Summer, on its own I think, is the greatest festival. Except this year I knew it was going to be different.
I was selected for the World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) summer camp. I was excited indeed because this camp was going to be an international visit for me, coming from Nepal. It was a new adventure to experience new land and probably experience some leisure time away from my studies.
When May 28 arrived, I still vividly remember standing there at the Rosepoint Beach Resort, staring at some new faces from this new country. I remember starting my day at the registration table where they distributed our camp materials along with the Certified Training Program (CTP) Manual (399 pages thick!). I also remember the cool breeze from the sea and the blooming nature surrounding our lecture hall–this was actually the first thing that attracted me about the place, but yet there was more to be experienced.
The much-awaited camp started with introductions to new friends, until gradually the hellos became profound discussions on the CTP chapters during our small group breakout sessions. It was quite fun; in fact the thing I enjoyed most during discussions was the never ending back-and-forth questions of “WHY?” and the methods in which our facilitator explained those “whys” through interesting examples and ideas from history and events throughout the world. It was a fully-loaded yet fulfilling first day indeed.
After day 1, we would wake up bright and early at around six thirty in the morning to start our day with morning exercises led by a different group of campers and facilitators every day. This was then followed by lectures and group discussions and capped off with an interesting evening program. I have to say, some of the CTP lectures and activities were really philosophical, but I am thankful that I did not have that much difficulty understanding these ideas because I had mentors, lovingly called our “facis,” who were really devoted to helping us understand the lessons for the day.
Lectures, breakout sessions, and activities aside, the WYAAP summer camp was not just a program limited to creating fun, but it was also a program that contained and delivered life-changing lessons. I found myself becoming a different and better person due to the different ideas and reflections I have gained after attending the camp. I learned about human dignity; what it was and what it meant to have dignity. I also learned that this dignity is intrinsic, inviolable, and universal. I used to believe that population growth was the problem of the world and that people are “problems, ” but my view on this subject was significantly changed after realizing that every person has dignity. People are not problems, rather we are “problem solvers” and contributors in development. Every person has worth and every person should be viewed as subjects, not objects.
I believe that my perception on viewing the person has totally changed because I learned “how to see the things differently” and I learned “how to see again.”
Looking back now, I wonder how I completed those seven chapters within such a short period of time while enjoying each and every lecture and every moment reading the CTP manual. At the beginning, I was really confused with how I could spend six days in a foreign land filled with new faces, but at the last day of the camp I found myself wishing that it did not end so soon. I was overwhelmed by the support and love I received from 29 other campers and 12 facilitators. I found a family who shared amazing ideas and who were motivated to lead and promote human dignity. I really cannot easily put into words how amazing the experience was and I feel like this article will be quite insufficient in detailing what the camp means to me. What I can tell you is that this is no ordinary camp. This was more than a sunny summer vacation.
If you are reading this article, I hope for you to consider my warm suggestion to experience a different warmth in the next summertime by joining the next summer camp. Experience life-changing moments coupled with great fun and enjoyment. I am sure that you too will learn to enjoy life to the fullest and witness a positive change within yourself, just as I have.
Written by Anusharan Aryal
Alumnus, WYAAP Summer Camp 2018
Thoughts About Camp is a blog series written by WYA Certified Members and Summer Camp graduates from the Asia Pacific region. Each article contains a personal reflection from a WYAAP Summer Camp graduate about how their experiences from the camp helped shape their understanding of themselves and of the world around them.