Basque Young Adult
An earlier generation of
Basques developed events and institutions to express & maintain
their "Basqueness." How will young Basques today
define themselves? They will decide as they take the
initiative and NABO continues to support them.
Youth Appreciation Forum at the
Our Basque community here in the Diaspora is at a crossroads: what will
we choose to define as being Basque in the 21st century? What
aspects of Basque culture will be chosen to emphasize and perpetuate?
These and other issues are becoming more paramount as a new generation
of Basques is stepping up to--or in some cases declining to--embrace
their Basque identity.
two key parts--a symbiotic relationship--between youth and
the "not so young." Not only do we have to continue to
explore routes of getting Basque youth to become and stay
involved in Basque things, we also have to address the other
side of the equation of how older Basques approach this
whole transition. Older Basques have to
understand--"appreciate"--where young people are today if
they hope to effectively connect with them. It is not
an easy task, especially since youth today quickly undergo a
profound shift (i.e, there have
always been changes from one generation to the next, but in recent times
those changes have become greater and faster). Meanwhile, young
people have to believe that "Being Basque" is something that
they want to do. So the Reno meeting
provides us a possible forum to initiate a discussion about
the challenges and opportunities that we have in front of us.
The hope is that with some "talk" we can do a better job
when it comes time to "walk" to get/keep our youth involved
with Basque culture.
Phone Meeting (June
Plan things that are spread out – more than
just one club/state
Get the smaller clubs involved as a way
to make more connections
Events that span age groups
Plan events that revolve around a picnic /
Not educationally focused
Want to be able to just be ourselves; less
Music, dance, mus, are
opportunities to do things, but not be forced
Issues of Gaztealde
Had a bad reputation--change name
Question raised of how we can get a
good grassroots movement
Our program is going to live or die based
on word of mouth
Discussed that to start with a weekend
would probably be enough to plan Ideal time would be the night before a
picnic, possibility of multiple days before
Chino? Disneyland? -- If it were a
multi-day thing it would probably have to be planned around an event –
might be easier to start with just a weekend/night
Possibility of something during winter break?
Break up the September to June time
where we don’t see each other
Would parents mind?
If a culture does not possess effective means of
transmission from one generation to the next, then that culture
is doomed to perish. Somehow, someway, against the odds, our
ancestors found a way to preserve “Basqueness” across thousands
of years. Now it is our turn. We—those of us age 30 and
above—cannot be the generation that breaks this long chain of
continuity of one of the world’s oldest cultures. OLD &
YOUNG WILL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO MAINTAIN THE LINK!
How to Organize
Central board with people chiming in from
areas that would be feasible to participate
Helps with Grassroots idea
Start talking it up at music camp
Talk it up all year round both before
Get people excited to go
Word of mouth is everything
Who to hit: dance groups,
e-mail, facebook, music camp, telephone calls
go someplace where we can hang out, play music, play cards, socialize
and SLEEP – the crashing
part is key in that it makes it inexpensive
>Whatever we choose its just got to be
something laid back and easy where people are able to do what they want
to do – make it fun without trying
> We discussed how we wanted to organize things
and thought that it might be a good idea to have 2 coordinators of
different ages that way when it comes to organizing and getting in touch
with people, we have the capability to hit everyone. Nominations were
made by Anne Marie, and passed with the entire group. Our coordinators
> Jaime Brown (Jaime.email@example.com)
and Lisa Etchepare (firstname.lastname@example.org)
picture above is worth a thousand words. There are two key
parts--a symbiotic relationship--between youth and the "not so young."
Not only do we have to continue to explore routes of getting Basque
youth to become and stay involved in Basque things, we also have to
address the other side of the equation of how older Basques approach
this whole transition. Older Basques have to
understand--"appreciate"--where young people are today if they hope to
effectively connect with them. It is not an easy task, especially
since youth today quickly undergo a profound shift (i.e, there have
always been changes from one generation to the next, but in recent times
those changes have become greater and faster).
Gardnerville – Thursday night
before the picnic starts (Thurs @ circa6pm (potluck dinner?) – Fri
@circa4pm); rent a cabin in Tahoe – have dinner, music, dancing, cards –
people have the opportunity to crash there; can advertise that we can
all meet at JT’s for dinner after, but our liability ends when everyone
leaves Tahoe. Nice thing about Gville is that a lot of people (SF,
Reno, Elko, LB for example) already attend
Camping Trip in SF – potential
weekend thing. Marin Headlands is a possibility – lots of inexpensive
camping sites. Centrally located between Reno and Chino (kind of);
could do it the Thursday/Friday before Autumn Fest depending on what’s
going on that year.
Music Camp – Anne Marie, Esti, and
Jaime are going to talk a bit while they’re in Chino – spitball with the
kids in camp that are of age to participate and just keep shooting
Convention – We discussed having lunch
together during convention. See if we can’t get representatives from
other areas/groups to participate. Run some ideas by them and note
Grassroots – start hyping the idea
that something is going to be planned for summer of 2010 and try and
start to get people excited about what’s going on.
Present for Phone Meeting:
Valerie Arrechea (San Francisco, 38)
Danielle Espinal (San Francisco, 18)
Anne Marie Chiramberro (San Francisco, 18)
Jaime Brown (Los Banos, 16)
Esti Camino (Reno, 14)
Lisa Etchepare (San Francisco, 22)
John Ysursa (Chino, 46)
Different generations of
Basques have defined "Basqueness" in various ways. Earlier
generations of Basque-Americans developed various events (e.g.,
Basque festivals, mus tournaments, etc.) and institutions (e.g.,
Basque clubs) to express and maintain
their Basqueness. Those things worked well enough for the
older crowd. Are they going to be enough to keep young adults
In the short-term most of these events and institutions will be
maintained, but what else could be developed to attract/retain more
young adults to connect with Basqueness? Here's an
invitation--a cal--to young Basque
adults to consider taking part in an organizing forum for
various initiatives. The 30+ crowd have their ideas about
what you might like, but what about you deciding? Join
with others and participate in building something you'd like!
||Some young adults have said
that "older people don't allow them to do what they want to do
with Basque things." In some cases, that is true.
This invitation comes with two provisos. Whatever
initiatives are developed, they will have to keep a lid on two
things: sex and drugs/alcohol. The reason should be
self-evident: if these get out of control then the program is
over because parents will not allow their kids to attend.
Fair enough? Apart from that, you can build what you'd
After talking to some
young adults, we've heard different ideas of what they'd like.
Some said they wanted something like Udaleku but for older folks, so
NABO tried putting that together (called "Gaztealde") in Boise in
2008 and Seattle in 2009 but no one applied. So that didn't do
Some young adults have
complained that "older people don't allow them to do what they want
to do with Basque things." Some believe they are not being
offered a chance to do something because older people will not
vacate the stage sort of speak; they don't leave room for young
adults to find their own way in Basque things. In some cases,
that is true. This invitation comes with two provisos.
Whatever initiatives are developed, they will have to keep a lid on
two things: sex and drugs/alcohol. The reason should be
self-evident: if these get out of control then the program is over
because parents will not allow their kids to attend. Fair
enough? Apart from that, you can build what you'd like.
So what is it you want?
Do you really want something like Udaleku for older kids? Do you
want cyber chat-groups? Do you want a weekend gathering of
some sort? Do you want to start a hybrid-dance group where
dancers from all over come together to perform together? Do
you want a movie night?
Minus the two provisos
above, adults are not going to stand in the way of what you want to
build. This will be yours where you can try--perhaps fail--and
try again. Some of you will have to step up and take the
initiative to start something. What do you say?
If a culture does not possess effective means of
transmission from one generation to the next, then
that culture is doomed to perish. Somehow, someway,
against the odds, our ancestors found a way to
preserve “Basqueness” across thousands of years.
Now it is our turn. OLD & YOUNG WILL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER
TO MAINTAIN THE LINK!
Basque Youth meeting summary
(from the NABO Chino Convention; thanks to Valerie Arrechea
Attending: rough total of those attending 40
-Salt Lake City Dance Group (roughly 12 people, ages: early
-Los Banos Dance Group (roughly 10 people, ages: 14 – 20)
-Chino Gauden Bat (roughly 12 people, ages: 13 – 20)
-Bakersfield Dance Group (roughly 4 people, ages: 18 – early
-San Francisco Dance Group (16 people, ages: 13 – 25)
-Christina Sangroniz, Salt Lake City group director
-Annie Erreca, Los Banos group director
-Valerie Arrechea, San Francisco group director
Those dealing with NABO youth projects were notified of the
meeting on Saturday, August 30th, and the meeting was
announced to the general public after the mass. John Ysursa
could not attend due to prior commitments with the running of
The question of how NABO can better serve the needs
of Basque youth was opened for discussion. Based on the lack of
success of the past two Gaztealde, it is evident that NABO has
not yet hit on the winning formula for this age category. Here
were their thoughts on the matter:
Classes and a structured program
> The two parents attending the meeting suggested a program that
involved classes. Specifically, Christina suggested intensive
Basque language classes stating that language was key to Basque
identity. Perhaps people would be interested in a Barnetegi
program? NABO could help by organizing a small group to attend
such a program, or at least get more information out to those
> Those in the 20 years and younger age category seemed to
prefer no classes. They seem to prefer to celebrate being
basque, not learn it.
> One compromise suggested: that Gaztealde give a choice of 5
classes on the application. The top 3 classes are chosen, and
everyone participates, or you only do what you signed up for on
cost and length of a program
> There was concern about cost and having to miss work to
attend. Most people start working at age 16, and taking a week
off during the summer is difficult. Once people start working,
they are also expected to pay for programs like this themselves.
> Paying for housing is an issue. Those at the meeting would
like to have the programs where it is either really cheap or
they can stay with friends.
the goal of a NABO program for youth:
> More interested in strictly social gatherings: weekend trips
such as camping and skiing were suggested.
> Concerned with maintaining friendships, celebrating being
Basque, and giving opportunities for other youth outside of
traditional Basque circles a chance to get involved.
location of a program
> Central location for easier accessibility; airport access is
important, with an eye towards cost.
> Projects could be done in conjunction with a Basque festival
to support various Basque clubs.
enabling NABO youth with more responsibilities: Youth NABO
through a telephone meeting system:
> The group seemed very interested.
> They liked idea of having the responsibility of planning
> They liked the idea of being able to choose their
representative as opposed to outside people picking who they
think are leaders. If the groups pick their own representatives
they are more likely to stand behind that person (who answers to
the group) and that way the system can stay in place even though
individuals would change. (Much like the delegate system NABO
> Leaders can’t be created, they just need opportunities to come
> This group was wary of not having their ideas respected once
they have made suggestions. If the idea of a youth NABO is
followed, it needs to be taken seriously and not brush off the
suggestions of this youth committee.
getting all youth communities on board
> The group at the meeting was very aware that not all groups in
NABO were present at the meeting. Many dance groups were
missing, and not all clubs have their youth organized in groups.
> Question on how to get some of those on board. (could be a
topic at a future youth meeting.)
> Mention that although Gaztealde was held in Boise for past two
years, no participants were from Boise. (None at past 2 udaleku
either for that matter) This group saw the need for all the
communities to come together for this idea to work.
Valerie Arrechea’s general observations: The youth present were
very open and receptive to the idea of being involved in
decisions that affect them. They were happy that they had been
asked. They were wary that their suggestions would not be
listened to. They have some great ideas, and good heads on
their shoulders. Their parents should be proud to have such
clear thinking young adults. Just as we were given the space to
create things at a young age, we need to do so for this current
youth. They need to be involved in projects, not have projects
handed to them.
Valerie Arrechea, NABO Udaleku Chairman & Director, SF Zazpiak
Valerie Arrechea is
serving as the moderator, but the young adults will be ones
developing the initiatives. She
can be reached at 415/859-1154 or by email at