Coming Together at Gothenburg

Come Together Step Up Gothenburg 2014
By: Isabel Farrarons

I don’t even know where to begin to try and explain the three most amazing weeks in Step Up camp. Attempting to convey what the camp means to me in a few sentences is going to be hard but I’ll try anyway:

We always get to hear people talking about life-changing experiences that help us mould who we are and I think it is probably safe to say that I just had mine—in Sweden. The Step Up camp gave me and my kids (and everyone else!) a whole new global perspective, lifelong bonds, values and learning that will forever be etched within us. During those three magical weeks, I have seen each child change and grow substantially into a better person—one enriched with an open mind, empathy and so much more. They each gained a whole new standpoint on how they saw the world, their daily life and how alike we all are.

The camp is jam-packed with many unique activities that promote cross cultural learning, understanding and development. So it’s not just all about fun but activities with purpose. My favourite and most emotional memory during the camp was when my kids had to present their national activity. A national activity is when each delegation had to run an activity that represented a pressing issue in their country. My kids came up with two wonderful activities and their “Bangon” one brought everyone to tears. We were even commended by a few for making the camp closer and deeper. The goal was to try and bring each other up at the same time while squatting on the floor, arms interlocked and yes, very close to each other. It sounds pretty easy but it took the whole camp such a long time to accomplish the task. They went on to explain how this relates to the Typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines and how we all had to try and help each other rise again. We showed a video about its effects and how CISV came together to help their brothers and sisters in need. I knew that my kids achieved their goal for the activity because they were quickly moved by it and had a picture on what it’s like to be in our country.

It’s amazing also that how a group of strangers (who don’t speak the same language) come together, live in the same roof, eat the same food, do different activities together, sleep together and end up being one unique family. That is what we have all become—one giant big family from different continents. It makes my heart smile every time I think about it. I would do anything for all my CISV family and I know that they would do the same for me. I am so thankful for the whole experience and I can’t thank CISV enough for giving me a crash course on parenting, help me to become a better person, allowing me to help mould the kids into being catalysts of change and to promote world peace.

Follow this link for a video I put together that sums up my Step up Camp experience.