While many 11-year-olds will be planning pool parties and paintball battles this summer, Tipp City fifth-grader, Emma Smith, will be making new friends from around the world.   Smith will travel as a United States delegate to the Smokey Mountain Chapter of Children’s International Summer Village (CISV).  The daughter of Sanford and Beth Smith was selected by the Miami County Chapter at a mini camp based upon her leadership abilities, cooperative positive attitude and her interpersonal and social skills.

The Village experience is limited to 11-year-old students.  CISV deems that aged student as having “the maturity to be away from home and understand the purpose of being brought together. They are capable of representing their culture, yet young enough to accept each other without prejudice. They communicate easily, even without a common language, and are eager to make friends.”

According to L. T. Ball fifth-grade teacher, Beth Hanes, a total of 48 delegates, two girls and two boys from each country, with their respective leaders will attend the 28-day summer camp in Tennessee.  Only four students from Ohio will attend the Smokey Mountain Chapter CISV.  Smith’s delegation will also include Miami County students, Victoria Holland (Troy), Ethan Kister  (Piqua), and Keagan Crosby (Miami East).  “I am really excited,” Smith said, “to meet everybody from all the different countries and making new friends!”

Kirk Hemmerick, of Troy, teaches fifth grade at Milton-Union Elementary School and serves as leader to the Miami County Chapter.  He will accompany the delegation as one of five adult leaders from various nations.  “For our first meeting,” Hemmerick said, “we played games and shared thoughts about traveling, being away from home, trying exotic foods, etc.”  According to Hemmerick, students are currently “organizing a U.S.A. National Night to represent our country to the other delegations,” as well as preparing a Delegation Book to share with every participant.

“Emma seems like a terrific young person,” Hemmerick said, “and the other delegates are going to make a fine team.  They are creative, imaginative, and funny.”  Hemmerick, himself, is no stranger to exchange programs, having spent a year when he was a student, with two host families in Switzerland.  “I look forward to this opportunity,” he said, “as we explore peace themes with children from 11 other countries.”

CISV was founded shortly after the end of World War II by University of Cincinnati psychologist, Dr. Doris T Allen.  The organization, which promotes the development of “peaceful solutions for worldwide problems”, has touched the lives of more than 112,000 participants worldwide since its inception in 1951.

Hanes, of Piqua, is currently vice president/president-elect of the Miami County Chapter as well as National Parliamentarian for CISV-USA.  Both of her sons have attended Village Summer Camps.  Hemmerick’s step-children are both active with CISV and his son lives and studies in Germany.