A Youth Camp Diary

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In July 2011, two Irish Red Cross Youth Members traveled to Langenlois in Austria to take part in the 56th 'Study and Friendship Camp'. This year the camp topic was "WANTED: YOU(TH) - young people creating positive images by choice"

Below Ian and David tell us about their experience representing Irish Red Cross Youth in Austria.

A Youth Camp Diary as told by Irish Red Cross youth Members; Ian Quinn and David O’Callaghan

On the 11th of July, we set out to Dublin airport to fly to Vienna to meet up with the other participants from the camp. The plane took two and a half hours to get there but when we landed in Vienna airport we were greeted by some of the teamers and they introduced us to some of the others who had already landed before us.  A bus took us to the camp and we were given our rooms and told that we needed to go and get food and register and then there was some activities to do and to make friends with the other participants that were at camp already.

When other participants arrived we had to go out to the front and greet them with a Mexican wave and they had to go and get settled into their rooms and get food and go to the registration area. On the Tuesday we went to the Lord Mayor and had the official opening ceremony of the camp so we had to go dressed in our national costume which was nice.

We had a lot of different programmes during the day like when we woke up we had time to get ready and then it was breakfast and after breakfast it was games to wake us up but the weather was good. During the week we had things called the “S.I.G groups - special interest groups” these groups were run by the teamers to keep us interested and not bored during the day.  Some groups were like media and then there was “The Festival of Nations” framework and many more.

During the camp we also had talks about humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions and how you can’t kill prisoners of war - if they are caught and they have to be treated correctly and if they are ill they have to have access to hospital care.

One of the days we had a talk on rescue aid from a from a Red Cross aid worker who had been in countries which had been hit by disasters  - the aid workers go into the countries to help the people to give them food, water  and medical help were it is needed.

There were excursions during the camp, for example to Vienna and there was an outing to a former concentration camp but before we went to the museum we had Mr Feingold come in to talk with us about how he survived the concentration camps.

We had a festival of nations, in which each of the countries taking part in the camp has to do something to show what their country has to offer and to make it interesting.  Each country did something different. There were a few speeches from the VIPs at the night and it was very good.  

In the camp we learnt from the other participants that were there. Each night each country had to teach the camp what their country was famous for,  whether it was a dance, food, language, poetry, jokes each person from the delegation had to teach something about the country and then teach it to the other participants that evening and whoever was doing the cooking could only take four people in the kitchen.

At the end of the first week of camp we had a peace walk were we lit candles, held a speech at the camp and walkd through the town with our candles and when we got to the end we sat by the fire. We then stood around the fire and the purpose of the walk was to create peace among people in our society.

One of the activities we did when we were at camp was a two day work shop on poverty. It was quite interesting because it changed our views by the end of the two days on what poverty is. People learned what the millennium development goals are and when they have to be reached. They split us up into groups and then they gave us each a flip chat and told us what we have to do and then gave us instructions to make a country and its flag but the country had problems with flooding and we needed to fix it.

On the last days of the camp we had programs to reflect on the past two weeks we spent on the camp with each other and how it would have changed our lives forever and the friends we had made there. On the Sunday night we had a night where we sat on the floor and we had a candle and we said something about the person and we went over and light that person’s candle. There were a lot of tears because it was the last night together as a group because in the morning we all would be saying our goodbyes.

On the 25th of July all had to say goodbye to all our friends we had made it was a sad time because in the airport everyone was crying when people had to leave because they knew that they wouldn’t see that person for a long time.

For more information about Irish Red Cross Youth please contact youth@redcross.ie

Information about the camp