“The Global Youth Village is a hands-on experience in global citizenship. I am confident that you will discover, as so many before you have, that with trust, cooperation and enthusiasm, you can cross barriers of ethnicity and race, gender and religion, and work together for a better world. Come join us for an exciting summer. We’re not only preparing for the future -- we’re creating it!” Mary Helmig - Director
The Global Youth Village for young people (ages 15‑19) in Bedford, Virginia, hosts 60 youths and 25 staff from 15 or more countries each summer. They gather to create a living, working model of the global community. Participants establish deep friendships with people from cultures vastly different from their own. They gain practical skills and knowledge in the areas of leadership, cross‑cultural relations, and conflict resolution and discover how they can make a difference both locally and globally.
Our international summer program is operated by Legacy International. Since 1979, participants from around the world have been coming together on our beautiful 45-acre campus in Virginia. Starting with just nine youth in 1979, the program has expanded and reached over 4,500 youth from over 105 countries! Our alumni circle the globe. Global Youth Village is accredited by the American Camping Association. Legacy International has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2013. Read more about Legacy International.
Frequently Asked Questions
We look forward to answering your questions regarding the Global Youth Village. You are welcome to give us a call, or contact us by email, but first check the Frequently Asked Questions below.These are commonly asked Questions:
If your child is interested in current events and international relations, likes to travel and meet new people, and has a sense that things could be better in this world, this is the program for him/her. Every year, teens from approximately 15 to 20 different countries attend the Global Youth Village. Some youths have been awarded scholarships from local foundations. Some students come from initiatives funded by the U.S. Department of State. Each summer we strive to have young people from different economic, religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. All of the young people who participate show sensitivity, leadership potential, and a willingness to try new things. On average, 50% of the young people are from across the United States, and the balance are from other countries. This year, we expect young from across the United States and the following countries: Mexico, Taiwan/China, Egypt, France, and Spain.
Because we keep our group size limited (65 young people each session), it is important to apply as soon as possible. Around 35 spaces each session are open to young people from the U.S. We fill almost all our spaces by May, but sometimes there are occasions when international students are not able to obtain visas and positions open up. To be sure of a space, send in your application and a $100 deposit as soon as you have decided. It is best to call to let us know that your application is coming.
The answer is yes! Friends should have an agreement in advance to make the most of this experience, not be exclusive, and expand their circle of friends.
We have been offering global living experiences for teenagers since 1979.
Our staff is continuously working to fund more than 50% of the people who come to Global Youth Village. We raise general scholarship funds (approximately $12,000) every year that are used to provide partial scholarships to U.S. youths who would not normally be able to attend a program such as this. All of these measures allow us to say that the program population is truly representative of the global experience. You can find out if you are eligible for assistance. Most assistance is allocated in February.
Families living around the area typically drive to Bedford, VA. For those youths coming from the Midwest, West Coast, or internationally, flying is the most common means of transportation. Legacy offers a bus service from Washington DC Airports, Roanoke airport and Lynchburg airport to GYV . In the city of Lynchburg, VA, there is a Bus/Amtrak station where Legacy will pick up youths coming in via bus or train. The station is about a 40-minute drive from GYV.
The Global Youth Village is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Legacy's 50 acres of lush woodlands provide a peaceful and safe natural setting. Hiking trails, streams, a pond, flowers, and organic vegetable gardens foster new relationships with nature. Up to ten young people share a wood frame cabin with an adult staff member.
Bathrooms and showers are centrally located near the cabins in the girls' and boys' areas. Program facilities include art studios, pottery and ceramics shop, air-conditioned workshop areas, a store, dining hall, outdoor stage, big top tent, health house, basketball court, soccer field, volleyball/badminton court, table tennis, swimming pool, sites for rock climbing instruction, and fire circles. An outdoor stage provides a nice setting for evening programs and games. Temperatures can range from 62 degrees F to 103 degrees F during the day (17 degrees Celsius at night to 40 degrees Celsius during the day)
The cabin serves as a home away from home for 8 to 10 young people and a staff member. Cabin groups are carefully mixed, and girls and boys cabins are completely separate. In your cabin, there may be as many as five different cultures. The cabin is a place to relax. There is laughter, storytelling, and also much needed sleep. You will always remember your cabin group.
There is a wide range of faiths practiced here. Bahai, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Native American, Quaker, Shinto and other faiths are regularly represented. People are encouraged to engage in the spiritual or religious practices that are part of their regular routine. There is a special room set aside for prayers, meditation, and reflection. On Friday afternoons, Jummah prayer is offered for Muslims. On Friday evenings, Shabbat is observed. On Sundays, church trips for those who regularly attend services are arranged.
The Global Youth Village menu is an international cuisine that provides yet another venue for cultural exploration. The diet is primarily vegetarian (meat is served twice a session). At the Global Youth Village, the meals are served "family style" in our dining hall. International dishes are prepared with natural foods and whole grains, with special attention given to the cultural tastes on campus. Legacy can accommodate special diets. Through the dining experience participants:
- explore variety and new foods from around the world
- become flexible and open to new experiences
- learn about better nutrition and balanced diets
- discover what eating low on the food chain entails
Yes, families should be prepared to incur some other expenses such as travel to and from our program site. In the spring, we send a list of recommended clothing. It is the responsibility of each family to make sure that the participant comes properly equipped
The Global Youth Village takes place in the United States on our main campus, located on a 50-acre property in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We are in Bedford Virginia which is between Roanoke and Lynchburg. The lush woodlands, complete with hiking trails, organic gardens, pond and stream provide a peaceful environment.
While many leadership and foreign language programs are located on university campuses, we have found that the benefit of a natural setting with cooperative living leads to deeper friendships and greater level of comfort to share one's thoughts and ideas.
The Global Youth Village has been home to more than 5000 participants from 105 countries since 1979.