9 June 2011; ACADIA OF THE LANDS AND FORESTS:
In a much-anticipated announcement, officials of the fifth World Acadian Congress launched on Tuesday the first round of open applications for groups interested in hosting family reunions during the two-and-a-half week celebration coming in August 2014.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
2014 World Acadian Congress International President Emilien Nadeau, Maine Delegation President and Chair of the International Family Reunion Task Force Jason Parent and Executive Director Leo-Paul Charest take questions from the media at a press conference held at the Historic Acadian Cross Landing site in Madawaska on Tuesday.
Joining Nadeau in making the announcement were Léo-Paul Charest, executive director for the 2014 WAC, and Jason Parent, president of the Maine Delegation to the international organizing committee and chair of the family reunion task force. It is that group, comprised of representatives from Maine, New Brunswick, and Québec, that developed the parameters for family gatherings throughout Acadia of the Lands and Forests.
“The hosting of family reunions is a critical component to the World Acadian Congress. It is the lead draw for visitors from outside the region and around the world. Therefore it is key, both to the event programming and to the economic impact of the Congress in our collective region and respective communities,” said Parent. “The family reunion task force has developed a formula we strongly believe will help ensure that all areas have the opportunity to host such gatherings in 2014.”
Specifically, the first open round of applications for families, family associations, communities, and others interested in hosting reunions in 2014 began today and will continue through November 1, 2011. During the five month period the WAC staff, under the advisement of the family reunion committee, will work to bring together any competing applicants for the same last name to encourage collaboration and the submission of a single proposal.
At the end of the first round of the application period, the committee will come together to make their formal recommendations to the international organizing committee on the locations of family reunions based on proposals submitted. The organizing committee will announce the first venues they selected to host family reunions in early 2012 at the same time that they launch the second round of applications.
“We have a very ambitious goal,” said Charest. “In 2009, over 80 families hosted reunions during the Congress in the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick. Our goal is to have more than 100 such gatherings in Acadia of the Lands and Forests in 2014. Given our international region and the level of interest we have seen to date, I do not doubt that we can reach this goal.”
In addition to hosting reunions of families with traditional Acadian names from both within and outside the host region, the 2014 World Acadian Congress is welcoming applications from families of other lineage common in northern Maine, northwest New Brunswick, and southeast Quebec. Once organizers have successfully matched a family and community and provided all necessary information to Congress organizers, host family reunion organizing committees will receive $500 in seed money to begin planning their event.
Family reunions hosted during World Acadian Congresses are key to drawing the more than 50,000 participants that attend the event held every five years. Visitors travel to the host site from more than 40 countries around the world. The projected economic impact of the fifth World Acadian Congress in 2014 is upwards of $50 million.
Applications for parties interested in hosting a family reunion in Acadia of the Lands and Forests in 2014 are currently available on-line at the temporary website for the fifth World Acadian Congress at www.cma2014.org. Paper applications can be picked up in person in Maine at all Norstate Credit Union locations. In New Brunswick applications are being distributed through all branches of the Caisses Populaires Acadiennes. In Québec they are available through the municipal offices in each community in Témiscouata. Applications can also be obtained through the regional coordinators in Maine, New Brunswick, and Québec.
Informational sessions will be held in the coming days and weeks in all three regions. The meetings will detail the application process and provide the opportunity for interested individuals to ask questions about family reunions and the 2014 WAC. In Maine, the session will be held on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. (local time) at Norstate Credit Union in Madawaska. In New Brunswick, the meeting will be held on Thursday, June 9 at 7:00 p.m. local time at l’Édifice Maillet in St-Basile. The session in Québec will be held on Wednesday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. (local time) at the historic site of Fort Ingall in Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac.