BranchOut! hosted its summer 2023 picnic to celebrate the end of a successful summer on Sunday, August 13, 2023, at the Cabin John Regional Park in Bethesda, Maryland with 60+ students, alumni, and parents in attendance.
We were excited to see many of BranchOut!’s mentors at the picnic, meeting other mentors and students whom they have worked with online this summer. Mentors made quick friends with each other, bonding in discussions and playing games like frisbee and mafia. Team leads from each project presented a summary of the accomplishments in the Explorer, Belong!, Career Panels, Innovator, FCPS tutoring, MCPS STEAM Camp, and Howard County’s programs.
Additionally, Maryland Executive Director of Community Initiatives Christina Poy and Commissioner Hyunsook Choi joined us to celebrate BranchOut! mentors for taking the steps to become leaders in our community and take action. They both provided insight regarding how to represent our community as Asian Americans and encouraged our students to continue to branch out and engage with the larger community.
Finally, all attendees enjoyed lunch with a wide assortment of foods - homemade dishes, pizza, fried chicken, noodles, desserts, fruits, and more. Overall, the picnic event was a huge success as mentors, leaders, parents, and younger siblings were all able to connect with one another and interact as a cohesive team.
See what Allen Wang, a former BranchOut! student leader and former mentor, had to say about the event!
"As a rising sophomore at Northwestern University, I am already two years removed from BranchOut!’s summer volunteer program. Despite this, I still feel deeply connected to BranchOut! due to the multitude of ways I was able to impact my community during my time there: tutoring, co-leading the Innovator team, co-emceeing various panels, as well as fostering the next generation of mentors as a part of the core team. Moreover, the program imbued me with a new set of skills that I will forever be grateful for.
The BranchOut! Summer 2023 picnic was not only an opportunity for the current mentors to celebrate their achievements and it was an excellent way for alumni such as myself to see the growth the program has undergone. For Innovator, I was ecstatic to learn that SOLve had made it onto the Google Play Store. During the two years that I worked on Innovator, SOLve was still in its development stage and had multiple bugs to be worked out. Knowing that the app is finally available for students to use is truly amazing to hear. Additionally, I was enthralled by the plethora of programs that BranchOut! has ‘branched-out’ into from the STEAM programs to the brand new Boston chapter. Attending the picnic served as a reminder that I couldn’t have been more proud of being a member of this extraordinary community outreach program. I truly can’t wait to see how this program will flourish in the future."
To read more post-event reflections, click here.
We want to thank those who participated in the event and we also want to thank the student leaders who helped to organize the event.
2023 Fall Picnic Planning Committee:
Brian Zhou, 12th grade, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Richard Zhu, 11th grade, Richard Montgomery High School
Elizabeth Li, 11th grade, Oakton High School
Kavya Kuttava, 11th grade, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Photo Credits: Brian Zhou, Cuiwei Zhao, Yuhsien Wu, & Lin Cao