United Nations Day Summitt
Today kicked off our 76th United Nations Day, but with a twist: it was our first of a 2-day event! It was a perfect day in the Northwoods filled with spirited competition, great sportsmanship, lots of cheering and fun. Tomorrow will be the final rounds of most events and the boys are looking forward to getting painted back up in their colors for tomorrow for Ireland, Kenya, Argentina and Peru.
The Goals of the United Nations:
1. To maintain international peace and security
2. To develop friendly relations among nations
3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems
4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends
Number two stuck out to me in particular. These goals are laid out on a worldwide level but I have seen this one achieved through individual experiences.
I teach Middle School Math at the Twin Cities German Immersion School in Saint Paul. Each year our 8th graders take part in an exchange program with students from Germany. About 40-50 German students stay with our students for three weeks in the Fall and then host our 8th graders in the Spring. I was involved in chaperoning the trip in 2019. Throughout the program I watched, as years of learning about a language, a culture, and a people became real for a group of teenagers. It wasn’t eating donor kabobs in the Tiergartden in Berlin that made it real. It wasn’t buying birkenstocks or Kinder Chocolate from the shops in Muenster that made it real. And, It definitely was not the 3 hour tour of the Bentheim castle in the German countryside. What made it real for my students was the new friends they made from two small little towns in the German countryside. The memories that they created after school and on weekends are what helped to develop friendships that will hopefully last forever. A friendship created between Germany and the United States that is based on friendships between teenagers.
Now, you do not have to join an exchange program and travel 14 hours on a plane to make friends with people from other nations. During my time in Germany I had a free weekend, so I caught a train to Amsterdam to meet up with one of my good friends from Scotland. We had a great time catching up and exploring a new city that neither of us had been to. We found ourselves in a taxi to the Anne Frank house when our driver asked where we were from. I said I was from the US and my friend is from Scotland. He asked how we met and became friends. That is when I told him about how we met at a boys camp we both worked at in the summer. That friend was Drew Lorimer who many of you know from his time as a counselor at Northstar. Now, I have never been to Scotland. I do not know the national anthem for Scotland. I certainly do not know the top exported goods from Scotland. But when I think of Scotland I think of Drew, and our friendship. A friendship that started right here in a small camp in the NorthWoods.
Although the United Nations consists of a large group of countries from all around the world, remember that its goals can still be achieved by individuals from anywhere in the world.
While we are lucky enough to have a few members of our international community this year, we are missing many more campers and staff who could not travel under the current circumstances. We miss our international campers and staff and it was nice to take a moment to be grateful for the global connections that camp has provided us through the years.
“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
-Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games