It was summer of 2009 and for the first time I had left my family for 16 days. As I approached the airport, I began to shed tears once again. Not knowing why, I began to question myself if it was because I was leaving my family for 16 days or was it because I have never received the chance to experience something this fascinating? Whatever the reason happened to be, it was one of the most amazing moments in my life. As I entered the airplane, I started to think about the amazing opportunities I would have at the camp, how much I would enjoy the activities, and how terrific my life would be after I return from the camp.
When I arrived at the camp, I was amazed at the number of well mannered Muslims I saw. Staying with such courteous and well-educated people had truly allowed me to become a whole new person, mentally, physically and spiritually. I met people with various ethnic backgrounds which allowed me to learn about their astonishing culture. The camp was not only about meeting new people, it was about how to bring unity amongst diverse cultures and how to be able to assist one another with proper respect. The fundamental values of the camp were based on respect and modesty.
There was a Mosque in the camp that the diverse groups of Muslims would gather up in and pray together. We would be served a healthy breakfast, followed by an interesting Islamic lecture which would apply the vital Islamic roles to our daily lives. The lectures would also focus on how we can better help ourselves before pointing our finger at others. The amount of knowledge that I gained from these lectures was outstanding. After the lectures, we would have multi-topic workshops. Before attending a workshop, we had the option of choosing between various topics. Some of these topics included: Islamic History, General Islamic Discussions, reciting Quran and learning how to read Arabic. My Arabic recitation had increased greatly, which allowed me to enter a Quran Recitation competition. I never had the courage to present or recite anything in front of others, but this camp taught me more courage and strength.
After all the educational activities, we would perform congregational prayer, eat lunch, and start with the physical activities. There were many options between different field sports and rock wall climbing, canoeing, zip lining, and swimming. Once we were done enjoying the physical activities, it was time to clean up as a group and shower. Once we had finished cleaning up and showering, it was time for dinner and night prayer. Subsequent to prayer, we would have a bond fire near the lake. We discussed various topics relating to the world and talked about other experiences that could influence others.
I could not believe how much one event could change my life. I had achieved so much from such a pleasurable camp. This camp allowed me to become a whole new person, someone who I have always wanted to be. I was so blessed to be able to improve mentally, physically, and spiritually from this camp. I am grateful that I had taken the advantage of this opportunity. I learned the meaning of life as it taught me how to be an effective citizen through helping others, being a respectful sister towards my brothers and sisters, and most importantly it has taught me how to abide by my parents rules and understand that their decisions are mainly for my benefit. I feel much more spiritual and lively and feel that the purpose to my life has been with me all along but I was unable to appreciate it.
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