Teen Ambassador Sean on youth leadership

Teen Ambassador Sean Graves listens to a presentation by Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.

By Sean Graves, Teen Ambassador 2017

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

This quote pertains to every single one of us in this room, both campers and adults. My fellow campers and I are interested in different careers. Even though I’m going into a science field, I have gained both tremendous and useful information by becoming an ambassador.

First, I learned things are not always as they appear. My history teachers guided me toward this camp and I did not expect some of the incredibly interesting presentations that unfolded. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I would set foot in international embassies, eat where Jack Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier and shake hands with the Mayor of Pittsburgh.

These experiences opened my mind to the outside world. My whole life so far has been extremely local. My little world is Pittsburgh, PA. This camp, however, broadened my thinking, and opened the door to the great diversity and variety of cultures in the world.

It reinforced my understanding of our Japanese allies and it broadened my perspective of our Russian neighbors. Walking into the Russian Embassy, I expected all the diplomats to be bearded, shirtless men riding grizzly bears while singing the Soviet National Anthem. It was actually normal people who seek peace and prosperity with the United States and the world.

To accept the fact that our fellow people are essentially the same will tie the world closer together and push us further into the future. Along with the important lessons we have learned, I believe having fun and making great friendships are the great successes of this camp. It truly is amazing that you can walk into a room full of complete strangers and leave with friendships that could last a lifetime.

Laughter, memories and stories tie all people together, from ambassadors to teenagers. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be with all of you. Thank you!