Local youth tours Europe as People to People Ambassador
|Jeremy Swayze steers the boat while cruising the canals in Amsterdam. See more photo with Read More. Photos submitted||While traveling to Europe as an ambassador for the People to People program, Jeremy Swayze and a group of delegates saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.|
As a People to People Ambassador, Jeremy Swayze, a freshman at Lassen High School,traveled through severalEuropean countries on a 19-day jam-packed trip that included stops in Holland, Belgium, France and the British Isles. He traveled with a group of 33 other delegates, four teachers and a manager.
Jeremy Swayze got to visit many historical sites, including the cemetery honoring the soldiers who died at Normandy during World War II.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched the People to People movement in 1956. It is designed to bridge cultural and political borders through direct interaction, unparalleled access and unique experiences.
While on the trip, the delegates participated in a community service project in Ireland where they cut bricks from the bogs. The bricks are used for fuel and were given to people who can’t afford to buy them.
According to Swazye, being part of the trip gave him a way of“knowing the difference between here and there. I actually think life over there is a lot better it seems like. It doesn’t seem like they’re going through a lot of economic oppressions. Then hey also have a lot of history that was really cool.“
|While touring Paris, France, Jeremy Swayze saw a lot of the architecture in the city,including Notre Dame.|
In past interviews, Swazye described himself as someone who loves history and the trip gave him the opportunity to see how events occurred firsthand.
He said, “I learned a lot about how the castles were set up, how they ran the countries back then.”
While in Amsterdam, Holland, Swayze visited the home of Anne Frank, the young girl who wrote a now worldwide read diary while she and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis.
The group also visited Bastogne, a Belgian town invaded by the Nazis during World War II. According to Swayze, the Americans rescued the town and then had to fight off the Nazis againwhen they surrounded the city.
“So wherever you go in Bastogne there are American cannons, American tanks, American flags,” Swayze said.
To add more perspective to World War II,the Bastogne tour guide was a child during the warand Swazye said he shared how the Americans and Germans acted and what was different.
The delegates visited Normandy, a World War II battle site and saw where the American troops climbed up a cliff to a location they believed German guns had been hidden. Swayze said they wanted to destroy them, but the guns weren’t there.
They had a ceremony at the cemetery where four delegates carried a wreath and placed it in front of a monument of a soldierwhich, according to Swayze, represented all of the men who came onto the beach. Afterward, the group walked around and viewed the gravesites.
Of Normandy, Swayze said, “It was really sad to actually think that people came on and only one out of 10 men made it alive on the beach.”
And during a visit with a member of the British Parliament, the delegates gained more perspective about America’s role in World War II. Swayze said the Parliament member told the group he didn’t think he would have his freedom today if it weren’t for America.
“Because when Hitler was starting the war, he believed all of Europe would’ve fallen to him, but when America came into it and a new fire lit, they won the war. He personally believes that America made the difference in the war,” Swayze said
Out of all the places they stopped, Swayze said his favorite was Ireland because it was green and it rained a lot. His favorite event was when the group went to Warwick Castle, described as Britain’s great castle, where they learned how to be a Billman, and learned about sharpened hand plows used as axes.
“But what they mostly used was this curved bill that had an axe blade on one side and a little curved hook on the other, so they could hook around someone’s neck, pull them down and then kill them, And they used different ways of the curved hook to take down their enemies. So we learned how to use that,“ Swayze said.
They also got to use real metal swords, although dull, in a sword training event; they watched someone shoot a long bow, a common weapon for archers in England, and saw how a poor knight would dress.
Before dinner, a man dressed in armor, including a helmet and chain mail, showed them the defenses of the castle. It was at Warwick Castle where thedelegates got to see a fireball launched from thefarthest-shooting catapult
“That was pretty cool, everyone was cheering and hollering,” Swayze said. “There are only three people in England who know how to fire that catapult.”
Swayze’s adventure began after a 10-hour flight to Amsterdam, Holland where the group rode bikes, took a boat ride through the canals and went on a tour of the city. They traveled to Brussels, Belgium where they visited a chocolate factory and got to try making chocolate, as well as eat it, which according to Swayze, is a lot richer than what is found in the United States.
They traveled toBastogne and then Paris, France where they stopped by the Eiffel Towerand toured famous buildings,including the Royal Palace and Garden and Notre Dame.
After exploring France, the delegates took a ferry to the United Kingdom Sailing Academy where, on the first day, they built rafts out of windsurfing boards, logs, barrels, rope and paddles and raced them. Swayze said they were given a $500 budgetto buy the supplies. Boards were $100, logs were $150.
They also went windsurfing, kayaking around the dock and played games.
After the academy, the group left for London, which Swayze described as a busy city. They got to see a square where a sign was counting down the days and hours until the Olympics. The square was closed to the public the next day, and Swayze said when they walked by fences had been put up, there were camera crews and they could see dancers inside the fenced-in area. They also got to ride the London Eye, which takes about a half an hour to 45 minutes.
“The London Eye is pretty much a big Ferris wheel with these containers that you can take pictures of buildings from up above,” he said.
While in London, Swayze got to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, an event that occurs every hour. Swayze said his favorite part was the marching bands, which added excitement to the event.
The delegates also visited the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels and while in the city, they got to see a 4-D movie.
After London, they took off for Wales where Swayze got to rappel down a castle. He said he has been rappelling before, but the castle was a lot easier.
“Usually when you’re rappelling you have to swing your legs over the end and get your legs underneath you,” Swayze said.
But when rappelling down the castle, participants had a rug under their feet so they could walk down. The night before, Swayze said the group participated in a confidence-building session, which included breaking a board with their hands.
While in Wales, the delegates also saw the longest train station name, which translates toOur Church of Mary in the Hollow of the White Hazel Near the Fierce Whirlpool and the Church of Tysillo by the Red Cave.
Then they took a ferry ride to Irelandwhere they went to the Seven Lakes, went on an open boat ride and took an hour-long jaunty ride.
“The scenery was beautiful on the ride, it was really cool,” Swayze said. “It was all really green, really tall hills.”
After working at the bogs for the community service project, the group went to the Ring Fort and then a university, which Swayze said is considered the best in Ireland. The university had a bell tower and the superstition goes anyone who walked underneath it would fail his or her first college exam.
“So you see none of the college students walking under it, you see them all walking around it,” Swayze said.
The group also visited an elementary school, had dinner with the students and listened to some of the students play Irish jigs and danced with them.
Swayze explained there is a lot of foot movement involved and “it was really hard to do the dance. You have to be really good on your foot so it looked like I was running in place pretty much.”
While the group traveled they stayed in hotels, but did stay in a bed and breakfast-type place in Ireland.
Swayze said, “I was kind of disappointed because they have a familythat will take in one to two delegates but in the guest house there was four to eight.”
They had some interaction with the hosts, but Swayze said it wasn’t as much as they would have liked.
The delegates also got to try some different culinary items. Swayze tried frog legs and escargot, which was served in the shell and a toothpick that was used to get the meat out. While in Belgium, Swayze ate a Belgian waffle, which he said was more of an oval shape and tasted different than here.
Swayze was nominated as a delegate and had to go through an interview process. There are several trips from which delegates can choose, and Swayze said if he goes back as a People to People Ambassador, he would like to travel to Greece and Italy. He would also like to go back to some of the places he already visited, including seeing the Eiffel Tower at night.
In order to go on the trip, Swayze had to raise $7,000 and received a lot of support from the community.
He said, “The whole fundraising part of it was definitely worth it.”
He also expressed his gratitude to the community for the support he received.
“They were such a big support in me going,” he said.
Swayze said he would like to have a dessert social and invite the community to come in and hear about his trip.
He encouraged anyone who gets the opportunity to go on a trip such as the one he experienced, to take it, “because it is an excellent trip to go on.”
Susanville Area Bicycle Association gets active on the Bizz Johnson Trail
May 23 — The Susanville Area Bicycle Association is inviting bikers, hikers, runners and walkers of all ages and skill levels to the Bizz Johnson Trail at 6 p.m. Tuesday evenings. The weekly event is part of an outdoor series the association will be putting on through October. The event will begin...Read More...
Lassen College basketball player receives scholarship
Justin McBride takes a shot for the Lassen Community College Cougars. McBride was on the 2013 Golden Valley Conference men’s basketball championship team and recently accepted a scholarship to attend and play basketball for Grace University in Omaha, Neb. Photo submitted May...Read More...
Herlong takes championship at annual volleyball tournament
The Herlong Lady Vikings eighth-grade volleyball team won the championship at the annual Play Day tournament Friday, May 3. The team poses with its championship trophy in the Westwood High School gym. Photo submitted May 21 — The Herlong Lady Vikings eighth-grade volleyball...Read More...