A Pleasant Surprise

052016 (1)In the summer of 2010, I had found myself packing my bags for the World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) Summer Camp. I remember being so nervous about the trip that I had spent many hours asking myself whether I was really up for it.

Are the other participants friendly? What do I do if I missed my family back in Leyte? What if the training was too hard? What if I didn’t know certain words? Should I bring a dictionary?

(I now giggle at how I had allowed myself to worry so much.)

Come the first day of Summer Camp, we were told to meet at the WYAAP house in Katipunan. From there, we loaded ourselves onto 2 vans that drove us to Binmaley, Pangasinan. I recall the van ride being fairly quiet as everyone was still kind of shy and possibly sleepy (Hello, 6AM call time!). Once we reached the resort, we were welcomed by the cheery greetings and big smiles of the facilitators. The camp facilitators were so friendly and positive that their energy had definitely rubbed on us too. We all started introducing ourselves and you could tell that inhibitions were starting to fade away.

For the next couple of days, we had busied ourselves with 400 pages of reading materials.

I’m not going to lie. That’s a lot to read and the reality is that there are a number of articles that are difficult and challenging to grasp. What will definitely be on your side is the patience and passion of the camp facilitators.

Every day, discussions and plenary sessions are held for the facilitators to discuss each article with the group. They also give activities that help bring in an author’s concept and idea for a deeper understanding. The 400 page module (or the Certified Training Program) discussed in less than six days did seem overwhelming, but there is sincere satisfaction in knowing that the words you’ve been reading slowly aid you in the fight for Human Dignity.

Meanwhile, when we weren’t busy reading or answering homework questions, we were having FUN. Every WYA member knows that fun is an integral part of each WYA activity.

Summer Camp 2010 did not disappoint! Each day there were games to win, finish lines to cross, songs to dance to, and memories to make. All the activities had really helped foster special bonds between the campers. It was an experience like no other – a wonderful balance of work and play.

It has been many years since then. Each camper busy with different endeavors, and yet, our fondness for one another still remain. The memories we made and the lessons we learned at the beautiful shores of Pangasinan remain near and dear to our hearts.

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Written by Margaret Alexie De Leon, an AP Summer Camp graduate and an active WYA member from Leyte, Philippines. The WYAAP Summer Camp is happening next week! Make sure to follow us on social media to be updated on what’s happening.