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Compass Youth Camp

Tag: Compass Youth CampJuly 29, 2017

"I first went to my first Compass Youth Camp (CYC) camp during the summer of 2015 and if I had to summarise my experience from that one week into one word, it would be “motivation”. I believe my change as a more ambitious student began from this camp that I attended."

This powerful statement caught my attention. How could a youth camp have such a profound affect on a young person? I wanted to find out more. I tracked down the young man, Koh a student at Prem Tinsulanonda International School as he completed his third Compass Youth Camp this summer.

He explained, "I specifically gained motivation from 2 main reasons.

The first reason is the type of learning that I had the chance to receive. In school, the learning is writing based where we learn from doing this practically on paper. However, the camp exposed me to a more verbal and outdoor education that I have never experienced before. I was learning about sustainability, leadership, and the Compass tools by talking to my peers and by physically taking part in activities outside the school. Not only did this style of learning make the camp so enjoyable but also the content interesting.

The second and the most important reason that I gained motivation was because of my fellow participants. It was the first time when I studied with students from around Southeast Asia, who were more intelligent and motivated than I was, which is why spending a week with them sharing my ideas and their ideas with me, put in perspective of my ability as a capable student in the world. Getting to know them made me want to become a better student, it made me want to reach their level and beyond that.

These two key factors of the camp are what was at the core to not only aspire me but to make the camp a unique but enjoyable and educational experience."

I wanted to know more about the content of CYC.

The Sustainability tool kit, endorsed by CYC was created by Alan AtKisson and developed by Compass Education ( It  uses a number of tools to help people think critically about systems. One of the defining features of CYC is that the workshops are facilitated by young people themselves. These youth leaders have mastered the tools and develop leadership and further understanding by then teaching the tools to other young people. The camp is split between classroom sessions and using the tools practically in a rural village context. After spending time meeting village stake holders, CYC campers identified leverage points that could be the catalyst for creating change for greater sustainability in the community. The villagers were subsequently  invited to hear the ideas and to give feedback. This year, campers visited the Karen Village, Mae Ka Pieng in Chiang Mai. The suggestions included adopting and implementing the use of biochar in the village to reduce burning and to create a space for the exchange of new ideas and  the sharing of information. All of the ideas were well received by the villagers who could see how such implementation would have on-going possitive effects for the village, without being a huge drain on resources.

When I joined a workshop presentation I was impressed by the students' energy and the understandings that they demonstrated about systems thinking. These were engaged young people, excited at  being  equipped with life skills and curious about the world around them students who realised they were empowered to be change agents when they retuned to their homes and schools around SE Asia. It reminded me again of the power of young people, especially those equipped with tools to manage their ideas and supported by a network of like minded people, motivated make a difference.

For more information read the blog and watch the video