G arrett Brown has joined the ranks of the People to People Student Ambassadors and will be spending almost three weeks traveling Europe in the coming summer. From July 10 to 29 the soon-to-be senior will tour England, France and Italy with the student group a number of Granville youths have joined to experience a bit of what life is like in other countries.
“I was excited (to find out). I took four years of French and I thought it would fun to try to adapt that into their culture,” Brown said. The high point of the trip, what he’s most looking forward to, is France.
Flying into Paris after about a week in England, Brown said he is looking forward to experiencing everything about Paris from the world-renowned food to seeing landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. “We might get a chance to go shopping in the city,” he said.
What the group of about 40 students from grades 9-12 will be doing is interacting with other students their age from the host countries.
The whole purpose of the program is for youths from one country to meet their foreign counterparts and hopefully learn something about one another.
In England, one of the featured events will be getting to spend some time climbing around a real castle.
The trip ends in Italy, where Brown said the group will have a home stay with a local family.
What comes first for any student accepted to join People to People is the fundraising. “They want you to raise the money rather than just pay, so you’ll appreciate it more,” Brown said. To that end friends and family are organizing an event at the Forum in February. “A lot of people have pitched in to help me,” Brown said.
A friend of the family who instructs Zumba classes volunteered to lead a fundraising class in the donated space. Zumba fundraisers have become popular in other areas so Brown said he hopes people will come out for this event.
In conjunction with the class, Brown said, a basket party will be held to help him pay for the trip. “Anybody from the community can come and take the class,” Brown said. The class will be held Feb. 5 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. with the basket party at the same time.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower started the ambassador program in 1955; it was later privatized in 1961. According to the website:
The purpose of People to People International is to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures.
Inspired by his activities on the committee for this program, Walt Disney would create the, “It’s a Small World” ride for Disney World. Charles M. Schultz and Bob Hope were among some of the notable people who helped create People to People.