Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Ann Olin

Dear Eagle County commissioners: I am writing to you on behalf of the Eagle County Youth Conservation Corps. My Girl Scout troop was one of the first youth groups ever to do a YCC work day, more than five years ago. At the time they were 10-year-olds, and although they are now in high school, they all still remember with pride our first project, a campground maintenance and repair job at Blodgett Campground. Since then, we have done many other campground projects, built a fence at Tigiwon, cleaned up numerous locations around the valley, built trails, done weed and fire mitigation and more. My girls have grown up serving our community and funding their program activities through YCC projects, and they still look forward to participating in them every summer.The girls have benefited from YCC in so many ways. They have learned about our area’s natural resources through the efforts of the Gore Range Science School’s lessons. They have seen the wide variety of special places and ecosystems our valley encompasses. They have seen the fruits of their labor in new fire rings, spruced-up campgrounds, weed-free and fire protected forest lands, cleaner public areas and improved, handicapped-accessible nature trails. They know how hard it is to clean up after other people’s careless use of public land. They have felt the satisfaction of a job well done, and how you can earn a reputation for being dedicated workers, getting requests for special projects because you are good at what you do. They have learned perseverance, sticking to a job even when you are hot, tired, dirty and ready to stop. And they have learned all this through participation in the YCC program.They have also learned the joy and satisfaction of earning your own way and funding your own experiences. Through participating in YCC, our girls have raised the money it took to earn their Girl Scout Bronze Award, do various community service projects, go on trips to a marine biology camp in Florida and a sight-seeing trip to the San Francisco Bay area, and most recently, help the victims of Hurricane Katrina by donating all or part of their summer’s earnings to the Salvation Army. I guarantee you that there are more than several girls in my troop who would never have been able to afford to accomplish all this were it not for the fundraising opportunities we had with YCC. I would wager that every group that participates in YCC has numerous kids that rely on YCC funds to do the things the group gets to do. Without the chance to earn the money, they would not be able to be part of the group, or would not get to do all the things the group has to offer. YCC projects give low-income kids the chance to belong to groups on an equal footing with kids who happen to come from families with more money to spare.I hope the county commissioners will choose to continue to fund this incredible program for years to come. Kids, no matter their income level, need the opportunities the Youth Conservation Corps offers to learn about the stewardship of the land, appreciate the fantastic valley they get to live in, give back to their communities, spend time outdoors, and earn what they get. Those are lessons that transcend economic levels and benefit all kids equally.Ann OlinCo-leader, Girl Scout Troop 296, EagleGreat ideaKudos to Jim Slevin for his thoughtful suggestion regarding the fountain at Seibert Plaza. A fountain from our sister city, Saint Moritz, would undoubtedly be beautiful, would add much needed character and charm to our village, and would provide an historical precedent. As a secondary benefit, it would honor Pete Seibert in a way that would have been meaningful to him and deepen our connection with Saint Moritz. I am all for it!Patricia O’NeillA fairy taleI was so surprised to see the article written by Thomas Hopkins in the letters to the editor section instead of the Arts and Entertainment section. His article could really be called another chapter for the fairy tale book “Tales of the Arabian Nights” and definitely not a history lesson.He tries to give us credentials for his point of view by stating that he is part of an international team. Who is this team? Under whose auspices is this team working? He neglects to give us that information, because I think he wants the reader to think it must be the United Nations or some other legitimate international organization. He goes on to confuse us with all kinds of numbers that mean nothing, but look like they are facts and figures. Who and what are his major source: books written no later than 1951. That’s like saying a book written about the United States in 1786 established the legal boundaries of the United States. The books he thinks are reputable sources of information for Israel’s boundaries were written before the wars of 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982. The disputed territories came to Israel as “spoils of the war of 1967.” Some of these territories Israel tried to return to Egypt and Jordan; however, there were no takers.There is no educated Israeli or expert of the Middle East that claims Israel’s right to exist is solely based on the U.N. Resolution of Partition. This is an argument that is being used today primarily by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, which at the time of passage they refused to accept. Any well-read person has seen that the U.N. has little power to enforce any of its resolutions. While it is true that the Partition Resolution gave the Israelis the courage to declare statehood, it is generally recognized that Israel exists today because she has been able to win the many wars waged against her.The people who call themselves “Palestinian refugees” were not “driven out” by the Israelis. They were “driven out” by Egyptians, Jordanians, Syrians and the Lebanese, who seduced them with promises of ownership of the land upon which they were tenant farmers or squatters if they got out of the way of the armies trying to destroy the new and fledgling state of Israel. There are over one million Arabs living in Israel who are citizens of the country with all the rights of citizenship, including ownership of their homes and businesses. These were the people who did not leave the country in 1948 in the hopes of being given something for which they were not entitled.A real historian would tell you that the land upon which Israel sits was part of the Ottoman Turk Empire, which was lost to Britain and France in World War I. At no time in recorded history was there every an independent “Arab Palestinian state.” The Partition Resolution in the U.N. came about because Britain and France determined that they no longer wanted to maintain control over the land which they won in World War I. They needed all of their resources to rebuild their own countries after World War II.In the future, Mr. Hopkins’ letters should be labeled as fairy tales and not history.Mikki FuternickVailVail, Colorado