seeks host families for 2009
tolerance is goal
of international peace project
(November 2008) Barb Daughertys interest
in the Ulster Project was peaked a few years ago when she saw participants
from Madison, Ind., marching in the annual Madison Regatta Parade. She
soon learned first-hand how monumental the experience can be for any
family that participates in the program. Her daughter, Olivia, was an
Ulster teen for two years, and now her son is hopeful he will get the
chance to participate as well.
Daugherty family, Bedford, Ky., have participated in the
Ulster Project of
Madison for two years.
They hope to get the
chance to participate
The Daughertys and other families who want to be considered
for the 2009 Ulster Project in Madison are invited to the Party
with the Project, at 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15 at
602 W. Main St. All Ulster alumni and prospective host teens and families
will get a chance to mingle, ask questions and fill out applications.
There will be pizza, snacks, drinks and a DJ during the event.
The upcoming 2009 Ulster Project will be the 10th season for Madison.
During the international mission, teens from Northern Ireland, both
Catholics and Protestants, stay with Madison families for three to four
weeks during July. The teens stay with families that have teens of the
same age, gender and religious denomination. All of the teens participate
in a variety of activities that are designed to help promote and develop
friendship and trust. They learn that people with different political
and religious values can coexist in a peaceful and friendly manner.
It is a great experience for all of the teens, said Daugherty.
They make lasting friends, learn how to cooperate and work peacefully
despite differences, and also manage to have lots of fun as well.
With the amount of activities that are scheduled for the teens, Daugherty
said the time flies by.
Olivia, 16, said she didnt participate when she first heard about
the Ulster Project, but then some of her friends did and kept telling
her how much fun they had. I am so glad I ended up doing it,
she said. I would definitely encourage anyone who has the chance
to participate. Her Irish friend from last year was Erin Flanagan,
and they still keep in touch.
Julie Swartz family also participated in the Ulster Project last
year. The Swartz family is Catholic, so their daughter, Samantha, was
paired with Anita Conway, a Catholic teen from Fermanagh County, Ireland.
Anita was a little homesick at first, and it was a little awkward
for maybe a day or so until we all got to know each other, but that
all changed, said Swartz, who is also the publicity chairperson
for the Ulster Project. There was a lot of crying when we had
to say our goodbyes.
left, Irish student Erin Flanagan
poses with a cartoon character at
Kentucky Kingdom with host Olivia
Daugherty of Milton, Ky. The Daughertys
plan to host another student from
Ireland next year.
Swartz said the expense of hosting an Ulster teen is not
much greater than a few restaurant trips for the month.
The Ulster Project holds a variety of fundraisers during the year, including
an auction and dinner in July of each year, to provide the necessary
funding to bring the Irish teens here and for the various activities
the teens do.
The cost is really not even a factor in the decision, said
Swartz. What is more important is the dedication and commitment
to the project for the entire time the Irish teens are here. It has
to be a complete family effort.
While in the past, the Ulster Project usually starts organizing committees
and the host families in January, project leaders want to get an earlier
start this year. We want to make sure we have everything well
planned and in order by the time the teens arrive in July, said
Swartz. We have lots of work to do.
In a ceremony on Oct. 18 to celebrate the peace missions 10-year
anniversary, the establishment of the Mattson Draper Leadership
Award was announced. Sherry Mattson and Richard Draper were instrumental
in bringing the international Ulster Project to Madison.
The award is to be presented in their honor to alumni of the Ulster
Project of Madison for outstanding leadership and dedication to the
mission of the Ulster Project International. The award will assist U.S.
alumni in traveling to Northern Ireland to further the bonds of friendship
For more information, call Chris Schwing,
president of the Ulster Project in Madison, at (812) 599-5313.
Back to November 2008