Orientation Day is a  very busy day at GYV and the camp continues to buzz with excitement. The morning began with special introduction by President and Founder of GYV,  Mr. J.E. Rash.  He addressed participants and staff on the importance of recognizing, affirming and responding to universal human values: love, patience, tolerance, understanding, justice, compassion, joy, etc.  Mr. Rash stressed that these are values that people can identify with in some way, no matter where they come from or where they live.   Of course these values are expressed differently around the world, but they are universal…and this is what connects humanity. Mr. Rash also encouraged the group not to become discouraged in their efforts to create peace… or give up on their own personal dreams.

Mr. Rash’s presentation followed by some team building exercises and a classic GYV exercise: the values exercise. Participants were given a piece of paper with 18 universal human values and they had to number the values from most important to least important and give rationales for their choices. It made for a very interesting presentation and laid the foundation for great future discussions during the session.  What surprised almost everyone was that a participant listed the value peace as his least important value. Although this was hard to understand at first, it made sense if the participant is an Iraqi gentleman who has lived in a war zone his entire life and had not had the opportunity to experience peace and therefore could not really value it.  Enjoy the following brief video on the values exercise:


During the afternoon participants cooled off in the pool (swim checks by our lifeguards!), checked in with the camp nurse at the health house, and signed up for electives.  The electives being offered by our multi talented staff this session are: mask making,  volunteerism, improv (theater), voice (by world renown singer Charles Williams), basketball, and  belly dancing!

Tonight, participants enjoyed a classic GYV tradition: Folktale Night! With  a few props and less than 1 hour of rehearsal, participants acted out an international folktale for their  peers. Humor is an important part of the GYV experience. Tune in tomorrow for the Folktale Night video and a report on the first day of  Peace Building and  Community Health workshops!

Here are a few photos from Orientation Day.