“Ambassadors’ Families Welcomed at Annual Picnic,” Ensign, Feb. 1996, 77
Ambassadors and embassy officials from twenty-nine countries joined members of the Church at an annual Ambassadorial Picnic in Hume, Virginia.
This year’s picnic, which was held on the Marriott Ranch, had a western theme. Diplomats enjoyed a hay-wagon ride, viewed pioneer memorabilia, and attended a dramatic presentation, “The Westward Trek.” In addition, eight of Brigham Young University’s folk dancers performed and taught those in attendance line dancing and square dancing.
“This picnic is one small way we extend hospitality to ambassadors, their families, and their nations,” explained Beverly Campbell, director of the Church’s international affairs office. “We welcome them as we hope they will welcome missionaries and members of the Church who reside within their countries’ borders.”
Of the twenty-nine diplomats in attendance this year, fourteen were attending for the first time. “It is exciting to see how this one singular event can have such an impact on the Church’s relations with the international community,” said Buck McKeon, an LDS congressional representative and host from California.
Many diplomats thanked the hosts and commented on how they and their families enjoyed the picnic, an annual event for the last five years. “My children saw the invitation and knew right away what it was,” said Christian Hoppe, deputy ambassador of Denmark. “We knew we couldn’t miss it.”
Plans are already being made for next year’s activity. “This is our best day in America so far,” said Mrs. Birna Thorsteinsson from the Embassy of Iceland, who has been in the country six weeks. “We will definitely return again next year.” 9