International Summer Camp Series

Each week, we will be publishing a blog post written by each of our International Summer Camp 2013 participants.  This is the first post of the new series!

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WYA International Summer Camp of the year 2013 – it has been great. I would even go so far as to say that it has been amazing, stupendous, phenomenal, and certainly unforgettable.

When my friend first told me about the camp (two days before the application deadline), I didn’t know what to think, really. It sounded fun, exciting and I thought that I should look into it. Needless to say, about a month later I arrived at the WYA house in the great city of New York, a bit apprehensive but bubbling with excitement as well. And now I find myself writing this paper, here at this incredible camp, lovin’ every moment, and not regretting my decision to come at all.

The talks have been very informative and helpful, and have thoroughly drawn me deeper into what it means to treat each and every human person with dignity. I believe that in the future I will be able to defend my values concerning human life more effectively, and that I will be able to provide good arguments based off of what I have learned from these talks.

The whole atmosphere of this camp is one of dignity – it is a unique and wonderful experience of being educated about human dignity, being treated with the utmost dignity, and learning how to treat others with dignity. Upon arrival, I was struck by the immediate camaraderie that developed between all the campers, as well as the counselors. And it’s not shallow or fake, but it is a genuine and healthy solidarity that I hope will last long after we go our separate ways. I suppose that although we may come from different countries, backgrounds, religions and lives, we all have that common fundamental belief in the value of the human person; We are all striving to live the principle of dignity, and are willing to help each other adhere to that truth.

And I think that’s the reason why we have such an incredibly insane amount of fun together. I mean, we’re all also naturally super delightful, cool, funny people anyway, but we know that we’re all so much more than that – that we are each unique, special, and of unfathomable value. Even when we’re planning a miserable and horrific “assassination by sock” attempt against another camper, it’s uncommonly sportsmanlike and everyone’s quick to forgive.  Everyone is surprisingly encouraging, for the most part enthusiastic and joyful, and I have especially noticed a deep sense of respect and acceptance from all the campers. It has been so beautiful to see how though we are different, we respect our differences in such a way that builds each other up, and never tears down. Everyone expresses an eagerness to learn about each other and no one feels persecuted or lonely because of being different. It is a rare environment that is hard to find in today’s world, and so I am very grateful for the experience, and for what it has done for me.

WYA International Summer Camp 2013 – I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

By Theresa Allen, a WYA North America member.