Historian John Hope Franklin wrote: “We must get beyond textbooks… and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey!” Indeed today, we will begin to live out the words that Franklin wrote and will share our stories and experiences through daily blog posts of our 2016 BVP Program experiences.
The departure day for the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize has finally arrived! After many months of creating, planning and preparing, to selecting 16 outstanding scholars from across Canada, England and France, we are now ready to gather together and begin this journey together!
Today our scholars will travel from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland to Toronto where they will meet each other, our two chaperone facilitators Paul and Renato and myself, Katy, Education Coordinator, as we begin our journey flying across to the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, our French and British participants will travel to Harrow School in London where they will be met by our UK BVP coordinator Hanna!
Over 102 years ago, at the outbreak of war, men left their homes and enlisted to serve in the First World War. They were motivated by the excitement of an adventure, a sense of patriotism and responsibility. Tragically for many men, who enlisted, their lives were forever changed by the experience and for some, they never returned and for their families; their lives were never the same again. Fortunately, because of their sacrifice for our freedoms, today our BVP participants have the incredible opportunity to travel with the purpose of learning about, honouring and commemorating many soldiers who served in the First and Second World Wars.
As ambassadors for their families, communities, provinces, and countries, our BVP participants will visit battlefields and cemeteries, museums and other historic spaces; they will learn from veterans, scholars, curators and from each other. They will also participate in ongoing discussions and activities which will help them to make sense of their experiences and will work together to document what they have learned in order to share with their families, classmates and communities upon their return to their home countries. The 2016 BVP program will indeed be a learning experience of a lifetime!
We are all very much looking forward to meeting everyone face to face; even though there has been much discussion through social media over the past few months between the participants. Each participant has expressed to me how excited they are and how privileged they feel to have been selected as part of this year’s BVP team.
Each day, one or two of the participants will share their experiences with you on this blog-their observations, comments and reflections. Each of them brings their own knowledge and experiences and will provide their unique perspectives in our documentation of the 2016 BVP Program. We hope you will follow along!
So let us begin– to travel and explore… and tell the world the glories of our journey!
Katy Whitfield, Education Coordinator