Dear Seeds family,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today to tell you that our one and only Wil Smith—counselor, Color Games coach, Associate Camp Director, father, brother, friend, and so much more—passed away early this morning after a brave three year battle with cancer. He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family and loved ones. Even in his final days, Wil continued to share his inspirational soul and huge heart with those around him.
There are few words of comfort I can offer at this difficult time. Like you, I find it hard to imagine our Seeds family without Wil as our captain. But I am in awe of the countless lessons he has taught us all, the many lives he has influenced through his actions, values and love.
Together with Tim, I had the chance to visit Wil on Friday; I held his hand and, on behalf of all of you, I thanked him for giving so much to our Seeds community. I reminded him how many thousands of lives around the world were richer today because he was a part of them—that thousands of Seeds, counselors, Educators, facilitators and more have been deeply influenced and inspired by their time with him.
At line up every day Wil laughed with us, cheered with us, celebrated birthdays and beautiful Seeds of Peace days, kept us in line and taught us to see the humanity in those around us. At staff orientation each year, Wil set the tone for the summer by reminding us to trust the process, and about our arrows—to always keep our focus on our campers before ourselves. And on treasured golf cart rides, in the back of the Big Hall during evening activities or via email and Facebook, Wil’s open arms embraced and encouraged all of us in our difficult moments.
He reminded us all—through his own courageous actions and his thoughtful words—what was truly important in life, and inspired us to be better people, to care for those around us and to believe in ourselves.
What is most remarkable is that Wil modeled all of this for us in his own actions and choices—his commitment to his family, to education, to his community and to being a part of Seeds of Peace each summer. Nothing demonstrated this better than seeing how hard Wil fought to be at Camp these past three years, despite his own battle against cancer that he was fighting at the very same time. Wil fought his illness with remarkable courage and strength and, in turn, brought out courage and strength in all of us. He didn’t just teach us to be better people, he showed us how.
I know we could all fill pages and pages with stories about Wil—lessons you learned from him, laughs you shared, moments you will never forget. I want to make sure we do just that. Please join me in sharing these stories so that we can all remember Wil in the fullest of ways, and continue to be inspired by him.
Take some time in the days ahead and collect your thoughts—either in writing, via video or photos—and share them with us at www.seedsofpeace.org/?page_id=21523. We will be collecting them and posting them so that we can all remember and celebrate Wil together, and so that we can forever give his family a window into the impact Wil has had on our Seeds of Peace community around the world.
Please keep Wil’s daughter Olivia, his fiancée Maha and her son Nimer—all members of our Seeds family as well—along with his brothers and sisters, in your thoughts and prayers as they strive to comprehend this huge loss. We will share details in the weeks ahead on other ways in which we can support them during this difficult time, as well as plans for a memorial service that will take place at Camp this summer.
The world has lost one amazing human being today.
Thank you, Wil, for the countless gifts you have given us all and for reminding us to “Do whatever you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are." In your honor, we will do just that.
Hug each other a little tighter today, and think of Wil’s huge smile and enormous heart.
With love and sadness,
Leslie Adelson Levy
Seeds of Peace International Camp