Boykins teen gets global perspective

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 3, 2007

BOYKINS—A local youth has gotten more than a lion’s share of experience this summer by interacting with other teenagers from all over the world.

Victoria Allen, 17, the daughter of Staci Musselman of Boykins, was selected to represent the USA during the Lions District 24-C International Youth Camp. Thirty teens from 17 different countries participated in the two-week camp to get to know each other and ultimately, set aside any bias. The camp is for 16 to 19 year olds.

&uot;The goal is to try to break down barriers,&uot; said Youth Camp State Coordinator Jeff Jacobs.

&uot;We try to get (the youth) to stop looking at each other as different and realize that although they are from different cultures, they are all just people.&uot;

Jacobs, who is also secretary of the Franklin Lions Club, said the camp has been held for 26 years. He has been involved with the event for seven.

For four days, members of the group stayed in rustic cabins outside of Washington, D.C.

&uot;It was a big, open room with bunks,&uot; said Allen. &uot;It was a mile to get to the bathroom. &uot;We pretty much had to be together and interact with each other.

She said, &uot;This (camp) really took me out of my comfort zone at first, because before, I didn’t like new things and changes.

&uot;But I started talking and opening up to everyone. I made some good friends who I still stay in contact with through email.&uot;

After the four days near D.C., the group moved to a base camp at Virginia Wesleyan in Norfolk.

According to Jacobs, the youths’ days are very structured. Among the activities are touring numerous historic sights, visiting some fun sights, participating in a ropes initiatives course that promotes teamwork and trust, and presenting a talent show.

&uot;Everyone also had time to share a little about their countries,&uot; said Allen. While she talked about the USA as well, she also discussed what it is like to live in her hometown of Boykins.

&uot;The main thing was even though we come from different lifestyles and cultures, we are all the same,&uot; she said.