Berryville's young global ambassador
BERRYVILLE -- Seth Sweatman, a 12-year-old from Berryville, is soon taking the trip of a lifetime with the People to People Ambassador Program.
As ambassadors, Seth, along with a group of other kids his age from Northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, will travel to Europe for an academic learning experience.
The pre-teens will go to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and learn how other cultures interact globally and politically, through education and hands-on experiences.
The People to People International Program is a non-profit organization established by President Eisenhower in 1956 to promote peace and cultural understanding through face-to-face interaction.
"Once they complete the program, the ambassadors tend to have a different world view and a broader understanding of the world as a unit," said Joshua Goede, People to People Delegation Leader.
"With previous groups, it has been obvious in their conversations that they have grown and will continue to see the world differently. They learn that the world is much bigger than their town and their state, which is huge for kids."
Seth's delegation departs on June 22 and will tour Europe for three weeks. He was nominated anonymously for the program, said his father, Kyle Sweatman.
The children and their parents have been meeting once a month for more than eight months in preparation for the adventure. The most recent meeting was held in Roach, Mo., at Camp Windermere.
"The kids participated in team-building activities that included a ropes course with obstacles that helped them work together and think critically, which is fundamental for them since they will be in a foreign place," Sweatman explained.
Seth's family, friends and community have all donated toward his trip. Last week, the family still needed more than $1,000 to fund Seth's trip, but with donations and last weekend's garage sale, they were able to raise the money that was needed and have $3 left over.
"It was an amazing experience, from start to finish," Sweatman said.
While the basic monetary requirements have been met, Seth will need spending money for essentials.
To raise additional funds for Seth, the Sweatman family is going to raffle off an iPad 3 on June 16, and tickets are $5 apiece.
Anyone who would like to purchase a raffle ticket or donate to Seth as part of the People to People program should contact Kyle Sweatman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-204-0094 for more information.