As I boarded the bus with an over-packed duffel bag and a bursting-at-the seams backpack, I was incredibly excited for WYA’s International Summer Camp. Even though I attended the camp last summer, I knew that this year would be different. There was going to be twenty campers – the largest amount WYA has had so far. But the reason why I was so eager to attend the ISC and go back to the WYA House was because I knew that I would meet the most incredible people. Everyone, all of the campers and counselors were so genuine and welcoming, whether they were from the Philippines, Croatia, England, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, Tunisia, the United States, or any other countries. Even with all of our different cultures, religions, personalities, and backgrounds we were all united by our values and beliefs. We all wanted to learn more about human dignity, and how we can protect and value it in our everyday lives.
WYA teaches and promotes remarkable ideas and values, and the ISC taught me how to use those ideas and apply them to my everyday life. I learned and discussed topics that I would have never had a chance to learn without WYA. My school never has, and I know never will, cover topics such as human dignity. However, that does not make the topics less important. The ISC provides an extraordinary experience to learn about values such as freedom, solidarity, and more that are incredibly important to living a good life. Throughout my education, I was never taught “how to live” especially how to enjoy life to the fullest, but at International Summer Camp, I was taught by the lessons as well as by example. Being able to see all of the counselors and campers being themselves, respecting each other’s dignity, as well as living to the fullest, I was able to do the same.
While watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at our movie night, this quote resonated with me: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” The amazing experiences that I had at the ISC helped me to “stop and look around” and just live the best life that I can! Whether we were going to Coney Island, touring the United Nations, or just listening to lectures, we were all really living.
I will never forget all of the incredible experiences that I had at the International Summer Camp. I loved sightseeing around New York City, kayaking in the Hudson, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, playing jeopardy with Brian/Ryan, watching the talent show, and just truly enjoying life. I especially loved spending time with everyone! From our late-night discussions, to playing mafia, to taking multiple selfies, to getting henna for the first time, I will cherish all of the memories that I made while at WYA’s 8th Annual International Summer Camp.
Written by a returning WYA International Summer Camper, Joanna Sowa from New Jersey, USA.