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Thank You 2014 Volunteers!

by Patty Grodner
Edited by Jason Ku

OrigamiUSA has always been a volunteer run organization, started in 1980 by volunteer enthusiasts with an intense passion for origami. OrigamiUSA exists because of the hard work of volunteers; the organization truly could not function without them! Among our volunteers, there are a few people who volunteer to take on leadership roles within the organization, heading different departments as Managing Directors. Sometimes we also call these people Committee Chairs or Area Heads, but no matter the name, these are the people who organize the work of our organization. They make it all happen!

The Volunteer Recognition Committee and the OrigamiUSA Board of Directors want to express our deepest thanks to these individuals who do so much for our organization. That is why we would like to start the tradition of publicly recognizing our Managing Directors by publicizing their department accomplishments each year in our member publications.

Because most of our Managing Directors are too humble to shine light on themselves, many members do not even know who our Managing Directors are (if you're ever curious, that information is always listed here. Our Managing Directors do their jobs in order to organize activities that they feel passionately about, not for any fame or fortune. That is why it is so very important for OrigamiUSA to recognize their achievements publicly. In addition to this article, OrigamiUSA will be giving each Managing Director a modest gift to express our sincere appreciation for all the time they contribute to OrigamiUSA.

Below are profiles of each of the 2014 Managing Directors and their accomplishments during the past year. No doubt you will recognize many of them! If you benefit from and appreciate the work they do, tell them! Send them an email or tell them in person the next time you see them! While it is important for OrigamiUSA to show our thanks, the organization is not why they do what they do. They do it for you, the origami community! Volunteering is so often a thankless job, and knowing that the users they serve appreciate their work can mean everything.

If you are interested in becoming a Managing Director for OrigamiUSA in the future, you should volunteer in a department to find out how they do what they do. We have many new projects we would like to accomplish in the coming years that will need leadership, and often need new people to head existing departments. No matter how you would like to grow and contribute to the origami community, OrigamiUSA wants to help you realize your vision! Please contact admin [at] origamiusa.org if you would like to volunteer.

Many of our leaders are not from the NY area and many activities are fully organized in other locations. Don’t let your geography stop you from becoming involved! As we expand our outreach to transition to a truly national organization, we need help from across the country. Come work with us, and together, we will do SO much!

-Patty Grodner




“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much.” ~Helen Keller


The Volunteer Recognition Committee would like to recognize the following OrigamiUSA members who by providing leadership during 2014, together, have done SO much!

Archives: JC Nolan

JC meticulously manages the important task of maintaining the OrigamiUSA Archives. Recent activities of the committee include digitizing past Annual Collection convention books and issues of the Paper making them available for download at The Source, an enormous undertaking.

Awards: Rachel Katz

Rachel leads the Awards Committee in the effort to find candidates for the awards OrigamiUSA grants each year. The 2014 winners were Kay Eng receiving the Renana Benjamin Award, and LIFE (Long Island Folding Enthusiasts), a local area group receiving the V’Ann Cornelius Award.

Business: Mark Kennedy & Jan Polish

Both Mark and Jan provide leadership for the Business Committee, setting policy determining inventory and operations at The Source. The Source continues to provide some of the most wanted books and papers in the origami world today.

Convention: Jan Polish

In 2014, Jan pulled together another successful NY convention as chair of the Convention Committee, with attendance of over 600 people. Additionally she has been working diligently to secure a great new venue for the 2015 Convention at Manhattan College! To see how the Convention Committee puts together the world's largest origami convention weekend adventure each year, come join us this summer at our new venue!

Elections: Shrikant Iyer

Shri oversees the committee that conducts the election process for the organization. In coordination with the Online Presence Committee, the Election Committee successfully established online voting for Board members in last year's election. This year's election will be historic with the removal of the local/remote distinction for board members, as OrigamiUSA continues its mission to become a truly national organization.

Operations & Finance: Wendy Zeichner

Wendy served as the Executive Director for OrigamiUSA and chaired the Finance Committee last year. Wendy devotes an incredible amount of time, energy, and enthusiasm to OrigamiUSA. Her guidance, expertise, and experience shape almost every aspect of the organization. As head of the Finance Committee, she also helps develop the budget for the organization with the Board Treasurer.

The Fold: Jason Ku

In 2010, Jason started the organization's online magazine, The Fold. In 2014, The Fold published six issues full of articles on a wide variety of subjects, from origami diagrams to paper reviews. In addition, Jason chaired an ad hoc committee that developed the new Online membership type last year. This class of membership targets those in our community that want to reserve physical paper for folding, and provides foreign members with an affordable way to join OrigamiUSA.

Holiday Tree: Ros Joyce, Talo Kawasaki, & Jennifer Hou

The annual Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History is a labor of love, this year undertaken by these three immensely talented folders. Ros and Talo are Co-Designers for the tree, and Jennifer serves as Project Manager. They put in countless hours of folding, coordinating, designing, and executing to produce an exquisite work of art for display at our home in the museum. The 2014 Theme was “Origami Night at the Museum.”

Reference Library: Ros Joyce

Ros also maintains one of our most valuable resources: the OrigamiUSA Reference Library. She is responsible for maintenance, expanding inventory, and facilitating use by members.

Lending Library: deg ferrelly

deg oversees the OrigamiUSA Lending Library, which provides a mail-order book borrowing service to our members. It is a valuable resource for members and local groups around the US. The library includes hundreds of rare books including the ORU magazines and Tanteidan convention books.

Local Area Groups: Dawn Tucker

Each year, the Local Area Group Committee has the responsibility of maintaining up-to-date information about local folding groups. Dawn ensured that folding groups were listed on our website, and provided information to members that were interested in establishing new groups.

Webteam: Robert Lang & Anne Lavin

These two computer gurus have taken our organization to new heights with their leadership on the Online Presence Committee as well as protecting us from the dangers that lurk online. They continue to provide top-notch service while managing the OrigamiUSA website and the OrigamiUSA mailing lists.

Origami by Children: Ruthanne Bessman

For many years, Ruthanne has coordinated Origami by Children (OBC), a truly wonderful and amazing collection that features outstanding origami by children from around the world. It recognizes our younger folders and encourages creativity, artistry, and originality. It is an important outreach event for our organization as well as an educational tool. She's even able to direct this program all the way from Madison, WI!

The Paper: Laura Rozenberg

Laura brings together articles, diagrams, and current events to form The Paper, the print magazine of OrigamiUSA and our primary way to communicate with our membership. The Paper published three issues last year, and through Laura’s tireless efforts to provide a better product while cutting costs, the Paper even published its first full color issue.

The Source: Mike and Janet Hamilton

Mike and Janet have the huge responsibility of running The Source, OrigamiUSA’s online store. In addition to keeping the latest and greatest papers and books in stock they have added a number of innovations this year: a new announcement email list, adding PayPal as a payment method, and product kits, just to name a few. Even though Mike and Janet are compensated for their service to OrigamiUSA, they also devote countless additional volunteer hours building a better store for our members.

Annual Gift: Jean Baden-Gillette

Jean carefully chooses a model that fits the theme of the Origami Holiday Tree. The Annual Gift Committee solicits folded models from the membership providing diagrams and paper, and then distributes these annual gifts to those who attend the Annual Tree Lighting. This committee also organizes gifts for the trustees of the museum for letting us call the American Museum of Natural History our home. This year's annual gift was an origami monkey created by Tomoko Fuse.

Exhibition & World Origami Days: Marcio Noguchi

Marcio provides leadership in two areas: Exhibition and World Origami Days. The Exhibition Committee naturally works to facilitate exhibition opportunities during the year. The committee is also responsible for the maintenance and storage of the OrigamiUSA archive of exhibition models. As the OrigamiUSA representative for World Origami Days, Marcio also encourages events that recognize the international celebration of origami during World Origami Days.

Special Sessions: Maria Velazquez

Maria coordinates Special Fun Folding Sessions. These mini-conventions connect teachers and students at the American Museum of Natural History six Sundays a year, serving as fundraising events for OrigamiUSA. This year, online classes have been added to the line up of offerings, available to members across the world.

Education: Char Morrow

Char provides coordination for the Education Committee. This year, the committee established opportunities at convention to share teaching tips for teachers, and laid the foundation for larger and ongoing education projects still in progress.

Volunteer Appreciation: Patty Grodner

Since Patty joined the Volunteer Appreciation Committee, she has developed a new system of appreciation, aiming to provide personal and timely thanks to our volunteer base. This year, the committee provided personal thank-you notes to many volunteers and an appreciation gift to volunteers in leadership roles in the organization.