Written by Nina Urbonya
Over 1,200 youth are returning home and starting a new school year after the successful conclusion of the 21-day “Global Top Gun Youth” (GTGY) workshop. Mother Moon created this opportunity so young people could develop their own faith, identity, and appreciation of where they come from. The workshop theme was “Become the Light of the World Through a Filial Heart Towards True Parents.”
The 1,200 youth (from middle school, high school, and college/CARP) from 63 nations gathered in South Korea for 21 hot summer days together filled with laughter and tears, breakdowns and breakthroughs, international friendships, and most of all, an unforgettable experience.
We created an incredible spirit together, like family. One role in the family is the eldest child, a position which, in Eastern culture, is marked by the special tradition of filial piety. This role encompasses a respect and reverence towards one’s parents and compassionate attitude toward one’s siblings. On a global scale, Father and Mother Moon have called America the “elder son nation” to recognize the responsibility America has to share its many blessings with the world.
In this way, America had a special role in supporting and organizing GTGY. When Mother Moon announced this workshop, CARP America was preparing for our upcoming ‘Global Momentum’ workshop which was scheduled to end the day before GTGY started. CARP America was invited to contribute to the international portion of the workshop in English and felt this was an opportunity to step up as the ‘elder son.’ Many staff joined daily 8 a.m. planning calls to prepare and contribute in three main areas: education, leadership development, and global networking. In this article, I’ll share a few of the experiences and insights that our team could contribute to the success of GTGY!
Education – A New Perspective on the Divine Principle
During the second week, we focused on deepening our understanding of the Divine Principle and applying it in practical ways. Based on the foundation of CARP America’s Global Momentum workshop with 120 participants hosted just days before, we applied much of the content and feedback and offered it to this global audience.
The main Divine Principle lecturer for college students was the CARP America President, Naokimi Ushiroda, who explained: “I was reflecting on the purpose of this workshop, and what I see as the main purpose is for everyone in this age group, the future leaders, to align their goals centered on God, True Parents, and the Divine Principle. True Mother wants to make sure the next generation of leadership is centered on the right thing.”
Naokimi’s interactive and practical lectures offered a new perspective on the Divine Principle (DP). The content was presented in a new way that many participants had never experienced before, leaving them surprised and energized. Each session focused on one section of the DP. The emphasis was on encouraging students to apply the content and deeply search for answers to everyday questions and issues.
“I am amazed by the way the DP has been broken down to everyday experiences. The methodology of teaching is very convenient as we come to understand how DP can help us, and thus we can find easy experiences to share with the people that don’t know DP. I understand that I cannot convince anybody to understand or study DP if I myself cannot understand it or see real examples of how it has helped me.” – Virgilio Leitao Muando, Mozambique
“Naokimi said one thing that really hit me like a realization. It was one of those things that are so obvious and logical but we don’t see it until someone tells us – that the secret to mind-body unity is LOVE! I always thought that mind and body unity is such a hard thing, and that you need to make so many conditions to achieve it. However, if you love, then you no longer need to force yourself to do it. That really resonated with me.” -Yann Taupier-Letage, France
In the afternoons, CARP America’s Student Coach, Justin Okamoto, facilitated sessions to help participants apply the morning content to transform their lives and everyday relationships. These sessions sometimes got very emotional as people opened up and took an honest look at the problems they were facing in their life.
“There was one lecture by Justin that particularly caught my attention. I understood that because life is a blank canvas, it is up to each individual, the painter, to add color, meaning, and complete the picture with anything. Although this may seem as such an obvious truth, I subconsciously lived forgetting this fact – the fact that I create life, and not the other way around. It reminded me and gave me confidence that I have the power as the creator to shape, rewrite, and complete my life the way I want.” – Yoo Jin Shin, USA
At the end of each session, participants were given small “action step assignments” to work on throughout the day. For example, participants were asked to share with 3 people about their reason for coming to the GTGY workshop. These action steps gave many a helpful push to meet new people and have meaningful conversations.
Leadership Development – Training Leaders Who Can Make a Positive Impact
During the third week, Naokimi led a public speaking session for the entire workshop (that’s 1,200 students!). There was translation offered in 6 different languages! It was challenging to engage participants from all 63 nations but their desire and eagerness to learn brought everyone together. The session started with a thought-provoking question:
“Why is public speaking important?”
One participant replied, “Rev. Sun Myung Moon said that to be a good leader, one must have influence.” Public speaking gives us the confidence and conviction to convey our personal stories and thoughts in a powerful and effective way.
Participants gathered in groups by language and took turns preparing and presenting small speeches on the topic “Things I learned in the GTGY workshop.” Participants reflected upon their time in the workshop so far and tried to convey their main realizations to their group. It was incredible to hear the same topic being shared among 7 different languages with equal passion.
The session ended with each language group competing for the best speech. I hopped around from language to language and was amazed to see the different spirits from speakers of myriad nations. I thought, “We are all so different. Our way of thinking, talking and presenting is so diverse; and yet we are all gathered here at GTGY, trying to create unity and create something together.” The winners felt a sense of accomplishment as they received for their well-deserved prizes.
“I had never done public speaking training before, but I realized that it is very necessary. It was innovative and helpful.” -GTGY Participant, Japan
Our hope was that participants left with the confidence to present their thoughts and ideas in an effective way so they could make a greater impact in their communities.
Networking – Moving Forward, Together. Different Goals, Same Vision
On the 21st day of the workshop, college-aged participants gathered for a strategic session to concretely make plans of how to apply their experiences to support their communities back home. They gathered by regions and subdivided by country to discuss CARP’s role in developing a student movement of principled student leaders. Because of this workshop, the participants felt there was something that each person could do to contribute to making this world a better place, no matter what the limitations or setbacks.
There were many determined and inspired CARP chapters. CARP Ivory Coast, for instance, wants to organize a university sports competition and establish one more CARP chapter by the end of 2016.
As the “elder son nation,” CARP America sees these international gatherings as a chance to develop international connections. We were also grateful for the chance to express our desire to support developing chapters and nations. We gave a short presentation on one of CARP America’s projects (Unification Principle Points) aimed at creating unity among the diverse chapters in America (and possibly the world!):
“In the past, I was envious of America for having so many resources at hand. Through this session, I was happy to see that they are reaching out to other countries and helping create global networks across countries.” – Arnold, Albania
One comforting realization for many people was that, “I am not alone.” Back home, they may have faced many lonely days, waking up with little energy and feeling disconnected from the rest of the world. But at GTGY, they found others who had the same vision and heart towards True Parents. Many realized that they were not alone in their desires to create a better world. We all have a unique contribution in creating the ideal world that God envisioned for us.
We created many real connections throughout this workshop and it seems much less daunting to work together on a global scale. We are grateful to True Mother for inviting us to her homeland. We felt her tremendous love for young people through her words and generous gifts of ice cream, donuts, and books! We will take that love and spread it to the world.
We look forward to seeing everyone again soon as we work together as one global family. We will be following up with our global friends and will share our updates on www.carplife.org/international. Also feel free to sign up for our monthly eNewsletter and email me with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you and God bless!