This summer I will be participating in a grand adventure to Israel. Here is the email I just sent out to my community:
Hello Friends and Family,
This summer I am spectacularly excited to be traveling 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 26th to July 16th, working with Ultimate Peace at two consecutive 5-day overnight camps for Arab, Jewish, and Palestinian youths.
– You can find details in the attached document or online at: www.ultimatepeace.org/ultimate-peace-events/.
– Ultimate Peace operates fully by donations, and each coach is responsible for raising substantial funds to make the camps happen.
– 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.
– 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.
If you are up for the long version, or want to know why I’m taking the uncomfortable step of asking for money, please read below.
Hope all is well,
I grew up on a farm in North Leverett, MA, a very special small town of less than 2,000 people located 15 miles north of Amherst. In the hill town I called home, I learned to appreciate being away from it all, but as the same time I was pushed by my parents to connect with the greater world in diverse ways. I was encourages to follow my bliss and to try strange new things. By the time I graduated from high school, I had certainly found my share of exhilarating endeavors: I had spent years studying Mandarin Chinese, decided to travel 3,000 miles to college, fallen in love with mathematics, and found Ultimate.
Twenty years later my Mandarin is passably decent, I am addicted to international travel, I spend the bulk of my days teaching high school mathematics, and I am utterly in love with Ultimate.
In my journey from Leverett and Amherst, to Claremont, CA, and then to my current home of St. Johnsbury, VT, Ultimate has always been brightly present. I have played, coached, administrated, proselytized, traveled, and spectated. I have loved every minute of my Ultimate life. Additionally, for the past three years I have watched from afar as Ultimate Peace has taken off, always wanting to join in myself. This June I will no longer be observing from a distance. I will be traveling to Acco, Israel to work as a camp counselor at Camp Ultimate Peace.
The vision of Ultimate Peace (www.UltimatePeace.org) is to build bridges of friendship and understanding between youth from different social and cultural backgrounds around the world. We focus on fun and education, not politics, using the character building sport of Ultimate Frisbee as our tool. Ultimate is a competitive sport, yet is self officiated and thus promotes conflict-resolution, skill building, and open communication. Ultimate rewards good sportsmanship and instills a strong sense of personal responsibility and teamwork.
2009 was the inaugural year for Ultimate Peace and it was a huge success. A group of American Ultimate players and coaches travelled to the Middle East and hosted a series of clinics for local youth – Palestinian, Israeli Jewish and Arab, together – to introduce them to the sport of Ultimate and the respect between players that’s inherent in the sport. The kids learned, they played together, they self-officiated and at the end of the day they truly were excited about getting to play more in the months to come. In 2010, Ultimate Peace returned in larger numbers and with a bigger and better program. We hosted a 4 day-long overnight camp for 130 kids, as well as sessions for local coaches, and visits to the home towns of the campers. 2011 was another smash hit. 175 campers and a staff of over 60 came together for an 8-day residential camp. The 12 multi-cultural boys and girls teams that were formed, made up of Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and Arab Israelis, practiced, ate, and competed side-by-side every day. Not only did the kids learn to play Ultimate, they also experienced a cultural exchange through arts and crafts, dance, and games, a talent show, and just over a week of living with their fellow campers.
2012 is going to be even more exciting. Two 5-day residential sessions will be run, the first being a new training camp for more experienced players, and the second a continuation of the highly successful summer camp program. Both sessions will have all the usual features of the Camp UP program: cultural sharing, non-Ultimate social activities, community-building, and an assortment of activities and classes. They will also focus heavily on learning and practicing the 5 values of UP: mutual respect, integrity, friendship, non-violence, and fun.
You can learn more about Ultimate Peace at the following links:
Ultimate Peace Flyer: Right Here
UP Facebook page: www.facebook.com/UltimatePeace
2010 UP Slideshow video: http://youtu.be/ZKEWGF2DtaU
2012 UP Promo video: http://youtu.be/09dRzlLZUYs
I am so over the top thrilled to be joining Ultimate Peace this summer because it represents everything I love about Ultimate, all in one place. It’s the joy of sport combined with spirited play above all else, centered around an excited, receptive, and diverse population of youth. While I have absolutely adored my many years of playing Ultimate, coaching is now what I love to do most above all else in the world of Ultimate. I absolutely cannot wait to work with the kids at Ultimate Peace.
Some important things for you to know is that everyone that works at Ultimate Peace is a volunteer and that this summer the two campus have a budget of around $200,000. The money I am raising will enable me to cover at least some of my summer costs, as well as to help fund the camp. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated. In addition to monetary donation, other in-kind donations are welcome too such as travel miles, energy bars, shade tends, hats, cleats, discs, and schwag for campers.
Ultimate Peace is hugely reliant on the support of family and friends. We are currently in the midst of a major fundraising effort. I know this is a hard time financially, but if you are able, please join this peace through sport initiative and donate whatever you can at:
Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online or by check. 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”, or in the memo field of your check.
I’d be happy to talk to anyone about this endeavor on the phone, via email, or in person. If you know of anyone who might be interested in, or moved by this, please feel free to put them in touch with me or share this email with them. I’ve also attached an easily sharable one page summary with more details.
Thank you so much for considering this and for supporting me – financially or otherwise – in what I do.