USA: I Am Essential,’ Camp KOGAPE Connects

Prepared by FFWPU USA

From July 27 to 31, 88 youth and staff from around the United States, Canada, and even India gathered online to join Camp KOGAPE, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Midwest Region’s annual summer youth camp. Within the theme of “I Am Essential,” the participants explored why they were important to their community and God, all while enjoying each other’s company. They met together via Zoom for a three-hour session in the morning and an optional evening session. Alongside guidance and discussions, the participants had a great time enacting skits with their teams, holding a fashion show, participating in a game night, and many more creative activities.

On the first day, the participants learned about their intrinsic value and how much Heavenly Parent loves them, laying a solid foundation for the following day. On the second day, they focused on the value of purity and overcoming personal shadows. That day Camp KOGAPE held a Brothers/Sisters night where camp participants were free to open up about their own personal shadows. Despite the challenges of the summer camp being online, the participants grew closer together through it. Helen Bond from California said, “Sisters night was eye-opening, heart breaking, and cleansing for everyone. I realized how important it is to offer daily activities constantly to an elder or to God.”

With each passing day of camp, the participants learned about their value in the wider realms of relationships, with the third day of camp focusing on the value of family. For the evening activity, the current political issues in the U.S. were addressed along with a Q&A panel. The fourth day focused on the value of a community, and the final day focused on impacting the world. Jack Sasaki, a middle school student from Ohio, said, “I learned the importance of family and how to appreciate my family more. I also learned that someone is always there to support me or is going through a similar issue.”

By the end of Camp KOGAPE, the participants left their computer screens with a stronger sense of their own value, a greater appreciation for family and community, a sense of direction for the world, and gained a community that isn’t restricted by geography. An anonymous participant submitted a reflection saying, “I learned that I have to realize my own value within myself! Purity is a lifelong thing that we should maintain, not an egg but a garden! Our parents have our best interest in mind and we should acknowledge that they are doing their best and trying to raise us up better than they had been. Change and peace starts with me, within myself!”

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