American Go E-Journal

“The Best Gift Ever!”

Sunday January 12, 2014

More than half a century ago, a small gift changed Terry Benson’s life. His parents bought him a go set at a mall bookstore in 1960. “It was a flimsy, cardboard set with small, flat bottom, plastic stones and a 1949 AGA rule book,” says Benson. “As plain as a game could be. But it was the best gift ever!” Now Benson, President of the American Go Foundation (AGF), is urging go players to also give the gift of go. “Think about what a little go set can do or what the first set or the first experience with go meant to you,” says Benson. Contributions help the AGF work with go organizers to spread the game. “The number of children that the AGF can reach is only limited by the gifts we receive from players who value go,” says Benson. “We need your help to find the next kid who could become an organizer, a champion, the parent of a go fan, or a lifelong player.” AGF projects this year alone include teaching teachers at a dozen schools in LA, where over 300 kids are now learning the game. “Jay Jayaraman in Memphis has started First Capture Go programs through The Confucius Institute at 18 schools with more signing on,” adds Benson. “Peter Freedman and 2011 AGF Teacher of the Year Fritz Balwit have a half-dozen programs in Portland with a chess and go hybrid model,” and the AGF sent more than 100 free Starter Sets to schools and libraries throughout the US that are starting go programs. Another 119 sets of the complete Hikaru no Go manga have been added to libraries and community centers, many of which now sport go clubs or teaching programs run by youth librarians with equipment from the AGF. The AGF also supported the Teacher Workshop at the 2013 Go Congress,  provided $3,000 to help the US Go Camp this year in Pennsylvania and another $7,000 for kids coming to the Go Congress, as well as awarded a $1,000 2012 AGF College Scholarship to go organizer Joey Phoon and a $1,500 earmarked donation covered online teaching games for kids who had never experienced professional training. “We’re doing what we can but we need you to keep the game going,” says Benson. “What we can do depends on you.” Click here for details on how to contribute.

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