Every year, World Youth Alliance brings dynamic young people (ranging from ages 13-18) from all over the world together at the International Summer Camp (ISC) for a fun-filled summer experience. Campers will have the opportunity to participate in a one-week program that will enable them to learn about the dignity of the human person and its impact in bringing positive change to their own communities. They will also have the chance to engage in talks and activities that will help them recognize and understand who the human person is amidst a fast-changing world.
Read on to find out what our ISC alumni has to say about their own experiences and why the ISC should definitely be part of your summer bucket list!
Monica Sowa, 2014 International Summer Camper
“Human dignity was never a subject taught or explained in school. The summer camp did a great job in explaining what exactly “human dignity” is and in explaining what we can do to ensure that it is respected,” shares Monica when asked about how the ISC has helped her. Aside from the discussions, Monica also mentions how her favorite summer camp memory was when the staff, interns, and campers all came together to dance the night away by learning different dances from around the world. “This dance night was one of the many ways you could see the internationality of WYA and of the ISC. It was a great way to learn about the cultures of the different campers and a fun way to end the camp.”
Monica shares that the ISC was her first real exposure to WYA and its mission. She was so inspired by the mission, along with the brilliant and determined people behind it, that she took her involvement with WYA further through regularly attending the Emerging Leaders Conferences, completing an internship and starting a WYA chapter at her university. “You are never too young to make a difference. All change starts out small, the most important thing is to be persistent, respectful, and determined.”
Alex Agana, 2016 Asia Pacific Summer Camper and International Summer Camper
“The topic of “human dignity” seems to be heavy and hard to comprehend all at once when discussed but the summer camp made me realize how simple the concept is: to love and be kind to one another. Easier said than done but more powerful than it seems,” Alex responds when asked about her experiences in joining the Asia Pacific and International Summer Camp last year. She looks back at these fondly as she mentions how she appreciated the excursions and the tours around New York City during the camp. “That was where the lessons we learned inside the room about human dignity could be put into action. We toured around New York City, had small engagements with different types of people, learned different cultures and acknowledged the beauty of nature. Lessons can’t just be taught and learned between four walls. It has to be put into action in the real world as well.”
True enough, Alex learned how big of an impact kindness and respect can make even through small actions that she now plans to open a WYA club in her school. Drawing from her WYA encounter in the summer camp, she shares this message of affirmation, “You are valuable and important. You are worth every smile, pain, adventure, love, power- you are worth it. You have the power to make a difference but it all starts with yourself- believe that you are worth it.”
Ryan Hodge, Consistent International Summer Camp Camper and Counselor
“The International Summer Camp is a wonderful opportunity to make friends from all over the world. Learning about important concepts, like Human Dignity, at a young age allows people to grow up with a healthy worldview that doesn’t just revolve around themselves. There’s always a lot of fun activities happening during camp that definitely provide plenty of laughs and lifelong memories,” shares Ryan when asked about the summer camp’s impact on him. A veteran WYA camper, Ryan has attended four WYA summer camps in total. “During my first and second camp, I was only in 5th and 6th grade and was the youngest one but being introduced to the idea of human dignity at such a young age helped shape the person I am today, and taught me how I should treat others.” He also expressed how valuable it was to be able to learn about different cultures in the process. “Without the WYA camp, I would have never had the chance to make friends from Egypt or the Philippines. My Egyptian friends completely changed my perspective about the issues in the middle east and taught me to see the situation from their eyes.”
Coming back as a counselor for the past two camps, Ryan continues to enjoy the experience with a pair of fresh eyes. “Last summer I was invited back to be a counselor at the most recent camp. This was by far the largest amount of kids I’ve seen in attendance as well as the most diverse. I had a lot of fun during this camp because I was finally able to teach kids the valuable message I learned in previous years. These kids had little to no experience with WYA and seeing them learn so quickly and with so much enthusiasm was inspiring.”
On July 8-15, over 21 campers attended the ISC representing a whopping number of nine nations: USA, Canada, Mexico, Nepal, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Lithuania, Lebanon, the Philippines, and Vietnam. For the first time, the camp was held in New Hampshire at a college campus situated in a forest which definitely enhanced the ultimate summer experience. Head on over to our Facebook and Instagram updates to check out their adventures.
We also hope to see you next time as we host the next ISC on July 8-15, 2018. Applications are now open for the 2018 ISC. Click here for more details on how to apply!