I applied for Seeds of Peace in early 2018 because I was looking forward to a new opportunity.
I did so with hopeful anticipation because I was tired of being discouraged by the political climate and harmful ideology I saw perpetuated in the media and in my own community. I wanted to take on a new approach, and adopt new ways to engage with people I struggle with. Seeds of Peace offered the opportunity for a diverse group of peers to learn with and from each other and forge dynamic and lasting relationships.
It was a quintessential camp day, about half way through the session, when Sarah B., the camp director, called to me and said that Mr. Tim Wilson, the Camp’s first director and current Senior Advisor and Director of Maine Seeds Programs, wanted to talk with me.
My imagination ran wild in the moment and I worried that maybe I found some sort of trouble. But, it was then that Mr. Wilson told me that I’d received the Wil Smith scholarship.
I felt honored and it was in that conversation that I began to learn who Wil was to the Seeds community, and fully appreciate the impact that he had on others and that I’d be carrying on a part of his legacy. I was impressed by his dedication as a young parent and student, and how he mentored and inspired generations of Seeds, many of whom are adults now.
One of my favorite mantras is one of Wil Smith’s that I learned at Camp, and that is: “be the leader that you would want to follow.”
I think those words are ever so prevalent as many privileged nations’ and powerful leaders acts out of self interest, losing sight of their purpose as representatives of goodwill for the people and our environment.
Wil chose a higher path from which to lead from, inspiring youth like myself to follow.
After learning about Wil Smith’s story, my desire to follow in his example as a leader has brought my interest in working towards a post-secondary education to Bowdoin College, his alma mater.
Thanks to him and the community he inspired, I’m pushing myself to achieve a higher standard so that one day I can make such an impact in this world as Wil Smith did.
I never had the chance to meet Wil Smith, but his spirit still lives on in the people he has inspired—and in his honor I will bring my best to this continuum of moral leadership.
Learn more about Wil Smith’s life and legacy and read reflections from those who were touched by his presence. The Wil Smith Scholarship supports campers who represent the values, ideas, and leadership skills that Wil modeled for all of us. To learn how to contribute to the scholarship, contact Lele LeVay.