We are born with the desire to connect
with others, but today we largely get to choose with whom we will
affiliate. So one of the keys is getting young Basques to choose
to belong to the Basque community and this can be facilitated with the
assistance of Gaztemundu.
are both very complicated and simple beings. The complicated part
includes why it is that two people can be looking at the exact same
thing yet see and interpret it so differently. That's one of the
major problems historians (my day job) have to grapple with. Other
times, things are more straight-forward as in the instance of the
universal human desire to connect with others. For whatever the
reason, we grave to be others. While some of us prefer to be
loners, there are still times when we want and need others. In the
film "Castaway" starring Tom Hanks as a marooned survivor on a deserted
island, we are shown how as humans we grave company. In this film,
the Hanks' character creates "Wilson" (named after the Wilson volleyball
that he gives a face) so that he has someone to talk with. Put
simply, we all grave to belong to something. Now the questions are
what will we choose to affiliate with and what does Gaztemundu
have to do with this?
In the film
"Castaway" starring Tom Hanks as a marooned survivor on a
deserted island, we our shown how as human beings we grave
company; i.e, a connection with others. To fill the void,
the character creates a companion he calls "Wilson" (for the
Wilson volleyball) so he has someone to talk with.
the defining characteristics of living in the Western world today is
that we are largely able to define our destiny. This ability to
decide is not absolute, but contrasted with other societies most
Americans are able to offer a wide variety of answers to the question
"what do you want to be when you grow up?" Couple this with our
innate desire to connect, we have individuals that are seeking to
connect with something beyond themselves as they make their decision
about their future.
connections our young people can make run the gamut: some will choose to
associate with their local gang; another with their local church;
another with Nascar Nation, etc. So why would someone want to
choose to self-identify as a Basque? There is no one answer to
this because as humans we all relate to things differently (historians'
dilemma above). Here our focus becomes: how do we get our
youth to choose to belong to their Basque community?
||More than ever before, our
young people today are presented a wide assortment of choices
when it comes to deciding what and with whom they choose to
associate. Even a Basque born in Euskal Herria to Basque
parents does not assure that the youth will choose a Basque
affiliation: they are almost as likely to self-identify
themselves as a Bob Marley music fan (who sang some nice songs
but had little to do with being Basque).
varied answers to this question will comprise the substance of many more
articles to come because this is something that we'll need to continue
to explore if we're going to see the survival of Basques.
Biologically Basques will survive, but we're talking about having
Basques choosing to belong and taking part in the promotion and
continuation of Basque culture. Yesteryear, this equation was more
fixed: those born Basque mostly self-identified as being Basque,
which is why wherever you found Basques in the world, for example, a
good many of them went to work creating Basque associations and clubs.
This equation is now less fixed: even if you are born in the
Basque Country to Basque parents, that does not assure that a youth will
self-identify as being Basque. They might as well end up defining
themselves as a Bob Marley (reggae music icon) fan, or a dedicated
member of some AOL chat room first, and then maybe on occasion as being
Basque. So what can we do to encourage young Basques to choose a
stronger, more substantial connection with their Basque heritage?
This is where Gaztemundu comes in.
|Since 1996 the
Directorate for Relations with Basque Communities of the Basque
Government of Euskaid has annually sponsored a two-week workshop
to introduce Basque youth of the Diaspora to their ancestors'
homeland of Euskal Herria.
Gaztemundu is long standing
program sponsored by the Basque Government to take a handful of Basques
community leaders from the Basque Diaspora (the community of Basques who
live outside the Basque homeland) and assemble them in the Basque
Country for a two-week workshop. Topics vary annually, but this
year a program is being repeated because of its unique ability to train
youth instructors in various ways of relating with youth. This
year's Gaztemundu has a specific objective: it is intended to
provide youth directors viable means of connecting with Basque youth and
encouraging them to make the choose when the time comes down road to
self-identify with being Basque because growing up they had a positive
So let the call out: we're
looking for some good young men and women who are willing to attend this
workshop and make the commitment upon their return to make an effort to
impart a desire to youth want to affiliate with their Basque heritage.
The rush is on, because applications must be received no later than
April 25th. Go to
for more information and how to apply.
So let the call out: we're
looking for some good young men and women who are willing to
attend this workshop and make the commitment upon their return
to make an effort to impart a desire to youth want to affiliate
with their Basque heritage. Go to
for more information and hurry--the deadline to apply is April
Let us be clear: the
stakes are quite high. If a sense of being Basque (beyond biology;
i.e., the line "My grandfather was Basque") is going to endure, it will
be because of the effort put forth by a dedicated group of individuals
that will work to ensure that another generation continues our Basque
heritage. That is why we need to identify at least one youth
director for each community. Almost every club has a mus
chairperson, a president, a treasurer, etc. What we need is
someone who will be dedicated to communicating information to the right
people who are working with youth.
Click here for more
information about what is involved in being a youth director.
Our young people are our
future. Yes, the immigrant generation created most all our Basque
clubs, and they deserve our gratitude for what they have provided us.
But now it is the turn of another generation--the generation of Basques
born in America--to step up like our parents did to keep our Basque
Help us get the word out--Gaztemundu
2006 is a great opportunity to train today's teachers to ensure
tomorrow's future. Help us find individuals who are willing to
step up and answer the call. We know that our young Basques as
they grow older will choose to associate with something. Let's do
what we can to help make that choice choosing to remain Basque.
For this we'll need the help of some to make being Basque an enticing
choice. Gaztemundu can help us with this by providing new and
engaging ways of working and playing as a Basque. Our parents and
grandparents did their job--it's our turn now.