Summer Camp Series: Ahmed Elian

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I can certainly say with no hesitation that camp has changed me, for the better obviously. As a kid, I always thought that having a solid, non-changing personality is best. But lately, I’ve been thinking of myself as a blob of clay that still needs to be shaped. I try to embrace change as long as it’s for the better. Here at camp, we have these semi-daily talks about dignity, freedom, general justice and how the human person should be treated. One talk in particular interested me a lot. It had a quote by Pearl S. Buck about humans who constantly need to create, and that being deprived from creating cuts off one’s breath. I absolutely loved that.

As a result of that talk, I’m going to go back to Egypt and work hard on music. Ill put more time into it because Pearl was right. I am happiest when I create music. The feeling is indescribable. Also, I’m going to work on respecting everyone. I wasn’t too good with that before. If a person liked music that I thought was silly, I’d avoid them. I’m definitely going to try to respect everyone’s opinions regardless of what they are. I’ll also work on creating subject-subject relationships rather than misusing others for my own selfish benefit. Every single talk has affected my thought process in some way or other. Interacting with all the campers here has also shaped my way of thinking too, for the better. Campers here are extremely nice and welcoming. Hopefully I can stay in touch with the friends I’ve made here after leaving camp. I really am thankful that I made the decision to attend WYA camp!

I’ve been introduced to new culture here at WYA.  Ryan, for example, listens to music that I’ve never heard of, and loves to play golf. Golf is absolutely nonexistent in Egypt. Being introduced to campers from Denmark, different parts of the U.S., and Mexico has certainly “enlightened” me. When one gets to know how others are raised in different parts of the world, and gets to see their thought process hands on, one breaks out of the cultural bubble one was previously in. One being me, in this case. Xiomara told me about church and what goes on at church. I’m so used toFriday prayer in Egypt, so it was interesting to see people going to church on Sunday here. This is what I love about WYA. This exposure to different types of people helps one to develop themselves mentally. After meeting Caitlin, for example, I’m definitely going to work on being a nicer person. You can’t meet such a nice person without wanting to be as nice yourself.  She sees value and worth in others, which is also what WYA is about. Seeing worth in others will in turn help you to recognize your own self-worth. The one basic, most fundamental guideline I’ve learnt here was that all humans have dignity, worth, and value, which makes them all worthy, from the second they’re born until the day they die.

By Ahmed Elian, a WYA member and International Summer Camp Participant