TOPS (Taking off Pounds Sensibly) Club enjoyed a half hour of yoga lead by Jun Tsukamoto at their meeting last Monday. Tsukamoto is a tutor for the Labo International Exchange program that places youth in homes in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Tsukamoto is living with Pat and Grove Rinehart for a few weeks while students in her club live with families in the state. There are 66 Japanese youth in Ohio who are part of the Labo program and between 600 and 700 in the U.S. this month.
Pat said the Rineharts have hosted Labo tutors 11 times over the years and their daughter Beth went to Japan as an exchange student a few years ago. Grove is a former 4-H Agent for Morrow County OSU Extension.
Rinehart compared the Labo program in Japan to 4-H clubs in the U.S. The big difference is that the main project for Labo clubs is learning English and learning about American culture. They don’t have the variety of projects 4-H clubs have. Labo is celebrating their 50th year as a youth organization this year.
Labo is a family-based Japanese youth organization. They have weekly meetings and youth in the groups range from three years old to 18. Besides learning English the main goal for youth 12-18 is to have a homestay for a month in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand or Australia with a family who has a child. There are also year-long high school exchange programs. They live with a host family and attend high school.
Tsukamoto guided TOPS members through several Yoga moves at their meeting. She said she practices Yoga at home every day and encouraged members to make the exercises part of their routine. She began and ended the exercise with stretching. Members especially enjoyed the last exercise that was accompanied with a quiet Japanese music CD.
The meeting closed with thanks and a round of enthusiastic applause from TOPS members. Tsukamoto thanked the group for their hospitality and hoped they would meet again.
Chapter Leader, Diana Kemp said that TOPS isn’t a diet or exercise program. It is a support program because there are many ways for each individual to reach their goals. While a primary goal is weight loss, members also encourage each other with tips on nutrition, exercise, healthy recipes and a variety of programs.
TOPS Club meets every Monday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Mount Gilead at 75 E. High St. at the Center St. entrance. Weigh-in is from 4:30 to 5:15p.m., the meeting begins at 5:30p.m. For more information you can contact Diana Kemp at 419-295-0001.
Jun Tsukamoto demonstrates a stretch for TOPS members. She is visiting from Osaka prefecture in Japan.