The 2020 IYF Online World Camp: ‘Building unity, joining every heart throughout the world’

The International Youth Fellowship (IYF) over decades has planted hope in the hearts of the young people, and this year 2020, it has never been more important.

Millions of young people have come together to experience the first-ever IYF Online World Camp held simultaneously around the globe.In the Philippines,the virtual World Camp was held from July 26 to 29, 2020 with thousands of participants, mostly students, young leaders, and working youth who were filled with hope and happiness.

The highlight of the Camp was the powerful mind lectures of the keynote speaker and founder of IYF, Rev. Ock Soo Park, which are anchored on redemption and faith towards achieving true hope and happiness.He strongly emphasized that “the one who brings true change in our life is Jesus” and that “if you rest your heart to the Bible, you will have blessed and happy life… because God wrote the Bible and this is His Word…and God loves you”. The mind lecture series also challenged the young people to think deeply and differently and gain a strong and sound mindset.

The 2020 IYF Online World Camp

A number of prominent leaders from the government and private sector supported the Camp and commended the IYF for continuously promoting youth development amidst this COVID-19 pandemic. Theydelivered congratulatory messages and notable lectures to inspire and encourage the participants and viewers alike, as they struggle with feelings of isolation and hopelessness in this trying time of the pandemic.In their messages and lectures, they shared someimportant life insights and principles that IYF also inculcates to the young people through its programs like the World Camp.

VIP and Inspirational Speakers

The Office of Senator Pia S. Cayetano graced the event and she reminded the participants to “adapt and never be afraid to change because that is what the future is all about, change”. The current Mayor of Tagum City, Hon. Allan L. Rellon, in his lecture, upheld basic thoughts that the young people must practice in their lives and he emphasized that, “the most important is developing a sense of gratitude”. The Mayor of City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, Hon. Arthur B. Robes and the Governor of Bulacan, Hon. Daniel R. Fernando also shared inspiring messages for the participants and supported the IYF and its Camp.

The Department of Education (DepEd) also supported the Camp. The DepEd Secretary Leonor M. Briones, represented by Adolf P. Aguilar, an Assistant Schools Division Superintendent asserted the role of the youth as the hope of the country and encouraged them to be proactive members of the community both physically and digitally. Dr. Estela L. Cariño, the Regional Director of DepEd Region II, in her lecture, advised the participants, “Do not judge yourself because of failure” because God is always there to help us. Dr. Isabelita M. Borres, the Regional Director of DepEd Region IX and Dr. Orlando Manuel, the Schools Division Superintendent of DepEd Region IIalso greeted the participants and wished them active participation and productive output during the whole the Camp.

The president of the University of Southeastern Philippines, Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao encouraged the youth to continue “walking in path unthreaded,…walking with courage” until change circulates and to walk in rightheous leadership and servant leadership.

The Chairperson of the National Youth Commission, USec. Ryan R. Enriquez, in his speech, recognized the IYF’s significant role in the youth development and encouraged all in joining and working together in giving brighter and happier for this and next generation. Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief affirmed the role of the “youth as the catalyst of change and betterment of our society”. Gen. (Ret) Ricardo F. de Leon, the President of Philippine Public Safety College (PSSC) also shared his words of advice to the Filipino youth, the Camp participants and acclaimed the Camp organizer, the IYF.

The Chairman and CEO of GMA network, Atty. Felipe L. Gozonarticulated that this World Camp is a symbol of the theme, “The World Connected”. He explained to theyoung people that fostering connections is to have “effective leadership – the ability to respond to circumstance we are not prepared for – not just by reacting but by embracing it as a chance to learn and grow”. He also shared a touching story of connection in the African concept of “Ubuntu” and in the Philippines, “Kapwa”, which means “I am” because “we are”.Ms. Grace Lee, a successful entrepreneur enlightened the participants “to take heart and be courageous when facing the extraordinary that we are facing nowadays” and to reflect on what this pandemic is teaching us to know the true value of life.

Miss Universe 1999 First Runner-up, Ms. Miriam Quiambao shared to the participants and viewers her inspirational story of beauty and success. She left themgreat message, “God has plan for your life, a plan not to harm you but prosper you give you good future. God cares for you.”. Famous celebrity Bea Binene who had actual experience joining the same Camp few years ago in South Korea also added joy and excitement to the Camp,as she expressed hergreetings and words of congratulations

Moreover, foreign dignitaries and public figures were also present in the Camp. They delivered messages and words of encouragement and commendation to the IYF and participants. To name them, President Taneti Maamau of Kiribati; Vice President Slumber Tsogwane of Botswana; Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini of Eswatini; Deputy Prime Minister Sione Vuna Fa’ otusia of Tonga; Minister of Education Eligio Hernandez Perez of Puerto Rico; Minister of Social Welfare Paul V. Mavima of Zimbabwe; Minister of Ability Improvement Epiphane Bi Zoro of Ivory Coast; First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo of Ghana; and soccer player of Ivory Coast, Mr. Didier Drogba.

Camp Programs

Part of the activities of the Camp were world-class performances, academy classes, mind recreation, and world culture experience. The various performances from the Gracias Choir, Rio Montaña, Good News Corps (GNC) volunteers, and The Righteous Stars delighted the participants and viewers and gave peace in their hearts.

Academy classes where participants learned skills in calligraphy, self-defense, and Pilates were also held. Mind Recreation Course was given to inculcate to the participants how to unlock their characteristics and potentialsand to discover their true selves in order to gain happiness. Part of the course were different game challenges that participants enjoyed as they tried finding solutions to these. These are Zoom Out Perspectives, and Charades, and What will Happen Next?, which aimed to instill among the participants the right mindset to have happy life. The world culture experience including the GNC promotion advancedthe understanding of cultural diversity and kindled sense of volunteerism among the participants. Moreover, the participants were treated early Christmas presence with the showing of the world-acclaimed Christmas Cantata.
With all these activities and learnings from the Camp, as marked in the lyrics of IYF Song, IYF uplifted the participant’s challenging spirit and imparted to them true change and cohesion. As the song goes, “young people run in life’s race”, they have lots of challenges. But these can be conquered in “building unity” and “joining every heart throughout the world, filling every heart with joy and happiness.” This is what IYF is spearheading.

IYF is the Spring of Change.