by Toti Carlotta
It was an early Sunday morning, April 29, at a nearby hotel to the airport that I excitedly got ready for my first trip to Davao City. The previous day, a Sabbath, I excused myself from our regular Spokesman & Graduate Club meeting scheduled after sunset. I was sick and not too well prior to that Sabbath and I needed to get additional rest so I checked in to the hotel that Saturday evening. I thanked God for answering my prayers to be well and fit for the trip that day. Looking back to a few months earlier, I remember being so thrilled to finally get accepted as a staff member for the 2014 United Youth Camp.
It was going to be a long hot day! I got to the airport at 9 a.m. and noticed the long lines of passengers at the air terminal. Inside there were passengers everywhere waiting and queuing for their flights. Nothing would dampen my spirit, I said to myself. Having been sick, the crowds at the air terminal and the long delay seemed a small price to pay for having the opportunity to serve at camp. Little did I realize that what was to follow was one delay after another till I was to finally be in the air at 5 p.m.
6:45 p.m. Davao, finally!
I determined to be ready for any task other than the swimming activity which I was to conduct. So I volunteered and generally served as dishwasher. Loved every minute being around the kitchen staff doing my part in assisting them with the needs of the kitchen, especially in the sampling of food.
One very important characteristic of the camp was that we were functioning as a large family with everyone doing their part (emphasis mine). The theme was “Your Time Is Now!”. It was a lesson to making each moment count and I remember the book of John 21:15-17 (mentioned in one of the Christian Living Classes). It was the reason that we the older youth were there, to tend to the “lambs”, our youth. Not only for the physical lessons that they were to learn and experience but more importantly the spiritual lessons that they would carry with them in life. A big responsibility that we counselors and staffers alike had to teach by our attitude and behavior because it also was “Our Time.”
I also accepted the tasks of conducting the automotive and rifle-shooting workshops. It was also a privilege to help the mini-campers with their swimming. My goal was to make everyone participating in the activities have fun and enjoy learning some new things. The joy that comes from seeing each of their faces aglow with a degree of accomplishment is something that can’t be measured. It surprised me that I was drawing energy from their enthusiasm and the genuine love that everyone expressed for one another. Being a bit older than the older youth, I found myself with the same enthusiasm to get up early in the morning to get to do my kitchen duties, teaching, sharing,serving, learning, forming and establishing new friendships towards the day we had to break camp. Time prevents me from wanting to say more about my first UYC experience, my many new friends,the laughter, the lessons, the time spent with each other, a kaleidoscope of experiences.
So it is that as I write this article and bring it to a close, it was indeed a “wonderful experience at the United Youth Camp 2014”. I remember the faces, the names, the experience and the time I was given privilege to participate in. I wanted to mention a few of my camp family but then I would be hard pressed not to mention everyone who participated as a body of one family. I look forward to the next UYC and God willing, to once again be given the privilege to serve.
God speed that day when the world will be a wonderful camp filled with youth!