Emerald Connection, January 23rd, 2023
By: Jude Fesperman ’27
Stepping up to the crowd of eager adults in nice clothing, all of their eyes are directed at me, they are excited about what I have to say, and expecting to be inspired by my words. I am nervous. My breath is shaky, and my legs are struggling to keep balance. I slowly move to the podium and take a deep breath, remembering why I am doing this. I speak into the microphone with confidence now, presenting my slide in the slideshow. As the next speaker begins to present, I look into the audience and I know that what I had just said might have inspired a few people in the crowd to help the people in Uganda without water.
I am Jude Fesperman, an eighth grader at SMS and I got involved in Generation U through my friends in the baseball league of Steamboat. In July of 2022, two of my friends went to the town of Magale in Uganda, Africa to build a well. They returned with stories that inspired me. Their group was invited into a family’s crowded home and thanked by all of the members of the family. As thanks for the water they brought to their village, the family gave the group a goat and a chicken. This goat and chicken are very important gifts because they have been raised to provide for the family. Hearing about their unique experiences, I wanted to get involved as soon as possible. They told me of how they were implementing an athlete partner program to take local athletes to Uganda in February. I joined the program and went to the first meeting in September.
In our weekly meetings, we learn about how we can fundraise as well as about the people of Uganda. The women and children have to walk miles each day to collect water from streams and muddy ponds that might carry diseases that kill. The wells we build will deliver clean water right in their villages, saving and changing many lives. The wells will let women and children do other things than carrying water all day, they will be able to go to school and help their community. Learning this information I felt even more inspired to go and help them, and it motivated me to go out and raise money.
As well as impacting people in Uganda, we are also impacting people here in Steamboat. I have met business owners to talk to them and raise money for our journey. As a group, we have gone to places such as the Rotary Club and even hosted a private dinner event, giving presentations about our coming journey. We have also influenced children in our community by going and giving a presentation to the 5th grade class of Soda Creek Elementary. All of these events have helped me develop leadership skills and confidence that I use to continue raising money for our journey. I use these skills in my everyday life and will use them in the future. I have learned to be dedicated to this program. At the start of this there were fifteen athletes, now there are nine; I am proud of myself for putting the work in and sticking with it.
Using the leadership skills I have learned, I have been raising money over the past few months. Our goal is to raise enough money for the construction of 15 wells and for us to travel to our well sites over Blues Break to understand the impact we will have on the villages. This journey has already been life changing and will be even more so when I travel to Uganda over Blues Break; it’s safe to say I am very excited. If you would like to know more about me and help with my journey to Uganda, Africa please visit this link.