On August 26, the banner for the second World Camp was raised in the heart of the world, New York. This World Camp will be held at the Mahanaim campus for five days (until August 30) and will have about 1,400 students participating from the Eastern U.S., Canada, and Jamaica.
On the night of the 27th, with all the participants gathered, the opening Ceremony began with a dance by the Righteous Stars and a Taekwondo performance by the Lincoln students. The variety of cultural performances prepared by the U.S. student volunteers such as the Latin dance “El Dorado” and the African dance “Tumaini” received an enthusiastic response from the multi-cultural students of the U.S. The audience was fascinated by the gentle beauty of Korean fan dance and added more excitement to the opening ceremony.
After the host declared the official opening of the World Camp, Jeffrey Reynolds, the Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) who also happens to be one of the 50 most influential people of Long Island, shared the welcoming remarks.
“Many students these days are enjoying the use of alcohol and drugs and crime rates are on the rise, however, the students at the World Camp are here to learn hope. Hope can change the world and I am so happy that you all are here.” – Welcoming Remarks by Jeffrey Reynolds, Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD).
Then there were congratulatory messages by Mr. Jae Gyung Kim, a member of the National Assembly who traveled to New York all the way from Korea, and Mr. Francis X. Becker Jr., a member of the Nassau County Legislative branch.
“I came here to give you all words of inspiration and encouragement, but on the contrary, I was the one given inspiration after seeing everyone. People of many different countries have gathered here each with different backgrounds, but I hope that you all may have one heart through the love of God. – Congratulatory message by Mr. Francis X. Becker Jr. Nassau Country Legislature.
The atmosphere of the opening ceremony reached its climax with entrance of the Gracias Choir. The choir’s beautiful songs and smiles were more than enough to open the hearts of the audience. At the end of every song, the student participants and VIPS gave generous standing ovations. The encore songs “New York, New York” and “God Bless America” filled the Mahanaim auditorium with the love for New York and the audience gave thunderous applauses.
The special message by Pastor Ock Soo Park included a greeting of thankfulness and happiness for this night in New York and a message about the importance of the flowing heart in human relationships. For example, when you are learning to swim it may feel scary and difficult at first because of the burden and fear of water, but once you overcome that burden you’ll experience the joy of swimming and swim as much as you want. Also, there are many people today living with closed hearts, but he emphasized to everyone the importance of opening one’s heart.
After the event, there was a reception with 40 VIP participants. Among them were 12 branch representatives of the New York Korean War Veterans Association; Dagoberto A. Torres Pena, the Consul General of El Salvador; Nancy Halliday, the dean of Hofstra University; Roderick Pearson, director of Suffolk County Youth; and more. These key figures from all walks of life and brightened the room with their presence.
Pastor Ock Soo Park talked about how the Good News Medical Corps began as he told the story of brother Douglas who had a crippled hand because he couldn’t receive a simple treatment and left his hand neglected for a long time. He requested that everyone works together with IYF with a heart to live for others. The VIP members who were already moved by the opening ceremony were all ears to Pastor Ock Soo Park’s message and were thankful to be invited.
There were so many participants this time that the fully-seated auditorium wasn’t enough so they had to use the gyms with the big screens installed. With all these participants we will watch with much anticipation as to what kind of events will unfold throughout this world camp