Love Out Loud– tafLabs 2010

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My favorite thing about our “tafLabs” room is not the ten computers or the impressive mass of wires and hard drives everywhere. It’s not even the six Canon DSLRs  with all their amazing lenses scattered on all the desks. (And you know how much I love my DSLRs!)

No, it has nothing to do with the gear.

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At each of our stations, we are working on individual projects that contribute to the whole– parody videos; marketing surveys; a retrospective documentary; the slideshow. Every so often, someone will stop what they’re working on and lean over to check in on someone else. Andrew coaches Justin through video editing. I help Tiffany rename her files.  Ho Chie and Eric look through photo albums from 1989 and laugh at their reminiscences. Karen stops by and we have the kind of late-night conversation about purpose and life decisions that makes me reminisce about life in college.

I love this space because it feels alive. People are connecting and doing amazing work– completely unpaid– out of love.

Every year, 200+ youth gather in the Midwest for this summer camp, the Taiwanese American Foundation (TAF). Unlike the rest of the programs (elementary through high school), tafLabs is a space dedicated to developing all sorts of projects, small to huge, that contribute to the TAF mission or serve the larger community beyond TAF.

Within the week, I created a photography mentorship group, started an online video project, produced a mini documentary, and helped with our epic 3D slideshow.

The tafLabs crew this year:

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The amazing thing about TAF is that I’ve been attending since I was 10, and yet I still walk away every year feeling like I’ve pushed myself to grow. We intentionally create this space for people to be open and vulnerable with each other, and it’s awesome to look around and see lightbulbs going off everywhere and people clicking into gear. I’m constantly inspired, amazed, and thankful to be a part of it all.

Here are just a few more images from the week:

The Juniors (elementary) campers crowd around a laptop for a special message from the future.
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The annual Thursday afternoon water fight is preceded by a variety of stations, one of which resulted in dumping water on unsuspecting counselors.
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Full blown water fight!
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This is a fairly good representation of what it’s like to be a Juniors counselor.
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We walked into the gym already lit like this, so we had to take advantage. And if you think the shot looks pretty decent now, just go check out what happens when it goes 3D in our slideshow.
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Tearin up the dance floor. He’s inexhaustible.
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The wonders of off camera flash. Thanks to Jon Lee for running around the dance floor with me.
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The 2010 theme– Love Out Loud (LOL)

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That’s all for now. See you at TAF 2011!

Learn more about TAF/tafLabs and see our work at