I’m heading back to Israel!

This summer I am spectacularly excited to be returning to Israel to work at CampUP, a youth Ultimate camp run by a phenomenally amazing organization called Ultimate Peace.

For those of you that like things short and sweet, here’s the outline of what’s going on:

– This summer I’ll be in Israel from June 18th to July 16th, working with Ultimate Peace at two consecutive 5-day overnight camps for Arab, Jewish, and Palestinian youths.

– In addition to coaching two teams of my own, I will be continuing my work as the Director of Ultimate and Coaching. In this position I am responsible for the training of more than 50 Ultimate Peace coaches.

– You can find read all about Ultimate Peace at http://www.ultimatepeace.org/.

– Ultimate Peace operates fully by donations, and each coach is responsible for raising substantial funds to make the camps happen.

– Every last little bit helps, even if it is to just spread the word!

– I will be blogging about all of my Ultimate Peace experiences at www.UltimateJosh.com.

– On 3/28/13 I gave a presentation at the Catamount Arts theater as part of the Osher Lecture Series. My presentation was called “Building peace in the Middle East: One game of Ultimate at a time”. I spent an hour talking about my experience working with Ultimate Peace as well as answering questions from the audience. You can watch the presentation in it’s entirety right here.

– The most recent Ultimate Peace promo video can be viewed right here.

– Please consider supporting us at www.ultimatepeace.org/donate/. If you do make a donation on my behalf, please put down my name on the online donation form where it says “in support of”. Donations are tax deductible.

If you are up for the long version, or want to know why I’m taking the uncomfortable step of asking for money, please click here.

Hope all is well,

Signature

Ultimate Peace US Tour!

Many of the players I worked with last summer at Camp Ultimate Peace will be coming to the US later this week! Over the course of a couple weeks they will be traveling all over the US taking part in clinics, playing in exhibition games, and speaking at fundraisers. They will be in Boston on April 20th and 22nd. Here’s a message from their media director:

Please join us in welcoming a delegation of 17 Ultimate Peace teens from Israel and the West Bank to the Boston area as they embark on their first U.S. Tour. Ultimate Peace is a non-profit organization, started in 2009, that aims to bring together youth from conflicted regions and unite them over the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. There will be two events open to the public in Boston — a Middle Eastern cultural night in Jamaica Plain on April 20th and a panel discussion hosted by Northeastern University’s Sports in Society program on April 22nd. Please look to the invitations for more details. For any questions or for more information, contact Rachael at rachael@ultimatepeace.org.

You can view the invitation right here. Their complete schedule of events is online right here.

I highly recommending attending one or both of the events! They are going to be incredible. These kids are awesome.

From the tour’s Facebook info page:

For the last two years, a dedicated group of 16 UP teen participants have engaged in the year-round “Coaches in Training” Program. This youth leadership project prepares high school students for coaching in Ultimate Peace and assuming other leadership roles in their communities. On their first United States tour, these courageous youth will present to and dialogue with American students and adults in schools, community centers and homes across the country. Their triumph and struggles in the program and the complexities of their daily lives will be highlighted.

The USA tour will offer a unique chance for Americans to meet and interact with a highly compelling group of teens. Their message is grounded in hope, yet colored by the sobering reality of the regional conflict, so the events in each city — Boston, New York, Seattle and San Francisco — will be interactive, moving and thought provoking.

Please help us in welcoming this dynamic group of teens with enthusiasm. Many of our events will be open to the public and we enthusiastically invite you to come and join us.

April 19-24 Boston
April 21 New York
April 25-29 Seattle
April 30 San Francisco

Spring into Summer

Busy times indeed.

Thanks to the generosity of many people, I have now raised $2,050 towards my goal of raising $5,000 by 6/21. Thank you so much everyone! If you’d like to make a donation, you can do so online right here. If you do make a donation on my behalf, please put down my name on the online donation form where it says “in support of”. Donations are tax deductible.

On Wednesday (5/30), we held the Last Practice of the season. The session was dominated by “Disc Olympics”, a competition comprised of many events involving running, throwing for distance, and throwing for accuracy. At the end of the event each player finished with a certain number of points, which earned them a certain spot in line for choosing which item of free schwag they’d get to take home. (This is how I get rid of lots of gear I accumulate over the course of the year.) Photos of the event are online right here. Needless to say, we had a great time:

On Thursday, St. Johnsbury Academy held their last classes, and then followed them up that evening with the Prom at the famous Mt. Washington Hotel! For the fourth year in a row I took the official Prom photos. As usual I had an absolute blast and the kids were phenomenal!

On Saturday, I headed down to Boston to run the first of two BUDA Youth Club Championship tryout sessions. 3 StJA players came down to the tryout, and overall 33 kids attended. We ran through many drills, scrimmaged, and timed the kids on two running sets. The competition was strong and the kids played very well, despite the very wet conditions.

On Sunday morning I caught the StJA Ultimate bus at 5am and after a small hiccup of waking up a few sleepy players, we were on the road headed south to the Coed NE Champs in Somers, CT. On the bus was the St. Johnsbury Academy X team: 18 total players from all three StJA teams. The NE Champs is a decently competitive event that’s a bunch of fun. It has been the last tournament we have gone to for the past 8 years, and we have always brought a mixed team spanning all three StJA teams. The weather ended up being fantastic, and the kids played very well going 3-2 and finishing 5th out of 8 teams.

The future of StJA Ultimate in action!

On Monday, several thousand people converged onto the StJA campus for graduation. The faculty lined up inside due to the rain, and as usual, stuffed candy into the long sleeves of our graduation robes. Spearmint candy will always be my go-to graduation candy. The faculty then walked into the gym, through double rows of graduating seniors, and then we continued into the Field House. After the procession of graduates, the ceremony began. We heard several great speeches, and then moved onto the awards portion of the afternoon. The largest student award is the Headmaster’s Prize, which is given each year to one graduating girl and one graduating boy. This year, the award went to two Ultimate players: Ava Schein and Eric Rauert! Wonderful! Then, to cap off an already surreal day, I was awarded the Laudamus Verum Magistrum (Teacher of the Year) Award! Wow! What a day! Video of the graduation ceremony is online right here.

Coach Seamon and Captain Ava Schein!

After the graduation ceremony and a trip down to a glorious graduation celebration in Lyme, NH, I headed back home to get a bit of sleep before the next big event… the yearly End of Season Potluck.

2012 Yearbook (25mb, PDF)

My day started at 6am with a trip to D&D. I went about 8 years with no coffee, but this is the year that got me back into the caffeinated swing of things! By 6:30am I was in my classroom, doing my yearly battle with a binding machine, a copier, and a whole lot of hole punching. With the help of my glorious assistants, Coach Heller and Coach Stafford, 50 copies of the 2012 STJ Ultimate Yearbook were built, just in time for speech and award time. You can grab your own PDF copy of the yearbook right here. (25mb, PDF)

The 2012 End of Season Potluck started at 3pm with the kids gathering for an hour of social time. Scrimmaging started on Stowe Green and several StJA Ultimate Alums mixed into the action. We started cooking by 5 and about 45 minutes later we started eating our way through a huge potluck buffet! By a little after 6pm, the core event started: gift giving and speeches. Every player gave a speech and gift to another player. After each individual gift was given, players and parents were given the floor for more gift giving and speeches. During this portion of the night I was given a framed picture of the 2012 Open Division State Champs — US! — signed by all the players.

Next, it was my turn. I unloaded three boxes worth of yearbooks and awards. I led off, as I always do, with reading “This Year in Ultimate”. After my intro, Coaches Stafford, Heller, and Davis read their sections of the letter. I then finished it up and moved onto the Superlatives and major awards. After saying everything that could be said, the yearbooks were given out and the kids then spent the next 2+ hours in small groups signing each other’s signature pages. The kids drifted out into the night, and by 10:30, all the coaches had done home.

End of Season Potluck photos:

 End of Season Potluck video:

A few teacher work days, a teacher fun day at Waterford Springs, and a weekend retreat in Stowe away from it all… brings me to today.

I have almost all of my packing done for Israel. I’m mainly now in the mode of going over lots and lots of lists to make sure I remember everything I need to bring and get done before I leave. I’m feeling pretty good about the state of things.

I have a couple more days of house work and travel prep here in St. Johnsbury before I head south for a few days home with the family in Western, MA. Amherst Little League playoffs begin on Wednesday, and then Caleb graduates from Elementary School on Thursday! On Friday I’m heading out to Boston to spend the night with my brother Jesse, and then at 9am on Saturday, my flight takes off for Israel!

Many miles have been traveled. Many more lay ahead.

Fundraiser Dance Announcement

This weekend St. Johnsbury Ultimate is hosting the 8th annual St. Johnsbury Academy Invitational. 55 teams from 38 schools, representing 7 states and one province are coming in for a weekend of 176 games spread across 5 divisions and 4 field sites. It’s going to be amazing. On the Saturday night of the event, we hold a dinner/dance/trade night for all 950 players attending the tournament. On the Friday night before the tournament, we are running the same dance as a fundraiser for Ava Schein’s Ultimate Peace work.

This morning during live announcements at St. Johnsbury Academy, Ava Schein gave a live announcement about the fundraiser. Supported by our dance gurus, Graham and Gordon, they put on quite a show. Check it out:

First Fundraising Update

In just over a week $770 has been donated for my work with Ultimate Peace! Thank you so much for your wonderful generosity!

I’ve determined that my fundraising goal is going to be $5,000. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that I am confident that I can reach.

Over the next several weeks I plan on doing UP presentations at several local organizations. I am getting some wonderful support in contacting local religious centers and other organizations like the VFV, Elks Club, and other community centers. If you know of a location relatively close to St. Johnsbury, VT where you think I should try to do a UP presentation, please let me know.

In other news, I’ve made a few updates to the site. Over on the right you’ll be able to track my fundraising progress. I’ve also added a subscribe via email feature that you can use to get entries to this blog automatically emailed to you as soon as they go online. You can signup either through the module on the right or by using this form: