It has been ten years since Hilda Fu’s vision took root as Luminari. It started with one extraordinary and enriching camp for teens and has blossomed into a highly sought-after summer program. I Want to be an Ambassador! Director Susan Brozek Scott explains why she can’t wait to take this year’s teens on an unforgettable journey!
This is your fourth year as director of Ambassador camp. What brings you back year after year?
My first year, I was completely intrigued by the whole concept of what Luminari Founder and President Hilda Fu had created. Literally, I never knew anything like it existed, and especially, that it existed for teens, and that it was right here in Pittsburgh. So, there was a giant learning curve for me, to understand the goals, the philosophy and the opportunities the camp could offer at a very pivotal time in these young lives. I had to ask a lot of questions and do a huge amount of homework. Then, after the studying, there was the day-by-day execution and teamwork of making sure it all went according to plans. But right after the closing ceremonies, I can say, I was hooked. Ambassador Camp is a fascinating experience and one that can certainly be eye-opening and life-changing for teens, because they learn so much and can put this knowledge to use not just now, but over the course of their lives.
What most excites you about camp this summer?
What I look forward to the most is meeting all the new teen ambassadors and their parents that first day, and then watching the teens learn and grow individually, and as a group, throughout the 7 days of camp. That’s very exciting and very rewarding for our entire Luminari Camp staff. Every year, I am amazed at how much we all learn from the experience, because while the overall format is consistent, we work hard each year to make camp extremely relevant to ever-changing current events. That means we pay great attention to national and international news and literally make decisions and adjustments based on events and developments that happen leading up to, and including, the days of camp.
I Want to be an Ambassador! is the only one of its kind in Western PA. What makes this camp so unique?
From the first day to the last hour, the teens get an education that immerses them in an experience that has them look at issues from multiple perspectives, not just their own. They learn how to resolve conflicts, how to negotiate, how to present themselves diplomatically in a variety of domestic and foreign settings. There’s an extensive list of topics, taught by expert instructors. No matter what the teen ambassadors do in life, I have full faith that they will take lessons they learn this summer and use them in many ways in their future.
What are some of the activities and interactive experiences you have planned this summer?
We have some simulations that are riveting, that really make our teen ambassadors think on their feet and make major decisions, just as they would have to do if they were refugees fleeing from a war-torn country or if they were negotiating during a sensitive global crisis.
Tell us about the D.C. trip and what teens will gain from their visit to our national capitol?
There’s nothing like this trip to D.C., every year is different. We visit foreign embassies and get a thoroughly fascinating inside look at cultures, customs, conflicts, diplomatic issues, the list is endless. I described it a few years ago as “stepping into history, while history is being made,” and this holds true even today. We’ve visited the Embassies of Germany, Ireland, Japan, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey during my previous three years as Camp Director. We also visit museums, monuments, and enjoy dining out together in some very unique restaurants around the Capitol.
What leadership and other skills will campers acquire that will serve them well in their schools, in their communities and for the rest of their lives?
The teen ambassadors learn a very diverse set of skills, from public speaking to negotiating win-win agreements, to diplomacy in all kinds of settings, foreign and domestic. They even learn non-verbal communication and how to properly vet news sources to discern what is credible from what is propaganda. They learn how to work through conflict and achieve outcomes that can improve their lives and the lives of their families, their friends and people in their communities.
Can any teen attend this camp?
Teens must be 13 to 18 years old, a rising 8th to 12th grader, have valid, approved photo ID, and be willing and able to follow staff directions and camp rules to allow for a positive experience for all teens.
The I Want to be an Ambassador! camp focuses on the art of diplomacy to effectively accomplish goals in daily life. With exercises in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, teens will visit embassies and talk with business leaders and diplomats to inspire a thirst for global knowledge, hone new skills and impact local communities – one person at a time. Rising 8th to 12th graders wanted June 11 – June 19, 2019, to learn more or sign up or call 412-877-1888.