For 58 years Operation Friendship has paired youth from the U.S. and Europe with the purpose of fostering cultural understanding, human connection, and friendship. This idea was born with just one Reverend and three brave youth delegates who traveled from Scotland to the U.S. Fast forward several decades and bring on social media where reaching out to those across the globe is so much easier--almost to the point where there is nary a need to leave the comforts of home to experience another culture...or so we thought.
It took a global pandemic to show us that a substitute for genuine human connection does not exist, and that it's not just a want but a need. One cannot touch, taste, or smell the essence of a culture over video conferencing or social media platforms. However, this doesn't mean O.F. has escaped the effects of the pandemic.
The recent O.F. America Annual Meeting revealed that two of our four U.S. chapters are facing possible dissolution--Grafton and Indy North. A two-year hiatus saw some of our delegates "age out" and leadership fizzle. Still, O.F.A. is resolute that all it takes is a few delegates and families who are willing to lead; to open their homes, hearts, and minds to connection. After all, O.F. was sown with a seed of an idea that sprouted into three delegates and has planted friendships around the world ever since.
We are asking you now to help us plant more seeds. Do you know anyone in middle or high school who would like this opportunity? Let us know! As we embark on a new cycle of hosting and travel, we look forward to reaping the harvest of friendship through genuine connection. Because, after all, isn't that what life is all about?
In friendship and gratitude,
Your O.F.A. Board