In this photo we sit above the Swedish water on a sunny day and with me are my best friends by my side. Whenever I look at this picture, I still have this feeling of being a part of a community, a part of second family and a warmth of belonging somewhere.
Do you know the ‘butterfly effect’?
If I didn’t decide to go to the Summercamp in Norway, 2017, I wouldn’t have met my Polish hard of hearing friends. If I didn’t meet them, I wouldn’t have had the courage to apply for the next Summercamp, which took place in The Netherlands, 2018.
If I didn’t go to The Netherlands, I wouldn’t have made my first international friendship.
If I didn’t develop friendships with people whom I’ve met on the Summercamp journey, I would never have gone to Stockholm to visit them following the camp.
If I didn’t go to Stockholm and see one starry night with my friend, I would never have imagined to like another country more than my motherland.
If my vision of the world was like before, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to apply for the Erasmus+ student exchange program in Sweden and move outside of my comfort zone.
If I didn’t decide to go to my first Summercamp, this photo would never have happened.
For me, there was a moment of doubt before making a final decision, but the result of one single step is amazing; it caused an avalanche of completely unexpected adventures.
Thank you for sharing your experience Maria!
How has a decade gone by? It still feels like yesterday that we took off from Vancouver for Fiesch, Switzerland in 2010.
We came home with 40 new friends! To this day, we still talk about the experience – SO MUCH hiking, beer and volleyball played. Most of all, we valued the friendships made. We laughed, cried and most importantly understood.
Culturally speaking, we learned so much about the differences in being #HardofHearing in Europe, Asia and even Africa. It was a wonderful learning opportunity to be able to bring back this newfound knowledge.
We value the longstanding friendships from the Summercamp. Many of us finished university together, got married and now navigating through parenthood. We have people who we can relate to.
We encourage those attending Summercamp 2020 to be prepared to meet people that are going to be a part of your life - to be vulnerable and have emotions and for the best time of your life.
Thank you for sharing Monique and Curtis Les!
While for others it might have just been a week full of fun and activities, for me it was nothing less than a turning point in my life. This sounds very dramatic, but it is true.
Before, was convinced I was the only young person in this world having to deal with hearing loss. I never met someone else like me – neither in school nor in university. During Summercamp 2018, I suddenly dived into a whole new world. Not only did I get to know >70 persons with the same challenges, but I also learned so much about my disability. I learned to understand it better, to stand in for my needs in an overwhelming hearing world and to accept it.
But most important of all, I learned that being #HardofHearing has a clear advantage: It allows you to join a community of hundreds of amazing young people across the whole world. What a bliss!
Thank you for sharing your experience Leonie!