World Youth Alliance, WYAAP Summer Camp

By: Lui Gamboa

My summer camp experience with WYA was something that I really did not expect. The invitation to the join the camp literally came just 3 days before the camp itself. At first, I was having second thoughts about joining the camp – I was trying to imagine what this week-long activity would be like, especially since it required us to read an entire training manual. I eventually decided to join the camp, and with much convincing, got my parents to allow me to attend the camp as well. The day of the camp finally arrived, and sadly, it was raining really hard. I thought for a while if I made the right decision to join the camp, but that was something I still had to find out.

The first day of the summer camp was pretty much how I expected it to be. I got the chance to meet the different participants, and the pace of the day was really relaxed. The following days of the camp showed no sign of rain, but they were, on the other hand, more overwhelming because of all the work that had to be done. A lot of us were pressured to finish reading the assigned chapters for that day, and a lot of us even rushed our answers for each of the chapters, even staying up late and/or waking up early just to finish everything. It even came to the point when we would suddenly space out during the plenary sessions, and wish we were by the beach instead. Although we did have free time throughout the week, we were still so concentrated on finishing our work, and on preparing for the dreaded accreditation.

To my surprise, however, even if the camp was quite heavy, I could say that it is something I would definitely want to be part of again. A lot of people might say that I was crazy for actually wanting to join a camp like this, when I could have just gone on a vacation and de-stress instead. I could say, however, that I really don’t regret my decision on joining the camp. I really learned a lot, not just about what WYA advocates, but more importantly, about myself and others. It was also a really insightful activity that gave me, as well as the other participants, a better understanding of human dignity and how this is concretely recognized. It challenged us to think critically, and it really did give us a fresh perspective and better understanding of dignity.

Personally, that camp was also a way of how we can learn and have fun at the same time. There were lots of games, story-telling, and jokes that surprisingly made a lot of connections to what we discussed throughout the week. The camp was moreover, a good opportunity for me to get to know other people from really different backgrounds. Apart from meeting new people, I think that the camp was also able to perfectly reflect the points that the facilitators tried to drive at – that despite the different backgrounds, ages, personalities, and interests of the participants, there will still always be something that brings us to together, and that is our human dignity.