September 21, 2017  |  

Post-camp syndrome


That’s the saying guiding our 10 days of global gathering in Setubal, Portugal. 150 young YMCA & YWCA leaders from 49 countries around the world were gathered and united by the same vision – to empower young people!

But it’s not something we will just talked about for ten days and then forget.


It’s the vision that inspires all of us, and what we all strive to become. Agents of change.


This post is written a few days after the training finished.

Admitted, it might be written in a post-camp vacuum of tiredness and exhaustion.

But don’t get me wrong.

It’s also written with newfound hope and inspiration that this is our time.

Bringing youth together to meet, interact and share stories and experiences provided us with a solid foundation of new knowledge. Through sessions, workshops, and discussions we gained new insights, and learned new methods. And besides dirty clothes, our backpacks got filled with TONS of ideas and a new drive to continue our work for youth empowerment.

A lot of things happened during the ten days, but one experience I will always remember was our cultural night.

With 49 countries represented we were a mixed group of various cultural backgrounds. Coming from a culture with only little practice of traditions, it was stunning to see all the beautiful national dresses, exciting to learn songs and dances and, not to forget, great to taste all the mouthwatering food and drinks from every corner of the world.

Looking back at this amazing experience I want to say thanks to the staff and volunteers both at the World YMCA and at YMCA Setubal. They have all gone beyond what was expected of them to ensure we all had a great time.

Every day young people around the world is living a life of untold injustice.

When they attempt to seek a better future so many barriers restrict them.

To give them a voice is to empower them!

Now, more than ever, I am convinced that together we can tell the stories of injustice. Together we can give young people a voice.

Together we can be the change!

By Maria Hougaard Sørensen, Denmark

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