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Published:August 2nd, 2006 18:33 EST
International Youth Summer Camp in UK

International Youth Summer Camp in UK

By Shakti Ghimire

The Third International Youth Summer School was organized by Summer School Ltd, and a non-profit initiative under the collaboration of the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action. The program was the cumulative effort of several other organizations: the British Council Wales, Save the Children UK and United World College of the Atlantic. The British Council was supporting participants of certain countries to attend the program. The Summer School was responsible for bringing together active young citizens from around the world to promote international understanding and co-operation, as well as to encourage further participation in community development projects. This project was held at Atlantic College in South Wales, UK from 10 to 17 July 2004.

Atlantic College is located in a wonderful and beautiful area of South Wales. There is a slope, on the right of which lies a jungle; and on the left, is a small hill on which people play and slide down. At the bottom of the slope lies the historic Atlantic Ocean. At the top, is a residential area. The classroom buildings are situated below that. As we go a step down, there is a garden and park, as well as a swimming pool and two big football grounds which lie at the bottom.

Two youth campaigners from Nepal, Mr. Subas Darnal and I, participated in the program. We were introduced to each other just two days before we left for the UK. I was really excited and at the same time worried, as this was my first trip to Europe. But my friend Subas was a great company, so l started to relax. Today I can say that the experience was fabulous.

I found out about the program from the Internet on a website called Taking It Global. The motto of the program was, “Young People Can Change the World”. Groups of young people from all around the world had been invited to the program: 300 participants from 40 different countries actually participated.

Youth discussed among themselves about current issues relevant to them. Their common goal was to make a contribution towards the social, environmental and developmental problems/issues that were faced by their communities, their country, or in a wider sense, the world. The program was built around skills & theme based workshops as well as group discussions; all of which led into practical group projects. All of the outcomes from the discussions were presented on the final day of the event.

Similarly, the program also served as a forum for youth to explore issues; to build new friendships and collaborations. The program wasn’t all work and no play; there were plenty of opportunities where we had lots of fun.

I really enjoyed the program as it helped me to explore my qualities and skills. I personally felt that the themes were eclectic, ranging from current issues, games, music, ICT and challenges, to international relations and networking. It helped me discover and strengthen my potential in areas I wasn’t aware of. The summer school was a fantastic cultural exchange among youth with the opportunity to work on ideas.

These kinds of events provide young people with the opportunity to build their skills and knowledge through activities that encourage active participation with the outside world. This leads to enhancing their understanding of global citizenship and the qualities of good leadership. It is of hope that these youth will be able to start putting their newly acquired skills into action and I wish them every success in the future.

We believe that community building is only possible when youth can contribute their valuable time, energy and expertise. Community reconstruction is only possible when the youth can organize a single forum, interact, network and partnership with each other. They should establish themselves as capable human powers of the nation, and should develop a community leader. The summer school was part of that, where young people worked for their local community and the organization acted as a platform from which to find resources and opportunities at a local as well as international level.

Principally, this program also aims towards providing an opportunity for young people from the UK and many other countries to share their ideas, views and experiences about improving their communities and working towards a better world.

Of course different minds have diverse objectives. In the workshop, I had observed the differences among youths. The youth of the developed countries mostly chose culture, movie making & photography and sport workshops; where as, the youth of the developing countries chose human rights, conflict and fundraising related workshops.

I had signed up for the 'fundraising workshop'. In the workshop, the organizer puts 20 pounds on the table as a cash prize for a person with a good proposal to spend the money the right way.

"I will implement this 20 pounds for organization of a capacity building project", one Indian participant expressed as her view. A Russian friend drew an image of an old woman and a plan. One of the African friends displayed some photographs that reflected a very serious livelihood of the people of Africa, pinching the organizer's heart, and he won the 20 pounds. Defiantly, I am still encouraged to attend fundraising workshops.

We had lots of things in common like age, a similar vision, the same thoughts, a similar daily schedule, comparable problems, identical dress, and the same attraction as well as influence for alternatives.

I really enjoyed the international night, where we danced with each other and experienced the British culture. An Open mike, culture program, fashion show and concert were the interesting parts.

It still clings in my memory; the Indian girls proposed to me a dance with them, but my friend with out asking me said no. Similarly, I missed the chance to performance in the cultural programme because I lost my national dress.

I was involved in different extra curriculum activities as an active participant. We were so crazy for football that we didn't stop the game even when it rained. I didn't know why my football team always won the game. The notable thing is that I was the representative from the country of Mt. Everest - the highest peak of the world, but had only taken wall climbing in summer school in the United Kingdom.

There was a board that stated the danger of swimming in the ocean. It meant that we could just touch and feel the ocean but could not swim in it. If we were eager to swim, we could swim in the college's indoor or outdoor swimming pool. The ocean’s beach was the place where I used to spend time, and when I remembered my friends and family.

Ocean, the partner who just listens, but does not speak; can touch but cannot give response. It flows in its waves without thinking of what is coming up. You know, I have spent lots of moments just looking at the waves. I saw a ship moving on its smooth motion; I knew it would be in water for many weeks on its trip. Just for a few days, while I was thinking about my work and home, life must have been developing as a journey.

We always don't like it when it rains. The weather was crazy; we could not tell when it was going to rain. Likewise, the college jungle was a lovely place for all the youth to sit and chat.

Those seven days developed like a year. On the second day, with a feeling of hesitation, I introduced myself to a girl during breakfast time and shared my interest in her; we had a meal with her that day. After lunch, we had time to browse the net. During that time, we used to fix the activities that we were going to do on that day.

We had played foot ball where she kicked my leg.

"Sorry", she said to me; not during the foot ball match, but in an email. That day, the evening musical program started where we enjoyed ourselves a lot. Ms. Hanna Balshakov, a tall, gorgeous, talkative girl, was with me throughout the program.

I still remember after finishing the musical program at 11.00 pm, we two walked towards the house in the moon-light night on the open sky. Under the open sky, we had stayed in a chair; looked at the ocean and talked about our future. Her face was totally white. I compared her face to the moon; the moon has freedom of motion, but she had stayed on the chair which was attached to the earth. That signified that she couldn't move freely and had a lot to do in her life. The moment was totally pleasing. The sound of the air striking the leaves produced the fragrance of pleasure in the moon-light night.

On the last day, it was time to return to London, but her and a few friends had made a plan to go to Scotland for the 3rd World Youth congress Pre Com meeting. I had also wished to go to Scotland, but the program was already fixed and I had to go some where else. We were not able to bear the separation. The departure had made both of us very sad. We had to take separate buses and finally depart. None of the others were in a happy mood. All of us will surely miss the joyous moments. I raised my hands to bid her good bye. I saw her bus drive into the horizon until I couldn't see it anymore.

I had submitted my 100 words for a summer school competition on the, “Best Idea to Change the World”, among 300 participants. My idea was considered the best so; I was rewarded 75 pounds from the British Council’s representative. Friends gave me suggestions to create an organization based on the winning idea; to touch each component of the earth and shake hands for collaboration. Just then, I had addressed the mass of people, which would work to implementation and open an international organization to deal with ICT, youth and Peace issues.

The organizers, Mr. Dayo and Ms. Lisa Belfon (Summer School Coordinators), are still in my memory. I had a surprise dinner with Michael, the Director of the center for Innovation and involuntary action (CIVA) in summer school; I had not forgotten to explain my strategy to organize an international youth camp in Nepal.

If there is any person who after attending this summer school, felt an impact on their life and work in international networking, leadership and organizational management, it’s me. I am sure after my participation in the summer school that I have developed all the skills I learned in the summer school. As a result, I am implementing all of the skills and qualities that I gained in my organization.

I appreciated the organizer who provided me with the phenomenal opportunity to talk with the world about the world; dance with them; play with them; swim, cry, laugh, and hug the world - all in 7 days!!! It seemed as thought the world was at my feet. Now I am a part of a global community.

I just have one thing left to say, I miss you all a lot: remembering all of you; my summer school friends, who are in my memory for ever. Those who live in the hearts of others, never fade away.