Ainsley’s big trip to Japan

43552800_1574304169235734_r.jpegOur daughter Ainsley(13) is one of six 8th graders chosen out of 900 other TCAPS students to represent Traverse City on a trip to Koka, Japan with the TCAPS Global Adventures program.
TCAPS, through the Traverse City and Koka Sister City program participates in an 8th grade exchange program with sister city Koka, Japan. 2018 saw the celebration of 50 years of friendship between Michigan and Shiga, Japan. The purpose of this program is to promote friendship and understanding between Japanese and American middle school students. Exchanges are typically for a period of one week. Students stay with middle school host families and attend school with their host family student. Additionally, our family will host a student from our sister school for a week in mid-January.

Do you know Ainsley? She’s a tough act to follow! She participates in the NMC Children’s Choir, aerial arts with Water’s Edge Gymnastics, cross country skiing and is on the student senate at school. She’s on the youth leadership board for Norte and performs with two theatre groups at the Old Town Playhouse, onstage, offstage and backstage. Ainsley volunteers downtown at the State & Bijou theatres, as well as in the peer to peer program at West Middle School; a program used for developing positive role models and peer relationships for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We are incredibly proud of Ainsley and her determination to always go above and beyond. The sky is truly the limit with her!

Ainsley all by herself applied, interviewed and ultimately was accepted into this program. It wasn’t without challenges. In her first interview she was asked about her essay. Ainsley explained that writing isn’t her strongest subject. The interviewer understood but made note that four sentences wasn’t exactly an essay. Ainsley marched into her study hall later that day and penned a 3 page letter of persuasion for the selection committee with the hope of being chosen to go on this adventure! She was picked and is elated!


Ainsley worked hard all summer babysitting, valeting bicycles, assisting at bike camp and dog sitting and saved every penny to help contribute to her trip.

We are truly committed to sending Ainsley on this adventure, no matter what. With that said, many who know Ainsley have expressed a desire to help out. To that we answer with this GoFundMe page, giving anyone the opportunity to assist in covering the many costs associated with Ainsley’s trip. The total cost to travel to Koka, Japan with TCAPS is $2400 plus other expenses. 


We are eternally grateful for your support.




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  • Brennan Sang 
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Nicolle Girard 
    • $50 
    • 11 mos
  • Sandra Bieber 
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Kristin Kuehn 
    • $100 
    • 11 mos
See all


Karl Bielman 
Traverse City, MI

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