Starting My WYA Journey

_MG_5220Back in 2012, one of my teachers encouraged me to join the first World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) Emerging Leaders Conference (ELC). I was only 14 years old then, so I really was not sure if that was something I could really join. But my moderator convinced me to give it a try because I had nothing to lose. She was right.

Before passing my application form, I meticulously viewed the WYA website and its work piqued my interest. Days passed and I received an unexpected, yet positive response from WYAAP congratulating me that I was chosen to be one of their delegates. I felt ecstatic as well as anxious for what will happen next. Likewise, my parents were delighted and gave me their consent to go.

The 1st WYAAP Emerging Leaders Conference was held on July 26 – 28, 2012 at Bayleaf Hotel, Manila, within the beautiful walled city of Intramuros. It gathered many promising youth leaders all around Asia Pacific, and most of them were college students and young professionals, and I, of course, was the youngest of them all.

Despite that fact, they helped me understand the topics and treated me just like we were in the same age bracket. I learned a lot from my co-delegates and it was really interesting to hear about each person’s different views.

This conference paved the way for me to be more actively involved in WYAAP. In the summer of 2014, I joined the WYAAP Summer Camp and then again joined the 3rd WYAAP ELC in Traders Hotel, Manila in October.

The second time around was quite different from my first. Taking into account that I was two years older, I was then able to understand the topics given to us without difficulty. I, too, was able to build strong networks from the different colleges in the Philippines and in Asia Pacific compared to the previous.

The Emerging Leaders Conference changed my outlook in life and enthused me to me a difference. Having intellectual conversations with the delegates, listening to the discussions and to the inspirational speakers widened my perspectives towards everything. This event pushed me to inspire others in doing more and being more to and for others. And that was where my WYA journey began.

Thank you World Youth Alliance. Looking forward for more unforgettable memories!

Written by Maria Katrina Flores, WYA Asia Pacific Track A Certified  member. Applications for the 4th WYAAP ELC are open until August 18, Tuesday.