A Thousand Miles, A Thousand Memories

DSCF0360I came thousands of miles away to the country of the Philippines to do an internship and to explore something new—perhaps a walk on the beach, or a dive into the sea. Different scenarios ran through my mind, but I didn’t actually expect to join World Youth Alliance (WYA) Asia Pacific’s Tenth Summer Camp.

The end of May marked five uniquely exhilarating days of my life.

We met early in the morning to head for Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Olongapo, Philippines. The three-hour long trip was a bit awkward and quiet, but it did begin our journey towards bonding.

The camp itself involved intensive activities planned meticulously throughout the day to be able to provide us with a balance between our study time and fun activities. We were divided into four groups named after the values promoted by WYA, namely Dignity, Solidarity, Freedom and Culture.DSCF0273

The people at camp, my co-campers and our facilitators, made it much easier to survive the week amidst a hectic schedule and work load. We were expected to read literature and philosophy, a 400-page book comprising of articles, chapters and declarations that define the beliefs of the World Youth Alliance, and answer the questions relating to the same. It is difficult to feel low when you see happy faces surrounding you. This was not difficult as I was surrounded by many Filipinos.

Kamusta! Grabe! Maganda! I learned a few more words, thanks to my co-campers.

As the camp progressed, we all learned to open up more and most importantly, to trust each other and work together. The Amazing Race was the ultimate challenge – physically, mentally, emotionally. The fellowship night was the perfect and subtle way to bid adieu to the people we had met, with a promise to see them again someday.

“Enter as Friends, Leave as Family.” The quote was posted on the wall by the stairs heading to our rooms. Indeed, we all entered this camp with no friends but we certainly left with bonds as strong as family.

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Written by Laksh Sharma, Summer Camp 2016 graduate from India, and current intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office.