We are filled with great joy and excitement as we look back at CAEP Fest 2019. The weekend was brimming with new cultures and friendships leaving everyone with a feeling of immense inspiration and inclusion. We are so incredibly thankful for our exchange visitors, hosts, sponsors, the Ashby community, and friends of CAEP who helped make the weekend as great as it was.
I could sit and write about how fun camping, dancing, spending the day at the lake, walking in the parade, and eating great food all weekend was, but honestly, it was the spirit of the exchange visitors that will remain the highlight of the weekend. We had young adults who came from all parts of the globe, who came as strangers and left as life-long friends. Young adults who came from different backgrounds, possessing contrasting values and beliefs but yet at the end of the day joined together hand in hand singing songs around the campfire. This is truly what it’s all about. This is cultural exchange. This is CAEP.
CAEP exchange visitors had the opportunity to give back during their time at CAEP Fest 2019 by planting a tree in the local community. This was not only an incredible opportunity to leave Ashby a little better, a community that is always so welcoming to the CAEP program but an opportunity for exchange visitors to share their culture and learn about the culture of the locals. We are so thankful for the Ashby Living Treasures Garden Club, the Mayor of Ashby, and local citizens who joined us in the tree planting ceremony and for welcoming us, sharing with us more about their organizations and their community. Planting a tree may seem like a meager act, but this was an opportunity for our exchange visitors to give and take; give back to the people during their time in the United States all while gaining new relationships that in turn bridged divides helping make the world a better place.
Following the tree planting ceremony, CAEP exchange visitors had the opportunity to wave their flags in a local parade. The pride these young adults paraded was brilliantly reciprocated by the excited crowds. The entire CAEP staff was delighted with the exchange amidst the international visitors and community.
A warm thank you to our sponsors and volunteers who graciously opened up their pockets and hearts to international exchange including the Ashby Sons of the American Legion, Ashby Living Treasures Garden Club, Dale and Patty Trebesch, Jade Gehreke and Kira Gehreke, Minn-Kota Ag Products, Red River Grain, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, Giant Seeds, Tony Kaste, Shyanna Behrens, Lizzy Friedrich, Gavin Anderson, Travis Belka, and CAEP Family and Friends. Your continued support and dedication to our mission of connecting the world through agriculture is greatly appreciated.