Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Feb. 18, 2002

Amber Uecker sets sights 'down under'

By Lynda Jensen

The land down under is where Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Junior Amber Uecker, 17, is setting her sights for a three-week trip this summer.

Uecker is the daughter of Gail and Arvid of Howard Lake.

The trip, through the People to People Student Ambassador program, will send Uecker as a representative andthe South Pacific, including New Zealand, Europe, and Asia. She will join 28 other students, many from Minnesota, for the program.

Amber was nominated to attend the program by a Howard Lake resident, and attended an informational meeting with her mother to gather details.

Uecker will be travelling to the opposite side of the world ­ where even the stars at night are completely different, Amber Uecker said.

Her trip will include the usual tourist attractions, although it also includes home stays with Australian families that will give her one-to-one contact with everyday life, Gail said.

This is the second airplane trip she will make. Her first trip was flying with her mother to California in fourth grade, Amber said.

She is worried a only a bit about terrorism, Amber said; although she discussed the subject with her folks and decided to go nevertheless.

Her departure will be the second or third week in June, she said.

This is technically winter time for the Australians, where the temperatures dip to 60 degrees, Amber said.

She has always been interested in visiting these countries, she said.

Trying to raise the $$

To make the trip, Uecker is trying to raise $5,000 toward her expenses.

The trip will count for credits toward both high school and college, Amber said.

Prior to her journey, Amber will be studying about the South Pacific, including history, local customs, and geography.

All this, and she plans to keep her grades up of course, her mother said.

Currently, she works as a cook at the Hollywood Ranch House. She also works at the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center.

She plans to pursue a career in elementary teaching, Amber said.

A total of 1,800 American students will participate in the program in the summer of 2002.

The People to People program was first established under President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. Eisenhower believed that the interaction between people of different countries and cultures was the key to building global understanding and world peace, said Amber's mother, Gail Uecker.

Since 1956, 100,000 young Americans have experienced 35 countries through this program, Gail said.

For those interest in learning more about the People to People program, contact the web site

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