Tips and Tricks from Cambodia

October 3, 2012

World Camp Participants' Reviews

First of all, I would like to apologize as I am going to start it half way. For those who are not familiar with  International Youth Fellowship and World Camp, please spend some quality time on Google or click on the words highlighted in blue: International Youth Fellowship

Before you decide whether to join World Camp 2012 which will be held at Institute of Technology of Cambodia this November 2012. It is important for you to read the reviews below. There are three sections. The first one is a column from New York Times, the second one is a review by my Thai friend and her experience with World Camp in Thailand, and the last one is my experience as a resigned volunteer. 

1. Here is an extract from New York Times: Traveling to Volunteer, Getting Sermons Instead

Key Summary:
  • Clearey wanted to join an "English Camp" in which the total cost was reasonable; 300USD for accommodation, transport, and others. 
  • He found himself sleeping in a room of 5 to 6 people, and was woken up at 5:30AM. They later told Clearey that the teaching is much different and larger agenda which centered on the religious theories of Ock Soo Park, a Korean preacher and founder of Good News Corps, the sponsor of the English Camp
  •  Associates gave supplementary “Mind Lectures” on biblical passages as interpreted by Mr. Park, who asserts that the human heart is lodged with “filth and evil.”
  • Security guards at the doors to the ballroom of the hotel, the Intercontinental in Dallas, discouraged anyone tempted to skip out. 
  • Volunteers who turned up late for 6 a.m. sessions of calisthenics and group massage were ordered to perform squat thrust exercises.Those who skipped sessions were tracked down by teachers and ordered to explain their absences.
“The whole concept of their theology was that your heart is evil and that you need to have an ‘open heart,’ ” 
“I was the victim of a scam,” Mr. Cleary said.
"" ____________________________________ ""
Mr. Park said that before going to Texas for training, the volunteers could have attended local workshops and learned about the religious dimension. Most people knew what would be involved, he said, and of those who went to Texas, only about 20 dropped out before going on to Mexico for the camp, which lasted for three days.
The program for World Camp 2012 in Cambodia as displayed includes Workshop, Lecture by Speaker, Cultural Performance, Concert, Short Course Training, Mini-marathon.

There is no way that I could find "Mind Lecture" in the agenda. Participants are not well informed with the workshop they are going to attend.  
2. Review by my Thai friend: Suwimon 

- Most of the activities is sitting in the hall, listening to "teacher" (he called himself that) talking about testament in Korean and have someone to interpret in Thai
- I think me myself is pretty open to listen and learn, but even that, it was so insane for me, you have to sit like 4 hours and eat and then sit and listen again for another 4 hours.
- In each group has trainer who will blame us when we fall asleep and can't even read a book
- In the evening, there's always a conversation in group, the trainer kind of convince us to change religion and if you seem stubborn, you will be pushed to be invisible
- I do like Christian, and the way they treat the others, they pray for the other is so nice and warm. I like to see them carefree because god loves them, but to accept and believe we have to do it by ourselves, not to be forced.
- My Christian friend doesn't like this org too, she said it maligns Christ
- You know in the states, people talk about Buddhism and meditation, they do practice in meditation camp too. The religion is supposed to be like that, people are supposed to be willing to, not be forced to
- I do believe Christ is a nice religion, it's warm and carefree but just this org spread it not appropriately at all
- Exercise at 6:00AM just like the program in the link above, I think it's pre-world camp

3. Review by Vuthy
- I was simply an opportunity seeker, so I would try any volunteer activities as I was available at that time. I did not know that IYF is something to do with cult, I only knew that it has something to do with building youth capacity and becoming leader. 
- There was the first workshop for volunteers who wish to become an organizer of the event, I attended and was very excited when they showed performances, but later got so much annoyed by the Mind Lecture. However, I decided to stay as it was a chance to volunteer, not to become a preacher. I believe that it's going to be okay as I am not easily convinced.
- I resigned after I heard that the third workshop for volunteers will be held at a beach and volunteers will have to spend a night or two over there. I was afraid that it would be similar to what happened to Clearey; thus, I quit by then. 

Enough explanation? Make your decision :)

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