Being a facilitator at the GYC is an incredibly fun and challenging role, one that takes a lot of courage and determination.
For most of the facilitators, they have travelled internationally to volunteer their summer to helping other people have a truly global experience. Like many of our participants, Japanese is not always the facilitators’ first language, so learning to live in Japan has been an exciting experience which they’ve been thriving at.
In preparation for the GYC, the facilitators have been doing many hours of research, learning about each other’s culture, and planning fun activities for everyone to participate in. The effort they put into all the activities, and the support they show to each other, helps to make the GYC the success it is.
Mickey Lin, 23, is from Taiwan and one of 11 GYC facilitators in 2018. While she’s participated in YMCA camps back home, this is her first trip to Japan with the YMCA, after her friend - a past participant - recommended the Global Youth Conference.
Each year, the topics being discussed at the GYC are chosen specifically due to their relevance to young people, and their global nature. This year’s topic of mental health in young people is of special relevance to Mickey. At her local church, Mickey has dealt with many children and young adults who are struggling with their mental health.
“At my church, I’m a leader trying to help children who have some kind of difficulty with family and friends. I’ve been involved in these issues for a long time… I think in Japan particularly, it is much more stressful for students. They need to find a way to speak about [mental health], so I think it’s really good for them to do this camp.”
Mental health is a taboo topic in many cultures, despite being a global issue for youth. At the GYC,
participants will be able to safely discuss how different countries and cultures are dealing with mental health in youth, and work together to find an united course of action to improve mental health worldwide.
“In the future, our generation will become the leaders of this world. I think it’s so important to know about what’s going on in this world, so we can conquer future difficulties.
With over 15 countries being represented at this year’s GYC, the mix of languages and cultural understanding is going to make the workshops an exciting experience.
While working overseas and running workshops in English (which isn’t even her first language) is challenging enough, Micky is not worried about any language barriers.
“For me, I’m a little bit introverted, so I know it’s a little difficult for people who are not that open to sharing their experiences at the beginning. I think everybody has something difficult to say, difficult to share, and I’m just afraid of everyone not willing to talk about their own stories.
“It will be helpful to do some icebreakers. The activities are planned so well - so meaningful. I think it makes everyone more connected.”
In this age, in order to solve issues that are caused by mental illness and artificial intelligence, we need to work together globally. While learning about each other’s culture and international events is easier now than ever with the internet, the internet is also helping people stay isolated.
“Right now, the internet is so fast, information is everywhere, and people start to only choose what they want to see. Not many people are willing to talk about politics or think about global issues… they’re trying to avoid it. It’s our mission to talk about it and to make this world better.”
Mickey is setting her eyes on the future, and is working to help as many people internationally as she can. During the GYC, she hopes to help people learn more about themselves, and society.
“It’s also important for them to have fun with different people and their cultures!”
The GYC will be held on the 6th – 10th of August, 2018