"The Time of Youth"
GAZTEALDI: Basque Young Adult Assembly
Originally published May 17, 2006 by John M.
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What will it mean to be Basque in the 21st century? The generation
of Basque young adults ages 16-25 will have a determining voice in the
response. Accordingly, NABO is initiating a new program just for
them called Gaztealdi--"The Time of Youth."
he future of our Basque-American
community will be decided within the next 15 to 20 years. The
immigrant generation of Basques established the foundation of our
clubs, but now the torch is being passed to the generation of
Basques born in America, and it will be this younger generation that
will decide what it means to be Basque in America in the 21st
century. So now is the time to begin work on this transition as
hopefully both generations can work together in a mutually
Where is the next generation of
young adult Basque community leaders? There was a Kristie Onaindia
in Bakersfield, a Jean Flesher in Salt Lake, a Patty Miller in
Boise, a Jeanette Almirantearena Duhart in Chino, to name a few.
Folks like this stepped up in years past, but where are the
teenagers and twenty-somethings of today (and the exceptions in a
few communities prove the general rule that we're missing this
crucial generation of young adults). This is the age when most of
us where looking to find something of importance in our lives, to
belong to something larger than ourselves. Thus this is the window
Basque young adults like Jean Flesher (Salt Lake City) stepped up
to take on an active role in Basque activities. As a
young adult he served as his club's president, helping to
coordinate a NABO Convention as well as an Udaleku among
other things when he wasn't playing the accordion for our
Where is that
next generation? Will we be able to keep things going strong
in the years ahead?
Udalekuís recent reformulation for kids ages 10-15 will mean
that it will most likely function much smoother, but of course now
we took away a possible means of connecting with the 15+ age youth.
Valerie Etcharren had her eye on this and last year offered a
workshop. Xabier Burrueta & others are at work putting together a
great series of
in San Francisco and Boise. The Basque Government sponsors an
annual two-week Gaztemundu program for youth in the Basque country,
but its impact here has remained limited. One reason is that few
people apply (whether because of faulty communications or general
lack of interest) and those who have attended largely disappear.
NABO will continue to promote I believe we should stay with
promoting this program, but we also need to construct a local,
domestic program to better connect with young adults.
The Elko "Euzkaldunak" Basque Club (clubhouse pictured here)
with the coordination of Bob Echeverria & Anita Anacabe
Franzoia, will host our inaugural Gaztealdi training session in
conjunction with Udaleku where participants will be pursuing a
separate line of activities.
So that is why NABO is poised to
initiate GAZTEALDI (Basque for "time of youth"). But it
doesn't really matter what NABO hopes to do unless young people
decide to participate. This summerís Udaleku in Elko will also be
serving as the initial attempt to form a team that will assist in
the formulation of what Gaztealdi could and should be. If this is
going to be for young adults, then they must have a part in its
creation from the outset; they have to feel a sense of ownership if
this is going to succeed.
Anita Anacabe Franzoia, NABO's "Aurrera Goaz" chairperson commented
that this summer will serve to get this "off the ground and let
those older Udaleku kids know they aren't forgotten. There's too
big of a gap from when they graduate from Udaleku to becoming a
contributing member of the club they belong to. It needs to be fun
to keep them involved and not burned out and discouraged by some of
the older members."
So what do you think about
Anita Anacabe Franzoia, NABO's "Aurrera Goaz" chairperson commented that
this summer will serve to get this "off the ground and let those older
Udaleku kids know they aren't forgotten. There's too big of a gap from
when they graduate from Udaleku to becoming a contributing member of the
club they belong to. It needs to be fun to keep them involved and not
burned out and discouraged by some of the older members."
Right now the tentative proposal
is that it would be a three to four day assembly of Basque young adults
ages 16 to 25. It is not
specifically a teachers workshop (if some go on to do that--marevelous)
but moreso several days of a more advanced
Udaleku format where
participants learn about various aspects of Basque culture: e.g.,
Euskara, music, song, dance, history & culture, cuisine, etc.
Specifics of what will be
presented, what people will coordinate this, when & where it would be,
etc. is step two; of course NABO clubs/organizations will have an
opportunity to contribute to this over the next several meetings.
Thus here in step one we are just sounding out Basque young adults to
see who might be interested in being a part of building something
from the bottom up; i.e., who wants to be a part of this organizational team?
Your ancestors built these clubs, and developed programs like Udaleku
before you were born. Now it's your turn to decide what being
Basque will be.
It was decades ago that
NABO launched one of its most successful endeavors--Udaleku
(Music Camp). Now is the time to create
another program specifically for
Basque young adults ages
16-25 with Gaztealdi in the hope of getting more
of this generation to connect with being Basque.
is the age when most of us where looking to find
something of importance in our lives, to belong to
something larger than ourselves. Thus this is the window
of opportunity! Let's give them something with
which to connect.
To better connect and attract
young adults, it would help to know
something a bit more in depth about the story of the Basques. This is what we're looking for
from those interested in participating in this initial two-week
organizational meeting (alongside the two weeks of Udaleku in Elko):
Basque young adults between
the ages of 16--25
Prepared to work under the
direction of the Udaleku team (directed by Lisa Corcostegui & John
Ysursa) from whom it is hoped participants will be able to learn
some things that they in turn can utilize
One goal of this initial
two-week assembly (that will run parallel with Udaleku in Elko) is
to formulate a program for a projected 3-4 day assembly sometime
next year TBA.
There is no fee for this,
nor a salary paid. If you can arrange to get to Elko, you will be
hosted there with room and board.
Prepared to be 1) a team
player and 2) ready to do some serious work (you read
correctly--it's not just party time)
We will accept about a
The following books will be
used, and you are asked to acquire your own copies and have these
read & prepared to discuss when we begin:
Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky. This is
available at most bookstores; if not online at
This provides an
overview of Basque history.
An Enduring Legacy by John & Mark Bieter. This is available
at bookstores; if not online at
www.amazon.com or other outlets.
This is specific to
the Basque-American experience.
Thanks to the following who contributed their
ideas at the initial meeting to organize Gaztealdi:
Zubillaga (Los Banos)
Goyheneteche (San Francisco)
Lanathoua Gaton (Chino)
- Natalie Maiola
- Mateo Franzoia
find out more about what NABO is doing to connect with Basque youth,
click on the link