By combining aspects of fun and
recreation with opportunities to learn more about Basque culture, we
might be able to hit upon a winning formula of how to more effectively
transmit "Basqueness" to our new generations.
and collectively, Basque organizations have done a pretty good job of keeping the
recreation going from year to year. Recreation is the refreshment
of the mind and body after work, especially in enjoyable activities.
Recreation is crucial for a Basque club/organization for many reasons,
including the fact that without the “fun” component of our Basque
festivities (e.g., picnics, meals, mus tournaments, etc.) we would be
hard pressed to sustain our communities.
Our Basque communities have
successfully staged recreation and the expectation is that this revelry will continue. Each Basque club/ organization
probably knows best what they need to do to have a good time;
therefore plays a limited role in that capacity. It is with the next
variable of our equation that NABO can be of most assistance in our
joint shared goal of perpetuating our Basque heritage here in America.
challenge we have is bridging the gap between recreation &
education. We want learning to be fun, and we seek to
define having fun as having an opportunity to learn. If we can construct that bridge
recreate & educate, the sum will be the perpetuation of our Basque heritage.
many of our Basque communities make the transition from a generation of
European born Basques leaders to the generation of American born
Basques, the crucial element will be how well we are able to educate
young Basques about their heritage. The European Basques, when
they founded various Basque organizations, didn’t really
plan for much education for the primary reason that they were already Basque—it
was who they were. It is instead the American-born generation of
Basques that do not
have this automatic connection to traditions. It is these new
generations that confront the question what does it mean to be Basque in
a different way than their immigrant parents and grandparents. But
what will we teach our youth about what it means to be Basque? NABO is
aiming to provide a response to this question by facilitating various
Outside of the
Basque country, the premiere institution for Basque research and
study is the CBS.
is to seek the creation of a network of
youth directors in most all of our member organizations. This
person will serve as the main contact person for various cultural
endeavors aimed at youth. Together, we can pool our resources to
provide everyone the useful ideas and direction to work with their local
Basque youth. While
Udaleku (Music Camp) remains a cornerstone of NABO’s endeavors, we
need to find ways to better augment educating youth at a local level.
In San Francisco, for example, they have successfully launched their
“Goiz Eskola” program
which gathers young kids once a week for instruction in the Basque
language via games and activities. This model might well be adapted for
use in other communities. In Chino and Bakersfield this year we’ll be
arranging a joint venture where youth of both communities get together
in one town for a weekend of fun and educational activities. The list
can be continued, and it will grow as long as we can locate and identify
interested people in each Basque community. Granted, one person alone
will not be able to do things by themselves, but it all has to begin
somewhere. NABO can be a resource that can help to facilitate your
efforts to educate your youth about being Basque.
educating our young will also depend on the support of our educational
members that includes the Center for
Basque Studies (Reno, NV),
Cenarrusa Center for Basque Studies (Boise, ID), the
Basque Educational Organization
(San Francisco, CA) and the Society of
Basque Studies in America (New York). For years these organizations
have been moving forward with various educational programs that we
Basque-Americans can better utilize. The Center for Basque Studies, for
example, initiated and continues its “Ikasi” program which is week-long
workshop on Basque culture. The Cenarrusa Center sponsors several
workshops as well as does the Basque Educational Organization.
Meanwhile, the Society of Basque Studies publishes an annual journal.
We need to go back and forth on this bridge between the worlds of
recreation and education.
This year the
Society published its 25th annual edition of its journal which
collects Basque related articles.
Government is also actively supporting efforts to educate. Their annual
Gaztemundu program offers
young Basques an opportunity to travel to the Basque Country to learn
about the world there, and also to participate in workshops about better
educating youth in Basque dance, culture, etc. There is also an
endeavor underway to create a flow of Basque instructors who could come
over for a few weeks or a couple of months to work with local Basque
communities to teach things like Basque dance, Euskara, music, etc.
today is primarily a state of mind because it involves a choice that one
seeks to self-identify as being Basque. In a sense, therefore, it
is likened to a religion that one chooses to practice or not. So in the
months ahead, look for more information coming from NABO about how we
can work together to create and sustain viable programs for the
recreation and education of our youth. Goazen elkarrekin aurrera!