What?! Nepal? 2074? I thought Bainbridge Island-Kitezh took kids to Russia!
We did take a lot of kids – more than 250 – to Russia since 2001. It was a great run. It changed the lives of many of those young people who to this day will tell you that the trip with Camp Siberia or Bainbridge Island-Kitezh changed their perspective on the world and what is valuable to them. Many of them continue to travel and work to make the world a better place. We are very proud of that and want to continue providing Bainbridge Island teens with an opportunity to discover the world culturally, intellectually and physically.
Russia has been good but at the same time it has been very difficult. In 2011 it became clear that we would not be able to work with the orphanages in Siberia that we had a more than ten year relationship with. So, we shifted our attention and program to the little community of Kitezh in South-Western Russia.
This year, after selecting an amazing group of Ambassadors we learned from our friends in Kitezh that it would not be possible for them to continue accepting foreign volunteers. The political situation made it impossible for them to accept volunteers from around the world who helped them as educators in their school, performed work around the community and otherwise shared their cultures with them. That meant us, too.
So, with a great group of young people ready to tackle the world and no place to go, several members of the BI-K Board found an alternative: Nepal. We wanted the same kind of experience – a new and different culture to explore, the opportunity to help kids and a potentially life-changing experience. As with anything new there are a lot of unknowns. To reduce the risk that those unknowns could negatively impact the team, we are partnering with a company called Global Vision International (GVI) which specializes in providing the kinds of experiences that we are looking to provide for our Ambassadors.
So the next chapter was written in Nepal in 2074! In the Nepalese calendar our 2017 is their 2074.
[UPDATE] The trip was an outstanding success. If you think you might like to go in 2075 get ready to apply in late September. We will have an introductory meeting on October 10th at 7:00 in the Bainbridge High School library. We’ll post the information here, too.