A NEW YEAR:
As we start 2021, we, here in the United States, were faced with an attempted coup, a worsening global pandemic, and hope that comes with a with new leadership. I am choosing to look to the future and envision a world brought together by equal opportunity, respect and open communication. I continue to hold the positive attitude that we can continue to change the world for the betterment of all.
I may sound like the froofy folk who wear rose-colored glasses, but I had an idea that if we could start dialogue between young people we could develop understanding, respect and trust, which, by using the skills they learn during the intensive, can spread throughout their communities and the world. I still believe in the value of the project. And so, I persist.
We need connection right now more than ever before in our history. It seems we needed to be sequestered away from everyone to be able to appreciate what we long for…connection, understanding, charity and thought-before action. We need time to make friends, to play, to explore and examine. I needed time to mull, cultivate, germinate and ruminate.
The Youth Exchange Project is rumbling along after all of that ‘ate-ing’ in the pandemic-zoom-induced-think-tank. Our mission stays the same: To connect teens from differing cultures and experiences for the betterment of all. Our medium of connection…we will see.
Last year we were all virtual, which had its merits – we were able to connect folks from different areas and get more master teachers and guest artists involved. We used film as a tool and played more with language. This year, who knows. Perhaps, we will do a combination virtual and in-person event with two different groups in two different locations. I would love it to culminate in an event that represents the varied cities and cultures emanating from those locales! It’s time to expand our thinking. It’s time to expand our reach. So, keep those dreams aloft and look for the Youth Exchange Project to continue to grow and ask yourself ‘How can I help?’!
We need time now to make our dreams come true. Dream Big