“With God, we can make tomorrow a little better than today.”
On August 19th, 2013, IYF World Camp was in full swing. Students started the day with Gospel Class led by Pastor Eddie Pennoyer of the Good News L.A. Church. Although it was early in the morning, students were focused as the Gospel was explained.
After breakfast, IYF World Camp participants got their first taste of IYF Academy. 22 courses were made available through the support of businesses, professionals, and both local and national organizations. Students chose from Bodybuilding, Taekwondo, Nail Art, and Korean Cuisine, among others. Some of the most notable academies were BBQ, taught by renowned chef and host of “Barbecue America” Rick Browne and photography, taught by photographer and artist Todd Weinstein. IYF academies were packed and the halls of Mahanaim filled with sounds of laughter and learning.
Monday also marked the first in this year’s IYF Leadership Speaker Series. Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist and eco-entrepreneur, spoke to the students about having the heart to make a change in their lives and for those around them. “Many young people think, ‘the world is not going to change, so I shouldn’t bother doing anything.’ But when you start building models for change, you can build monuments for hope and possibility.” Ms. Carter then had a meeting with Pastor Ock Soo Park and left in high spirits with an open heart towards IYF.
The afternoon was spent at Sunken Meadow beach for a few hours of fun and swimming while staff and performers prepared for the kick-off IYF World Camp event: Opening Ceremony.
Tilles Center for the Performing Arts was packed by 7:00 pm when the curtain went up. In attendance were almost 2000 World Camp attendees, people from the community, and numerous dignitaries including Dr. Jeffery Reynolds, Chair of the Nassau County Youth Board and LICADD executive director, who attended as a Nassau County representative to welcome the youth and present IYF with an official proclamation from Nassau County. Other welcoming addresses were given by Tobias Harris, power forward of the Orlando Magic, Charles Munyao, Consul General of Kenya, Jean-Francis R. Zinsou, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Benin to the United Nations, and congressman Jaekyung Kim of South Korea.
IYF volunteers and Good News Corps volunteers performed cultural dances such as the Fan Dance from South Korea, “Tumasha” from South Africa, and the biggest hit of the night, “Memphis” from the U.S.A. Gracias Choir then graced the stage with solos from violinist Michelle Kim and cellist Dmitri Eremin, as well as several stages of Gracias Choir and Orchestra performances.
The evening was capped by a message of hope from IYF founder Pastor Ock Soo Park. Holding true to this year’s message of “Discover the Future You”, Pastor Park spoke to the participants about the future. “God gave all of us a ‘tomorrow.’ With God we can make tomorrow a little better than today,” but, “You need someone with whom you can share your heart. There is a way into another person, to touch the hearts of others and share your heart with them.”
Everyone is filled with anticipation for what the rest of the week has in store and we look forward to seeing how God will continually work through the IYF World Camp in New York.