Submitted by John Hough
The Ulster Project season is upon us. To those who have never been involved, these are just words. But to our board of dedicated volunteers, to the former host families, and to the teens of the past, hopefully this statement brings forth positive memories and an underlying sense of the shift that occurred in their life as a result of their experience with the Project.
It’s not often that you can pinpoint the moment your life changed for the better. But I can. It happens every year when a group of teens, young and unknowingly naive, gather for the first time as a group that makes up the Ulster Project of (fill in the year). They come with their own ideas about the way the world works and their place in it. But when they leave, they have a better understanding of who they are, how they are connected—separated by miles and plane rides and oceans but together in their sense of unity and purpose.
Every year at the start of the Project, before our friends arrive from Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, I am asked to write a letter to inspire and encourage them before they embark on this trip that will no doubt in some way impact their life. Each year, I feel that my words fail to express how much they will be changed by this experience. The Project month is packed full of fun, laughter, memories, and new friendships. [Read more…]