Articles From the April 1994 Unification News
An Unforgettable Experience For Rys Participants In Atlanta, Georgia
by Scott Quinn
For once, this RYS project wasn't held in another country and didn't last for several weeks. This particular RYS seminar took place in Atlanta, Georgia and lasted for only four days.
The participants who took part in the seminar were from many different countries and represented different religious backgrounds and cultures. Most of us arrived there as strangers and after just four days departed as brothers and sisters. One might ask how it was possible in just four days to have such deep experiences that made people cry and say that the experiences during those few days could not be expressed in words. One participant said that those few days had been the most important days in her life.
About half of the time was spent together on different worksites and the other half was spent with lectures, group discussions, role plays and skits. The lecturers, a couple from Mississippi-Dr. Burr and his wife, Dr. Sherry Burr-provided us with many interesting and insightful lectures and challenged us to not only invest ourselves in the group activities but also come up with a vision for the community project which we were working in. If we want to save our families, communities and this nation and the whole world, then we need to have a vision first for ourselves and how we want to change the "world" around us in a positive way. Action not words are the key. As Rev. John Gehring, the director of the RYS in America, said:
"Now it's time to walk the talk. Politicians and talk show hosts just keep talking about the problems, but now it's time to act and help save the dying communities in the inner cities in America."
By working together, side by side, cleaning up the trash in the Summerhill community, breaking old concrete plates and helping in many different ways, we all developed quickly a deeper sense of camaraderie and interest in what was needed to change that particular area for the better.
This project was a pilot project and it had taken many months until it could finally take place. We all are deeply indebted for the generous financial and material contributions to people like Dr. Burton and his wife Mrs. Burton, who had been chosen "Mother of Georgia" by the state senate. They made this project possible thanks to their vision and contributions. There were so many others who were involved in the planning and preparations of this big undertaking and helped make this seminar so successful and the experiences so moving and powerful.
This experience gave us UTS seminarians a new understanding and hope for an undertaking which can change young people's lives. We learned that we can all create our own RYS projects in our hometowns or wherever we are, inspire countless others, let them take over and- eventually-these community projects can make the news on TV and give real new hope to this crime-plagued society.
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