the Kazakhstan Consulate, Mr Rustam Alikulov, Assistant to the General Consul and Mr. Kadyr Kayupov, Vice-Consul  brought many gifts for our families as well as played a Dombra concert for us. They also passed out information on renewing Kaz passports and visa information. We also welcomed representatives, Karla Sarsekeyeva and Azhara Mestler from the Kazakh-American Association. They brought some beautiful donations for our raffle. Thank you!

Several of our families participated in a documentary this weekend with Aizhan Kul-Mukhammed and photographer, Gulvira Montayeva, both from Kazakhstan. Aizhan authored an article last year about Americans adopting Kazakhstani children. This next article will focus on Kazapalooza. Here you can find her original article. Kazakhs adopted by Americans

After the luncheon families spread out to enjoy a kickball tournament, obstacle course, scavenger hunt, bounce house, lake time and general running wild all around the Lodge. Mid afternoon we took a break at the lake pavilion for an ice cream social and took in the beautiful lakeside views of the Lodge and surrounding area.

Saturday night offered a few different activities. While Frozen was playing outside there were s'mores, aWii tournament for the older kids, and a BeyBlade tournament in the lobby.

What a great way to start the weekend with a Parent/Child Yoga class at the Lodge!

Our first and second place BINGO winners!

These five families have been to every single Kazapalooza!

Movie night on the grounds of the Lodge.

Families enjoyed a campfire with s'mores both Friday and Saturday night.

Families enjoying a dombra concert by Kazakhstan Consulate representative, Mr. Kadyr Kayupov, Vice-Consul. 

Kazakh-American Alliance representatives, Karla and Azhara with Kaz Mom Susan. 

The youngest and oldest Kaz kids at KP this year!

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