By Carly Guise
I’ve been attempting to write this since the beginning of July, trying to encapsulate the exact way in which I wish to describe what happened. I’m on what is at least my fourth venture, and the words have yet to come tumbling through my fingers to this keyboard.
Back in June, which seems like decades ago, I went to what I can call at the very least a summer camp. I never went to summer camps as a kid, so that probably isn’t right, but until I figure out how to introduce its real name and purpose - it was a summer camp.
But it was so much better than any summer camp I’ve ever heard of or seen in movies.
See, back in June, I was a student delegate at the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment and it kind of changed my life.
Before the summit, I’d never been exposed to any mass amounts of environmental concern. People around here aren’t overly worried about climate change, and you might as well forget about it if you want to talk about endangered animals or the amount of plastic in the ocean.
I also had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (I did actually know - playing with dolphins and sea turtles all day - but that’s not a “real job”). All I really knew was that I wanted it to be something that I truly loved and was excited to do every single day.
So I went to the summit. I went in not knowing what to expect and left at the end of the week in disbelief that it was already over.
I learned a lot of things at the summit. There were countless speakers, presentations, and activities - it was practically impossible to have not learned anything.
The most important thing that I learned at the summit is not something that can be taught.
What I learned was passion and what it looks like. Passion for politics and policy, for sharks and reptiles, for equality and fundamental rights. Passion to help all people, especially the sick or the young. Passion for conservation and preservation. Even passion for K-Pop. Passion in everything, everyday, for all that life has to offer.
These people are the ones who are so enthusiastic about everything they do, and it’s refreshing. They will talk to you about their favorite things in life until your ears fall off, but they make it so enticing that you want to know more and more.
I have never seen such fire and drive for something in my entire life. And I saw this not necessarily in just the adults around me, but also my fellow students who are all my age or younger. And it completely blew me away.
I came home a different person. There is no just coming home and going back to everyday life. My fellow delegates are making such amazing contributions to society already, and it is inspiring. They are saving the world.
And here’s the thing: if we all work together, we can save not only the physical world, but the people of the world as well. The whole world.
It doesn’t matter that you love one thing and your best friend loves another. We need people who are different in their passions, because that is what they will feed most of their energy into, and that is where the biggest difference will be made.
In this world, we need environmentalists, but we also need politicians. We need teachers and we need doctors. We need bus drivers and janitors, and their jobs are no less important than a lawyer or a pilot.
In this world, we need are people who are excited to go to work every day and are ready to make a difference, regardless of their position or salary.
My fellow delegates are these people already, and I am ready to be one too.
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