On July 15, 2016, twenty-two smiling and eager young people arrived in New York City’s airports for WYA North America’s 9th annual summer camp. They arrived from the Middle East, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and North America. The camp directors, Julia Kenney and Carissa Tinley, as well as 2 junior counselors and 10 counselors greeted the campers with excitement. The counselors represented the Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and North America regions.
Everyone involved in the camp quickly formed deep bonds with each other; many campers said they felt like they had a new family.
“ISC is a worldwide family that you’ll never forget.” – Alexandra, Peru
“Everyone here is so strong, unique, and beautiful. The friends, scratch that the FAMILY I have met here will always be here for me, and I will always do the same for them.” –Maggie, USA
“The people here support each other like family. There is no greater connection than family, but this summer camp is the closest possible second I could possibly think of.” –Zach, USA
“I now have new brothers and sisters from every part of the world! ISC gave me a new family!” –Niki, El Salvador
Each morning, the campers came together in solidarity for the preservation of the dignity of the human person. Having learned about human dignity, freedom, human rights, solidarity, culture and advocacy through a series of presentations, the campers took away lessons that will help to empower them to make change in the future. The campers were also taught about fertility education and medical management with TeenFEMM and TeenMen discussions.
After the day’s presentations were over, the campers enjoyed touring around the “Big Apple.” Counselors led excursions to Times Square, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island Beach, Luna Amusement Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the United Nations Headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park.
The campers concluded the camp with a moving talent show, followed by heavy hearts when it was time to say goodbye to their new WYA family. On July 23, when the campers departed for their homes around the world, changed for the better, they left feeling educated and inspired to carry out WYA’s mission.
“My ISC experience changed my life, but it mostly changed my heart. It gave me a heart that will love and respect others despite diversities.” –Alex, Philippines