Thirty-three years ago, a small group of just nine participants experienced the Global Youth Village  international summer camp (then simply known as “Legacy”) for the first time.  Since that time, over 4,000  young people from 105 different countries have come through the gates of the Village. A lot has changed in the world since 1979, but the need for understanding, tolerance, and peace making remains greater than ever.  Summer 2012 is a particularly special year for Legacy, because second generation participants  Maii Awaad (daughter of Tarek Awaad P’86) and Artis Weaver IV (son of Shelby Shamwell Weaver, P’85)  are experiencing the magic of GYV!

Tarek, right, dances during a Cultural Focus night in 1986

Tarek, right, dances during a Cultural Focus night in 1986

During the summer of 1986,  an optimistic and energetic 17-year old Palestinian  seized the opportunity to attend Legacy.   Tarek Awaad and several other brave Israeli and Palestinian youth came together on Legacy’s 45-acre campus in Virginia to  seek solutions to the Israeli/Palestinian crisis.  (Legacy International was one of the very first organizations in the world to bring young Israelis and Palestinians together to encourage and support the peace process.) Tarek and his peers understood that the crisis  they were facing in their communities could not be resolved until young Israelis and Palestinians truly understood  and respected each other and  became peace makers themselves.  Tarek says, “Coming to Legacy had a big, positive impact on my character and my life.  I hope that it will do the same for my daughter.”

Tarek’s daughter, Maii, flew in from Israel  about 10 days ago and is enjoying her days at GYV. She is  thrilled about experiencing the same summer program and meeting the staff members that mentored her father so many years ago. “I’m so happy to be here. This program is amazing and it has already been a life-changing experience for me.”

Shelby reconnects with Legacy roommate Ashley  Traughber Kaufman during her return to camp

Shelby reconnects with Legacy roommate Ashley Traughber Kaufman during her return to camp

2nd generation at GYV

Maii stands next to her father’s portrait in the dining hall

Twenty-seven years ago, Shelby Shamwell (P’85, now Shelby Weaver)   explored Egypt and Israel through a Legacy travel program. “I can honestly say that the Legacy experience really shaped my life and helped me the see the world in a whole new way.”  Shelby was excited about sending her son Artis  to GYV this summer and hoped he would have an experience similar to the one she had.  Artis attended the Indonesian-U.S. session earlier this summer. ” I loved it at GYV.  It was wonderful and I learned a lot. ”

Artis, in white and green shirt, with his new GYV friends

 

During the next few years,  we hope that many more second generation participants will attend the Village in their parents’ footsteps and learn how to be peace makers!