By Hiba Ahmed
When I was asked to explain the highlights of my experience at camp in under three sentences, I knew that there was no way I could possibly capture the immense amount of joy and kinship that were vibrant throughout camp that briefly. But when thinking about what to focus on, the first thing that came to my mind was the people–the amiable, loving, warm-hearted people.
If I’m going to be honest, I was a bit uncomfortable when I first arrived, this being my first MYNA camp, but I tried to keep a smile on my face as I introduced myself to all the unfamiliar faces. I was immediately surprised at how quickly we bonded and by the end of the first day, it already felt like we had all known each other our whole lives. As the days passed we became increasingly closer, and the best part was that we bonded as we grew in our knowledge of our deen.
I think it’s super important to provide the youth with an opportunity to open up and discuss pressing issues in a supportive environment, and that’s exactly what MYNA did. The most beneficial part of camp was the open space where the campers led the discussion. From youth to youth, we discussed various difficult situations we had experienced, and it was relieving to hear that we all deal with similar issues as Muslim youth in America. Each time someone shared a personal story, it was as if a burden was being lifted off his/her shoulder. To see that we all came together to provide a solution specific to each situation was heartwarming.
Overall, my first MYNA camp this winter was really eye-opening and made me realize the importance of unity in our Ummah. It was amazing to see how we all went from strangers to family in such a short amount of time; there is nothing comparable to the friendships that you will leave camp with at the end of the week. Each person’s passion and dedication to our faith is so inspiring. Although the long days and sleepless nights took a while to get used to, I am so pleased to have spent it with some of the most inspirational people I have ever met.