Youth Program

Counselor Training 2017 / Participant

       Testimony of Jean Pierre Karam

    Counselor Training- FARES Camp

It's not quite easy being a 27-year-old and participating in a training camp concerning kids summer camps, especially if you already have a large experience in this field.

When I first took this decision to participate in this “training”, many discouraged me saying that it will include some basics and that I’ll feel uninterested and a bit older than the participants. Despite all that, I was determined to go and have such an experience. What I can say now is that       I had no regrets about it, however, I consider this camp as one of the most amazing and most important days that I have lived during my 27 years.

Indeed I was the eldest there, and 1 out of 5 guys between 67 girls. I was disappointed at first and many thoughts came to me:

First, I was afraid that the camp will be girl-oriented and turns into a fiasco.

Second, and what surprised me most, is the multiplicity of religions among the participants, namely veiled girls. This was the first time I got into such a situation.

Third, I’m a seminarian getting ready to be a priest and I’m here to strengthen my skills to prepare better camps later on, so in front of this fact, I was concerned about what kind of conversations will I have to engage in with the participants, and how should I act with veiled girls.



I faced many fears but I decided to get the most of each moment, live day by day, and grab the opportunity of such a gathering.

I don’t have the words to describe what a beautiful experience it was, and I have no doubts that it’s among the top experiences I had lived. Quickly and instead of creating spaces between me and the other participants, I found myself building a trust relationship that was growing day after day. In addition, there were always new and updated techniques despite my large knowledge in this field which made me feel always involved and interested, not a second bored. Felt like I’m taking my first training camp.

On the social relations level, I discovered the beauty of our regional and religious diversity. It is a treasure to our country. I also learned the importance of coexistence, how it is indispensable to listen and talk to others, not relying neither on the press nor the books to inform me concerning this issue because a shared experience is the most important thing you can think about if you wish to widen your thinking and acceptance of others.

It would be a loss if I didn’t tell you about the event that touched me the most which is the “prayer tent”.  It was open for all and even though the organizers of the camp didn’t have a religious objective, they build us what it was called the “prayer tent”. Therefore, as a seminarian, I had my time dedicated to prayer during the day that I shared with another seminarian, friend of mine. The beauty of it was seeing the participants from other religions curious to know how we prayed and asked if they could join. Day after day the group of prayer was increasing and we reached around 25 people gathering in this tent to pray together and to share our religious and spiritual experiences which I considered as a higher example of coexistence. At the end of this camp, I cannot but say that I made not just new friends, but a family from all over the geographic and ideological Lebanon.

To conclude, I believe that even the wisest mind has something yet to learn, no matter how old we get, and how large our experience gets. So we should grab each opportunity to develop our skills and gain new ones, and even meet new people from new cultures to live together this social experience and open up to them so we can receive and give experiences. I must also thank every trainer whom sacrificed his time and energy for the sake of the camp’s success, and for our benefit. Paolo Coelho once said: “Where your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” Can you imagine your heart being engraved in 71 other hearts and distributed over 10452km2? It means instead of one treasure, you have now multiplied it and distributed it around you in the ones you love.