When we reflect back on an experience it is often difficult—if not impossible—to actually assess its impact. But on rare occasions—and for especially unique experiences—we know that something very special, and possibly transformative, has occurred. The magic moment when the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund was conceived in 1927 was synchronicity: joining the vision of fostering international friendships through service projects, trainings, and exchange visits. Juliette memorably called these unique experiences the “magic thread” that would link the youth of the world together.
And once these young women are linked, something even more magical happens. They are appreciative, learn to value cultural difference and become more critical thinkers—in short, they are better able to understand the world, evaluate problems, and seek sustainable solutions. They quite simply are better prepared to assume their place as responsible leaders and informed global citizens. Those who have had opportunities to participate in international experiences, made possible by the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, consistently and continuously tell us how their lives have been enriched, and how they have remained inspired to give back to local and global communities.
Following are some reflections we recently received from women who took part in a European/USA exchange of camp counselors in 1953, funded by the JLWFF almost 60 years ago. Their reminiscences about an event from so long ago are essentially the same—they participated in a life-changing experience that had a lasting and positive impact on their lives.
“At the age of 87, I still feel the summer of 1953 was the greatest learning period of my life. . .” —Lorraine Stewart
“The Exchange that I was privileged to be a part of has helped to shape my life . . . and I am grateful for the experience and the lasting friendships. “—Mary Essert
“My many years in Girl Scouting, and especially the 1953 World Friendship Exchange, not only did so much to help me become independent and resourceful and the person I am today, but gave me lifelong friendships from around the world.” —Alice Streicher
This magic thread has been our vital connection with one another for almost 85 years. With your support, this spool will become an endless thread, not only connecting the youth of the world together, but also connecting our rich history with our boundless future. To help ensure that the magic will continue, please consider a generous donation to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund.