Third International Youth Summer Camp in the UK, 2004
Summer School Ltd organised the Third International Youth Summer School, which is a non-profit initiative under the collaboration of the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action. The program was the cumulative effort of several other organisations: the British Council Wales, Save the Children UK and the United World College of the Atlantic.
The British Council supported participants from certain countries in attending the program. The Summer School was responsible for bringing together active young citizens worldwide to promote international understanding & cooperation & 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 beautiful area of South Wales. There is a slope; on the right lies a jungle, and on the left is a small hill where 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 step down, a garden, park, swimming pool, and two significant football grounds are 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 excited and, at the same time, worried, as this was my first trip to Europe. But my friend Subas was excellent company, so l started to relax. Today the experience was fabulous.
I found out about the program from the internet on a website called Taking It Global. The program’s motto was “Young People Can Change the World”. Groups of young people worldwide were invited to the program: 300 participants from 40 countries participated.
Youth discussed among themselves current issues relevant to them. Their common goal was to contribute to the social, environmental and developmental problems/issues that were faced by their communities, their country, or in a broader sense, the world. The program was built around skills & theme-based workshops and group discussions, all leading to practical group projects. The outcomes from the talks were presented on the event’s final day.
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 enjoyed the program as it helped me explore my qualities and skills.
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. In addition, the summer school was a fantastic cultural exchange among youth with the opportunity to work on ideas.
These events allow young people to build their skills and knowledge through activities encouraging active participation in the outside world. This leads to enhancing their understanding of global citizenship and the qualities of good leadership. Hopefully, these youth will be able to start putting their newly acquired skills into action, and I wish them every success in the future.
Community building is only possible when youth contribute their valuable time, energy and expertise. Community reconstruction is only possible when the child can organise a single forum, interact, network and partner with each other. They should establish themselves as capable human powers of the nation and should develop community leaders. The summer school was part of that, where young people worked for their local community. The organisation acted as a platform to find resources and opportunities at local and international levels.
Principally, this program also aims to provide 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 observed the differences among youths. The youth of the developed countries mainly chose culture, movie-making & photography and sports workshops.
In contrast, the child of the developing countries chose human rights, conflict and fundraising-related workshops. I had signed up for the ‘fundraising workshop’. In the workshop, the organiser puts 20 pounds on the table as a cash prize for a person with an excellent proposal to spend the money correctly. “I will implement this 20 pounds for the organisation of a capacity-building project”, one Indian participant expressed her view. A Russian friend drew an image of an older woman and a plan.
One of the African friends displayed some photographs that reflected the very serious livelihood of the people of Africa, pinching the organiser’s heart, and he won 20 pounds. Defiantly, I am still encouraged to fundraise in workshops. We had many things in common, like age, vision, thoughts, a similar daily schedule, problems, identical dress, the same attraction, and an influence for alternatives.
I enjoyed the international night, where we danced with each other and experienced British culture. The exciting parts were an open mic, culture program, fashion show and concert. It still clings in my memory; the Indian girls proposed to dance with them, but my friend, without asking me, said no. Similarly, I missed the chance to perform in the cultural programme because I lost my national dress.
I was involved in different extra curriculum activities as an active participant. For example, we were so crazy about football that we didn’t stop the game even when it rained. I was surprised to find out why my football team always won the game. Notably, I was the representative from the country of Mt. Everest – the highest peak in 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 we could touch and feel the sea but could not swim in it. However, 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 listens but does not speak, can touch but cannot give a 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 in its smooth motion; I knew it would be in the water for many weeks on its trip. For a few days, while thinking about my work and home, I thought 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 would rain. But, 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 we would do that day.
We played football where she kicked my leg. “Sorry”, she said to me, not during the football match, but in an email. The evening musical program started that day, and we immensely enjoyed ourselves. Ms Hanna Balshakov, a tall, gorgeous, talkative girl, was with me throughout the program.
After finishing the musical program at 11.00 pm, I still remember that we walked towards the house in the moonlight night on the open sky. Under the open sky, we stayed in a chair, looked at the ocean, and discussed our future. Her face was white. I compared her face to the moon; the moon has freedom of motion, but she had stayed on the chair attached to the earth. That signified that she couldn’t move freely and had much to do. Nevertheless, the moment was pleasing. The sound of the air striking the leaves produced the fragrance of pleasure in the moonlight night.
It was time to return to London on the last day, but she and a few friends had planned 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 elsewhere. 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 was in a happy mood. All of us will surely miss the joyous moment. I raised my hands to bid her goodbye. I saw her bus drive into the horizon until I couldn’t see it anymore.
I 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 by the British Council’s representative. Friends gave me suggestions to create an organisation based on the winning idea; to touch each component of the earth and shake hands for collaboration. I addressed the mass of people working to implement and open an international organisation to deal with ICT, youth and Peace issues.
The organisers, Mr Dayo and Ms Lisa Belfon (Summer School Coordinators), are still in my memory. I had a surprise dinner with Michael, the Centre for Innovation and involuntary action (CIVA) Director, in summer school; I still had to explain my strategy to organise 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 organisational management, it’s me. I am sure after summer school, I will have developed all the skills I learned. As a result, I am implementing all the skills and qualities I gained in my organisation.
I appreciated the organiser 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 though the world was at my feet. Now I am a part of a global community. I have one thing left: I miss you a lot: I remember all of you, my summer school friends, who are in my memory forever. Those who live in the hearts of others never fade away.