What is the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Pilgrimage for Youth?
This unique Educational Program was established by The Sovereign Grand Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1949 when the United Nations was just a four year old “toddler.” Annually the Pilgrimage brings together high school students from around the world to study and learn about the United Nations. For young adults interested in world affairs, international relations, economics and/or political sciences this is an opportunity of a lifetime to observe the United Nations in person while exchanging views on education, politics and religion. Students tour the United Nations building and listen to behind-the-scenes briefings conducted by specialized United Nations agencies and departments including Ambassadors, Minister Counselors and Country Representatives. Each student (delegate) will participate in in-depth discussions with other young people from around the world as well as make new and lifelong friends. In addition, students experience one of the greatest cities in the world: New York. Attending a Broadway play; St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and much more.
In the years since it was established, over 43,000 people have participated in the Pilgrimage. Growing in popularity, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Pilgrimage for Youth program has been garnering growing public attention in the United States, Canada and abroad.
When are tours conducted?
Tours are conducted during the summer and vary from six to twelve days in duration.
Which students are eligible?
Competition is open to all high school students 16 or 17 years of age with a minimum of one year of high school remaining. Applications are reviewed by the selection committee for evidence of leadership, character, concern for community welfare, interest in world affairs and general fitness. Each applicant is required to write an essay and may be required to also participate in a local speech contest.
A valid PASSPORT (not Passport Card) is required by the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Pilgrimage for Youth for EVERYONE participating in the program. It will be used at all border crossings and at airports.
- United States Citizens click on the following link for passport information: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
- Canadian Citizens can click on the following link for passport information: http://www.ppt.gc.ca/
- Citizens of other countries will need to check with their own government for passport information. In some cases visas may be required by government agencies
How much does it cost?
Expenses including transportation, meals, lodging, and sightseeing are paid by the sponsoring Odd Fellows and Rebekah lodges in your community, county, district, state or province, and donations by corporations and individuals. The tour fee paid by the sponsoring unit will be $1,600.00 for the 2017 tour.
The student must provide spending money for souvenirs, laundry, shopping, extra refreshments and some entertainment. Parents (or Legal Guardians) must give written permission for the student to attend the program and agree to pay for student's return trip when an accident, illness or misbehavior prevents further participation in the tour.
Who sponsors the students?
Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodges. The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Pilgrimage for Youth program is funded by fund-raising activities and donations of the many dedicated members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, along with corporate and individual donations. This non-profit fraternal organization has sponsored over 45,000 students since the program's inception in 1949!
After more than a half century, the members of Odd Fellows and Rebekah lodges continue to proudly inspire the young people of today to pursue global agendas that will enable them to help their communities relate to world affairs in the future.
Where does one apply?
Students should contact their local Odd Fellows or Rebekah lodge or school authorities for their application today! To find a sponsoring group you may also contact the Pilgrimage for a referral to your regional Pilgrimage Chairman.
Students or Delegate Sponsors may download an application here; however, Students must apply through their local sponsoring group and comply with their requirements. To find a sponsoring group you may also contact the Pilgrimage for a referral to your regional Pilgrimage Chairman. Click Here to download an application (MS Word Document). You may fill out the blanks before you print the document and then complete the other items.
Sponsoring groups must have all items to the Jurisdictional Charman in their area as required by the Chairman. There is a $50 (US) penalty for each document or payment which is not submitted to the Pilgrimage Headquarters by the deadline.
All Jurisdictional Chairmen must meet the following deadlines:
- January 15: Number of Delegates and 1/2 Delegate Fees which is non-refundable.
(Jurisdictions can indicate their preference for Tour dates when they make their January 15th deposit - NOT AFTER.)
- April 1: Final Payment and ALL Required Documentation (must be complete.)
Each Jurisdiction will set their own earlier deadlines for delegates in order to complete the selection process